Development of a pilot scale black liquor gasifier.
Avidi, Vernon Alastair.
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The use of black liquor gasification as an alternative to conventional chemical and energy recovery systems for spent liquors is an area of particular interest to the pulp and paper industry. The motivation to explore this technology is to improve the thermal efficiency of the recovery process by utilizing the energy content of the spent black liquor more effectively and provide chemical recovery for sodium and sulphur containing liquors for a local pulp and paper mill. A study of the available gasification technologies showed that the steam reforming process marketed by ThermoChem Recovery International is particularly suited to the mill in that it can handle a change to a sulphite pulping chemistry and also handle silica removal which is an inherent problem with the bagasse raw material that the mill uses. However the technology required further development and confirmation of process suitability before implementation at the mill. This aim of this project was to build and operate a gasifier based on the TRI concept to determine if this process is suitable for recovery of SASAQ black liquor from bagasse pulping. This included gaining an understanding of the process variables like the black liquor solids composition and the non-process element levels and required carrying out a mass balance on inorganic components across the reactor as well. The focus of this investigation was primarily on the front end of the project and entailed basic and detailed design of a pilot gasification unit. The pilot unit was subsequently constructed, commissioned and operated to prove the unit met the design intent. Preliminary results showing the conceptual proof of the technology are presented as well as performance tests showing the unit capability of gasifying a 3.1 1Ihr 60% solid content black liquor feed. Problematic areas that could influence the design of a scale-up unit were identified and highlighted for further development, with proposed solutions.