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How does a gasification wood boiler work?

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Quick Answer

A wood gasifier boiler creates syngas by “cooking” wood in a low-oxygen environment; the resulting fuel is transferred to the boiler, which provides heat by distributing the water throughout the home. Syngas from a wood gasification system can be used industrially to provide heat and power by fueling generators.

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Full Answer

The gasification process occurs when a foodstock is placed in the gasifier where it goes through a dehydration process. The dehydration process typically results in steam being mixed into the flow that may be used in subsequent reactions. The foodstock is heated up to 300 degrees Celsius then the process of pyrolysis occurs releasing volatiles and producing char. The pyrolysis reaction drives a second reaction that converts the char to hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The syngas created leaves the gasifier at a high temperature and is collected for energy consumption.

Wood gasification is also known as biomass gasification because the material used in the gasifier does not always have to be strictly wood. Some farmers grow crops specifically for gasification. The two most popular crops are a hybrid poplar and willow tree and a fast-growing prairie grass called switchgrass. Remnants from the agricultural farming of wheat, alfalfa and corn can be used in biomass gasification. Wood gasifiers reduce waste by utilizing construction waste and pallets, also known as urban wood waste, that otherwise end up in landfills.

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