Fuel Flexible Low Emissions Burner for Waste-to-Energy Systems

EPA Contract Number: EPD13031
Title: Fuel Flexible Low Emissions Burner for Waste-to-Energy Systems
Investigators: Alavandi, Sandeep
Small Business: Precision Combustion, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: May 15, 2013 through November 14, 2013
Project Amount: $79,895
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2013) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Sustainabile Utilization of Biomass


Waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies are being developed that combine waste management and energy generation. These wastes include a wide range of bio-based fuel stocks (biomass from wood and/or grasslands) or organic waste streams (manure and farm waste, municipal solid waste [MSW], sawdust). Much ingenuity is being directed to producing liquid fuels or useful solids, such as char, from biomass, but the net value-added of these processes is held back by the substantial portion of the biomass fuel content that ends up as byproduct biogas, producer gas or wood gas having variable moisture content, energy density and potential contaminants. Converting such biogas to energy for processing heating or for a boiler or an engine would substantially aid the economics of biomass conversion processes. However, many such gases have too low of a Btu content for stable combustion, requiring either substantial drying or sweeting with natural gas. Even for gases that have sufficient Btu content for stable combustion, it is challenging for burners to achieve low emissions especially in the presence of fluctuating Btu contents. It would be very helpful for biomass-to-energy process economics to be able to have a burner that could readily burn a wide range of byproduct gases, with Btu ranging from ultra-low to high, and that could handle high water content.
The Phase I effort will demonstrate the capabilities and benefits of the catalytic burner technology for biomass applications. The low emission, low pressure drop design will help to improve the plant efficiency, reduce GHG, and provide process heat of power. The Phase I work will also produce technical data supporting the economics of implementing the burner for biomass plants. Upon successful completion of the Phase I, the Phase II program will focus on integrating the burner to a biomass plant. This will demonstrate the applicability of the full-scale burner for performance, stability, and durability and address field issues, and will provide a catalytic burner that can be commercialized for multiple biomass plants.
The potential application is for most biomass-to-energy processes, all of which deal with the challenge of varying Btu byproduct gas. In improving the economics of such processes, our innovation will support overall biomass-to-energy process economics and adoption. Biomass-to-energy processes help overall air quality by displacing fossil fuel energy sources with renewable ones.

Supplemental Keywords:

waste-to-energy, biomass, biogas

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report