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Generating Hydrogen from Wet Biomass
The Institute for Technical Chemistry in the Division of Chemical-Physical Processing at Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe deals with the development of processes for the effective, substantial and efficient use of wet biomass by hydrothermal gasification.
The biomass used primarily consists of waste from the agricultural sector, e.g. grape residue, rests of plants or sewage sludge. Typical reaction conditions are temperatures of about 600 °C and a pressure of 30 MPa. Under these conditions water is in its supercritical state.
Based on the experimental results on a laboratory scale, the pilot plant VERENA (a German acronym for “experimental facility for the energetic exploitation of agricultural matter”), with a total throughput of 100 kg per hour (max. 20 % dry biomass) was constructed and is in its first test operation. The plant is designed for an operating pressure of up to 35 MPa and a maximum temperature of 700 °C. VERENA is the world’s first fully equipped facility of continuous operation for the gasification of biomass in supercritical water.
Dr. Nikolaos Boukis,
Institute for Technical Chemistry, Chemical-Physical Processes Division