The experience of Transnational Access with BRISK2 exceeded my initial expectations. The conditions at the Royal Institute of Technology (Rig Code – KTH3) and all the staff were exceptional, providing all the conditions for the development of research activities.
The purpose of my visit was to study the performance of iron-based catalysts under real conditions of biomass gasification. In order to understand the relevant mechanisms and the synergetic effects of bimetallic Ni-Fe on the catalyst, studies with synthetic gas mixtures containing water vapor and representative aromatics (toluene and naphthalene) were performed. By varying the reaction temperature and analysing composition of exhaust gases, preferential mechanisms (H2O reforming, cracking to lighter hydrocarbons or onset of carbon) were studied. Posteriorly, the performance of the catalyst was study using raw gas from a 5-kW fuel atmospheric bubbling fluidised bed gasifier to assess the impact on gas composition, tar removal and performance parameters (cold gas efficiency, carbon conversion efficiency, specific dry gas production and lower heating value). The experiments were conducted by feeding the raw gas to an electrically heated laboratory reactor with a fixed bed of catalyst particles. The gas composition (CO, CO2, CH4, C2H4, N2, H2) was determined before and after passing the catalytic reactor by infra-red chromatography. Tar sampling and analysis was carried out according to the Solid Phase Adsorption method (SPA). The obtained results indicate that the iron-based catalyst has a great potential for tar removal. The presence of nickel promoted both methane reforming and water-gas shift reactions, contributed to higher hydrogen concentration in the producer gas.
The opportunities provided by BRISK2 proved to be fundamental in the development of my PhD thesis, since the obtained results will be the basis for the publication of one scientific paper. In addition, the possibility to share knowledge with highly experienced researchers allowed me to acquire new work methodologies that will be essential throughout my professional career.