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Proceedings of the Second International Energy 2030 Conference,
November 4-5, 2008, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Hydrogen Generation from Various Biomass Using Hydrothermal Gasification

Yasuyuki Ishida

Nagoya University, Japan

Tatsuya Hasegawa

Nagoya University, Japan

Kuniyuki Kitagawa

Nagoya University, Japan

Ashwani K. Gupta

University of Maryland, UAE

Abstract
In the fields of energy science, development of a highly effective process to generate hydrogen that can be used for clean power production, including hydrogen-based fuel cells has been an important issue. Biomass is now attracting a great deal of attention as a source of hydrogen. Among various conversion methods, a hydrothermal gasification, using super- or sub-critical water as a reaction medium, has become a promising technique to produce hydrogen from actual biomass with high efficiency. This process can be applied for the conversion of biomass samples with high moisture content without drying them. Furthermore, hydrogen can be obtained in a form of compressed gas with much higher reaction rate than those in the conventional fermentation processes.

There have been many reports on gasification and/or hydrogen generation from biomass through hydrothermal process. For example, Lin et al reported that hydrogen was produced effectively through the hydrothermal reaction of various organic wastes including wood, salad oil, plastics and sewage sludge [1,2]. They also enabled the selective hydrogen generation without emitting CO2 into a gas layer by adding CaO into a reactor as a CO2 absorbent. However, this process required significantly high temperatures over 650 C to convert biomass into hydrogen quantitatively. Other researchers have also attempted to generate hydrogen from model and actual biomass by hydrothermal process at relatively lower temperatures. Among them, Minowa et al revealed that cellulose can be gasified at low temperatures around 400 C [3-6]. Moreover, they investigated the effect of various additives, such as, a reduced nickel catalyst and inorganic alkalis on hydrothermal degradation of a cellulose sample in detail. So far, however, there has been no report to focus on a process to concurrently meet the following three conditions; (1) effective and (2) selective hydrogen generation at (3) relatively low temperature process of around 400 C.

In this work, the effect of additives, such as, different contents of an inorganic alkali (Na2CO3) and Ni catalyst on a hydrothermal process was examined in detail in order to generate hydrogen from cellulose. Thus cellulose was used as a model biomass sample with demonstrated high selectivity at 400 C. The hydrothermal process under the optimized conditions was applied for hydrogen generation from real biomass samples such as wood waste, organic fertilizer and food waste.




 

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