West Biofuels is proud of it’s cutting-edge technology. We think it exceeds anything available to support the balancing act of fostering responsible urban living, stewarding the land, and maintaining a healthy economy. West Biofuels uses a proprietary thermal reforming process which breaks down biomass into its molecular components through a chemical reaction brought on by high heat, oxygen and steam under low pressure. This system is much more cost-effective than other reforming technologies because it does not require high pressures or a separation plant to remove nitrogen from the air. Additionally, we use less steam in the reformer thereby increasing our efficiencies significantly over existing technologies. Our innovative process produces a clean synthesis gas or syngas ready to be used to generate power or further processed into biofuels.
How it Works
The process starts with a biomass feedstock that is properly sized with a moisture content of 30% or less. This material is slowly fed into the reformer reactor in a dual-fluidized bed system. In temperatures of 750 c to 850 c, the feedstock is vaporized resulting in a product gas composed mainly of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane and carbon dioxide. This gas is sent through series of filters to clean and separate the usable fuel gases. A carbon char that is formed in the reformer is then sent with the bed material to the regenerator side of the reactor. The char is then oxidized to heat the bed material that returns to the reformer reactor. An ash byproduct is recovered while the exhaust gases are filtered through a proprietary biofilter system.
Conversion to Electricity
TThe synthesis gas produced in our reforming process with its high BTU content is now suitable to fuel a number of different engine generator (genset) combinations readily available from multiple manufacturers. Coupled with a West Biofuels proprietary emissions control system, we believe this method of combining fuel production and electric generation is the most economical and environmentally friendly solution for a 3MW to 50MW power plant.
Conversion to Heat
TThe synthesis gas can be converted to heat and steam using a gas boiler system but significant amounts of heat are also co-generated from the power production process. This heat can be re-used to get "wet" biomass feedstocks to the right moisture content and/or used by the enterprise for production heat. This heat can also be used to make steam, refrigeration, hot water or used in a district heating application. Placing a biomass to energy power plant close to industries that can use this heat by-product can be very advantageous.
Conversion to Liquid Fuels
The high quality syngas produced can also be converted into a number of different liquids fuels from biodiesel to ethanol by passing the syngas through a catalyst. West Biofuels is continuing its research and development of this process and plans to offer this additional energy option soon.