Louisiana Patent of the Month – May 2023

Gasification is a process that converts organic materials into CO, CO2 and hydrogen without combustion. The process typically uses high temperatures (>700°C) and a controlled amount of oxygen or steam. This process is known to release fewer greenhouse gases compared to incineration, providing a more eco-friendly disposal method.

Waste to Energy Systems, LLC has developed a solution that harnesses the power of gasification to produce energy. The system has been designed to handle difficult feedstock, such as sawdust and landfill designated waste using a downdraft gasification process. 

Waste to Energy Systems’ invention is designed with several features that make it highly efficient. The integrated fuel level sensor switch allows control of the amount of fuel delivered to the gasifier for efficient gas production. The linear design of the gasifier enables easier up-scaling purposes, and the air-tight system allows air into the system through air inlet nozzles. Additionally, the gasifier is insulated to reduce heat loss, which improves cracking and reduction conversions.

The refractory surfaces of the system are coated and exposed to high temperature with no exposed steel. The hearth box is first lined with ceramic, high temperature, high-density fiberboard, then a refractory composed of silica and alumina is precast. The refractory is coated with a phosphate-bonded alumina coating set through baking, providing high abrasion and corrosive resistance and anti-slagging characteristics. The architecture of the refractory prevents bridging and allows smooth flow of fuel to the combustion zone.

The ash module consists of multiple parts including; a grate, a gas collection system, an ash collection system, and a mechanism to level the bed to prevent bridging. Gas collection occurs via a pipe with an opening on the top covered by a metal stainless steel shield, allowing ash to efficiently fall to the ash removal collection point. The ash collection portion of the ash module is of a “V” shape design to reduce any entrapment of particulates.

The cooler allows the gases to be cooled through conduction and convection and further allows particles to drop out of the gas because of the unique architecture of baffles. Within the packed bed filter, the gas feeds through the bottom of the filter and then through a shakable grate with a wood chip medium. The chiller system drops gas temperature to below dew point to ensure maximum moisture is removed from the gas and creates putatively ideal engine temperatures. 

Waste to Energy Systems’ innovative technology has the potential to change the way we produce eco-friendly energy. By leveraging a downdraft gasification process, the produced energy is cleaner and capable of powering internal combustion engines to create electricity. Their design passes feedstock through four core “zones” as it breaks down into a gaseous form. These zones include drying, pyrolysis, combustion, and reduction. This process offers a solution to renewable energy from biomass, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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