Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rocket developer, EERC begin testing solids pump for gasification

Biomass Power & Thermal
By Luke Geiver April 11, 2012

The University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc. (PWR), a global space propulsion systems developer, have officially begun the commissioning stage of a commercial-scale dry-solids prototype pump.

The pump is used to feed a novel gasification system designed to produce syngas from a range of feedstocks, including coal, petcoke and biomass. The system can feed roughly 400 tons per day of feedstock into the gasifier, helping to reduce capital costs of a commercial scale unit by 20 percent compared to conventional systems. The system also reduces carbon emissions by 10 percent, and the gasifier offers a 90 percent reduction in size compared to traditional systems. PWR credits that statistic to its ability to leverage decades of experience in rocket propulsion technology and its skill in controlling large amounts of energy in small spaces. “At this point, EERC is involved in rocket science,” said Gerald Groenewold, EERC director.

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