Know your alternative gasses

01/28/2010


In my discussion of home producer gas appliances, Kevin Chisholm pointed out that I had misused some terminology in the interest of trying to add variety to my prose. (Such is a hazard in this business, and I have been called on it a few times before.) In the headline I used the term bio-gas to refer to the product from the wood gasification process. While this does describe what wood gas is since it comes from bio material, the term bio-gas (with or without the hyphen) is normally reserved for something more specific.

Bio-gas is better used to describe the product from digesters that is generated by sewage, rotting plant material, and cows. A more accurate description would be anaerobic digester gas (ADG) which is mostly methane. Sometimes the term bio-methane is also used.

The generators discussed in this case make wood gas, which is primarily a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. It also contains carbon dioxide, methane, various tars, nitrogen, and probably a few other trace substances. It’s basically the same thing you get taking a drag on a cigarette, which is why they’re so good for you.

Sometimes the term producer gas is used interchangeably with wood gas, although that may have a slightly more specific connotation. Coal gas, as the name suggests, uses a different feedstock and produces different proportions of components.

One term that has re-emerged in recent discussions is synthetic gas (syngas) which generally describes a purer mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide without the tars and other components. It is still usually produced by gasification of organic material but at a higher temperature and under more controlled conditions. This can be used as a feedstock for ethanol and synthetic gasoline processes.

The University of Arkansas agricultural folks have published an interesting discussion of gasification that goes into greater detail as to the processes involved. It has enough detail to get into issues like energy balance but without being too technical. For example, the wheat straw from one acre could replace 410 pounds of propane.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.