Combining Solar Energy with Biomass Gasification

Combining Solar Energy with Biomass Gasification

These days, it seems like a lot of researchers are looking into how we can adapt the alternative fuels and technologies we already have. If you have been keeping up with us, a couple weeks ago, we covered “The Future of Solar Energy” when we learned about the technology being used to adapt perovskite crystals. Before that we talked about Solar and Wind Powered Streetlights, which looked into combining both solar and wind technology into a more efficient light source. This week we are on to yet another innovative way to used solar energy technology. However, for this technology, scientists are proposing the combination of solar thermal energy and biomass gasification to create an alternative fuel.

If you haven’t been following us, developing technologies is a subject that is near and dear to ATS considering that we test for and remove outdated storage tanks and even developed our own tank testing equipment. Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are constantly creating new technologies that make our daily lives easier, streamline difficult processes, improve the environment, and generally bring us closer as a global community. Every Thursday, ATS brings you a new “tech” that we think is worth learning about!

Biomass gasification is the process and through which organic materials are converted into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This resulting gas is a product that is commonly known as syngas. Gasification is used industrially to create biofuels and ethanol. However, a popular theory has been that theoretically any organic waste material should provide a sustainable source of energy via gasification. However, in reality, the cost and energy required to heat the material to convert the material into gas has been a limiting factor.

Recently, a team at the University of Minnesota has compiled models to test the viability of using solar power as the energy source for biomass gasification. Based on their prototype, the researchers believe that solar energy can replace the power source for gas conversion. Initial findings suggest that the combination of these two technologies can increase the volume of bioenergy produced and decrease the costs.

Typically today, neither syngas nor solar powered technology is being used as a large scale energy replacement. Perhaps this new technology that focuses on combining them will one day be out of research facilities and available as an alternative energy source.