Posted by: etwombly on May 03, 2010
Tagged in: news
We delivered the plant to the PC Engineering shop the end of last week and we spent Friday afternoon and Saturday showing the team that will be making modifications the plant.
We met with 4 people on Friday and spent several hours discussing the general operation of the plant. These discussions included how this older ABRI plant compared to the new plant now running in Ottawa, Canada.
We discussed how this plant uses steel shot as a heat maintenance medium and how the newer plant uses ceramic shot for that purpose. In addition the way the char is separated from the shot in this plant is with a trammel screen which filters out the char and recirculates the shot. The new plant blows air across the shot blowing the char out of the shot. That this difference is not critical since both work. The reason the new method was put into place was that there were far fewer things to break so long term less maintenance would be required on the new type plants but the old method works fine for now. So we all feel there is no need to replace this to bring our plant up to good working order.
We then started into the discussion on the issues with the plant being primarily due to the fact that there is not good separation of the char from the gas or smoke produced during pyrolysis. That at least on the surface that is due to the possible inadequate installation of the cyclone inside the hotbox. As I discussed in an earlier post I think that an internal airlock or something like it could be installed in the bottom of the cyclone to make it work properly due to the fact that the fan draws gas from the bottom which it should not.
We also got a note from Peter Fransham of ABRI that he had discovered on his plant in Ottawa that if he could maintain a balanced pressure inside the plant with the same fan on it that we have that he could eliminate most of the char in the gas. So this bodes well for us being able to make some changes so we can make better oil and run the plant longer periods.
We then spent Saturday with a smaller group of people taking the relevant parts of the plant apart. We showed them how they worked and where the problems were occurring. We spent a lot of time working on how we would install some of the monitoring and control units that might be of use in the effort.
We discussed monitors and sensors that would give us feedback on internal pressure, particulate content, changes in gas content, and control units that would make changes in syngas flow etc to keep char and dryer temperatures more constant and take that requirement off the operator and automate it.
We are now in the process of deciding what we are going to do and how and when it will get done.