Blog: Gasifiying sustainable biomass for high-value utilization

Hiilipaja, the Q Power R&D unit, is located in Parainen, Finland. Lately, a steady stream of white vapor has been rising from Hiilipaja during crisp winter days. This is due to the 250 kW oxygen gasifier, recently commissioned, completed in cooperation with XyloGas Oy.

Gasification refers to the thermal, low-oxygen processing of carbonous materials, such as biomass, into a gas mixture called synthesis gas, or syngas. While incineration turns most of the chemical energy of the fuel into heat, gasification transfers most of the energy into the chemical bonds of the syngas.

The gasifier in Qvidja is owned by Qvidja Kraft Ab, responsible for the energy economy of the Qvidja manor. Utilizing Q Power technology, syngas produced in Qvidja can be utilized not only in serving the energy system of the manor, but also in synthetic fuel production. While there are various gasification technologies on the market, thus far solutions for upgrading syngas into synthetic methane have been scarce.

In Qvidja, the gasifier is fueled with wood chips, sourced from the sustainably managed forest owned by the manor. The syngas is fed from the gasifier into a low-pressure gas storage, the 600 m3 capacity enabling storage of up to 2 MWh.

From the gas storage, the syngas is fed onwards to different end-use applications. In fact, the utilization of syngas is an example of the holistic integration of Q Power technologies and the Qvidja manor energy system.

Especially during cold winter temperatures, syngas is fed to the CHP plant of the manor, producing heat and power. The produced heat is stored in a 10 m3 water tank, from which it is transferred to building in the area via a heat exchanger. The Qvidja manor is self-sufficient in terms of net energy use. The sustainably managed forest provides the energy needed during winter time, and a solar power plant produces electrical power.

During periods of lower heat energy demand, syngas can also be transformed into biomethane using the unique Q Power technology. The method has been tested and validated with small gas volumes. During Spring 2021, we will start larger-volume syngas fermentation testing leveraging the Qvidja gasifier. Our goal is to bring to market a scalable and efficient solution for syngas valorization.

Gasification and syngas fermentation is a compelling option for utilizing various carbonous materials. We are happy to engage with customers and assess the suitability of our solutions for different use cases. If you’d like to learn more, don’t hesitate to be in touch!