Louisville, CO, United States
Louisville, CO, United States

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A method, apparatus, and system for a solar-driven chemical plant are disclosed. Some embodiments may include a solar thermal receiver to absorb concentrated solar energy from an array of heliostats and a solar-driven chemical reactor. This chemical reactor may have multiple reactor tubes, in which particles of biomass may be gasified in the presence of a carrier gas in a gasification reaction to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide products. High heat transfer rates of the walls and tubes may allow the particles of biomass to achieve a high enough temperature necessary for substantial tar destruction and complete gasification of greater than 90 percent of the biomass particles into reaction products including hydrogen and carbon monoxide gas in a very short residence time between a range of 0.01 and 5 seconds.


An integrated plant that includes a steam explosion process unit and biomass gasifier to generate syngas from biomass is discussed. A steam explosion process unit applies a combination of heat, pressure, and moisture to the biomass to make the biomass into a moist fine particle form. The steam explosion process unit applies steam with a high pressure to heat and pressurize any gases and fluids present inside the biomass to internally blow apart the bulk structure of the biomass via a rapid depressurization of the biomass with the increased moisture content. Those produced moist fine particles of biomass are subsequently fed to a feed section of the biomass gasifier, which reacts the biomass particles in a rapid biomass gasification reaction to produce syngas components.


Patent
Sundrop Fuels | Date: 2014-05-15

A radiant heat-driven chemical reactor comprising a generally cylindrical pressure refractory lined vessel, a plurality of radiant heating tubes, and a metal tube sheet to form a seal for the pressure refractory lined vessel near a top end of the pressure refractory lined vessel. The metal tube sheet has a plurality of injection ports extending vertically through the metal tube sheet and into the refractory lined vessel such that biomass is injected at an upper end of the vessel between the radiant heating tubes, and the radiant heat is supplied to an interior of the plurality of radiant heating tubes. The radiant heat-driven chemical reactor is configured to 1) gasify particles of biomass in a presence of steam (H2O) to produce a low CO2 synthesis gas that includes hydrogen and carbon monoxide gas, or 2) reform natural gas in a non-catalytic reformation reaction, using thermal energy from the radiant heat.


Generation of a liquid fuel product in an integrated multiple zone plant is discussed. Syngas components are supplied to a methanol (CH3OH) synthesis reactor from outputs of a first zone containing a torrefaction unit and a second zone containing a biomass gasifier that are combined in parallel and that thermally decompose biomass at different operating temperatures. Char particles of the biomass generated in the first zone are fed to the biomass gasifier in the second zone. Gasoline is produced via a methanol to gasoline process in a third zone, which receives its methanol derived from the syngas components fed to the methanol synthesis reactor. The gasoline derived from biomass is blended with condensable volatile materials including C5+ hydrocarbons collected during the pyrolyzation of the biomass in the torrefaction unit in the first zone in order to increase an octane rating of the blended gasoline.


A radiant heat chemical reactor is configured to generate chemical products including synthesis gas products. Two or more tubes in the radiant heat chemical reactor separate an exothermic heat source, such as flames and gas from a regenerative burner, from the endothermic reaction of the reactant gas occurring within the cavity of the refractory vessel. The exothermic heat source heats a space inside the tubes. One or more feed lines supply chemical reactants to the cavity area between an inner wall of the cavity of the refractory vessel of the chemical reactor and the two or more tubes that are internally heated located with the cavity.


A biomass composition of matter to be used in a torrefaction process or a biomass gasification reaction is described. The biomass in a particle form is created in a pretreatment step that occurs prior to the torrefaction process or the biomass gasification reaction. A bulk structure of the biomass is 1) stripped apart to at least partially separate an outer layer of lignin in the biomass from the cellulose fibers, 2) internally blown apart to create fragments of the fiber bundle, and 3) any combination of the two in the pretreatment step. The biomass in particle form has a length to thickness aspect ratio on average of less than 300 to 1, a thickness on average of less than 100 microns thick and a length on average of less than 3000 microns.


Patent
Sundrop Fuels | Date: 2014-05-15

A chemical plant includes a radiant heat-driven chemical reactor having generally concentric reactor tubes with an inner tube and an outer tube located inside a cavity of a thermal receiver. Particles of biomass, or natural gas, and an entrainment gas are fed into the inner tube near a bottom of the tube. The biomass and the entrainment gas flow upward through the inner tube into an upper plenum, and then flow downward through an annular space between the inner tube and the outer tube. The concentric reactor tubes and the thermal receiver are configured to cooperate such that heat is radiantly transferred by primarily absorption and re-radiation to drive the biomass gasification reaction or natural gas reformation reaction of reactants flowing through the reactor tubes in the vertical sections of the reactor, and turbulent flow and mixing of the reactants occurs in the upper plenum part of the reactor.


Patent
Sundrop Fuels | Date: 2015-09-11

A method, apparatus, and system for a solar-driven bio-refinery that may include a entrained-flow biomass feed system that is feedstock flexible via particle size control of the biomass. Some embodiments include a chemical reactor that receives concentrated solar thermal energy from an array of heliostats. The entrained-flow biomass feed system can use an entrainment carrier gas and supplies a variety of biomass sources fed as particles into the solar-driven chemical reactor. Biomass sources in a raw state or partially torrified state may be used, as long as parameters such as particle size of the biomass are controlled. Additionally, concentrated solar thermal energy can drive gasification of the particles. An on-site fuel synthesis reactor may receive the hydrogen and carbon monoxide products from the gasification reaction use the hydrogen and carbon monoxide products in a hydrocarbon fuel synthesis process to create a liquid hydrocarbon fuel.


An integrated plant is provided to improve carbon utilization of carbon molecules from gasified woody biomass to be converted into methanol. Detectors ensure a minimized sulfur content of less than 0.05% by dry weight of the woody biomass. A biomass gasifier reacts woody biomass in a rapid gasification reaction to produce a syngas composition having a ratio of hydrogen to carbon dioxide that is higher than needed for methanol synthesis. Parallel to the gasifier, a hydrocarbon reforming reactor provides a syngas composition having a ratio of hydrogen to carbon monoxide that is higher than needed for methanol synthesis. The combined syngas mixture from the biomass gasifier and the hydrocarbon reforming reactor comprises feed to a methanol synthesis plant, such that a majority of the carbon dioxide produced by the biomass gasification reaction and the hydrogen produced by the hydrocarbon reforming reactor are synthesized into methanol.


Patent
Sundrop Fuels | Date: 2012-06-22

An integrated plant that includes a steam explosion process unit and biomass gasifier to generate syngas from biomass. A steam explosion process unit applies a combination of heat, pressure, and moisture to the biomass to make the biomass into a moist fine particle form. The steam explosion process unit applies steam with a high pressure to heat and pressurize any gases and fluids present inside the biomass to internally blow apart the bulk structure of the biomass via a rapid depressurization of the biomass with the increased moisture content. Those produced moist fine particles of biomass are subsequently fed to a feed section of the biomass gasifier, which reacts the biomass particles in a rapid biomass gasification reaction to produce syngas components.

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