One of the big current and future problems is the instability and finite nature of fossil fuel supply. Beside the steadily rising crude oil and natural gas prices, in particular the finite nature makes a future use of alternative energy and heat supply inalienable.
Continuous energy supply from sustainable energy sources
By now in science and technique new processes for heat and power generation from sustainable energy where investigated with best effort. Photovoltaic and wind parks are state of the art and tidal power plants are well-engineered, but all of them are environment dependent and cannot deliver a continuous energy supply. To match the energy requirement profile “green energy networks” are needed. These networks can consist of some environment dependent energy sources, but they must have energy sources that are independent of outside influences. One of the most promising “green processes” for power (and combined heat) generation is the production of hydrogen and biogas by gasification of biomass or organic waste.
Here especially the “waste philosophy” is extremely interesting. Nowadays the planting of a large-scale amount of bio mass for fuel generation is more and more faced to be critically because of the competition to food agriculture and other environmental reasons. If the tremendous amount of existing organic waste, by the residual organics from food production or consumer goods, can be used for power and heat generation the situation becomes much friendlier and more economically reasonable for gasification processes.
Very important is here the special treatment which is needed for every kind of waste and synthesis. Therefore currently and in future many different gasification processes will be developed. Especially micro energy plants for local use in agricultural dominated areas all over the world are probably the most interesting and efficient application.
Analysing complete gasification processes
Up to now there is no analyser to investigate complete gasification processes in process near conditions. In laboratory scale no complete process analysis is available and in industrial scale neither a time dependent exchange rate nor a concentration analysis under process conditions is possible. Exchange rates are approximated over very long time intervals and concentration measurement is done by cooling down the synthesis gases to nearly ambient temperatures. This treatment causes several problems and may even not be possible in some cases.
All of these processes are performed under elevated or high temperatures and ambient or elevated pressures. The design and optimisation as well as the process control will constitute a rising demand for laboratory scale gasification process analyzers as well as in Situ high temperature concentration sensors for process application.
Developing these analyzers and sensors will not only end up in a high potential future market but also contribute to solve future energy problems!
This project is supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.