2008 Volume 16 Issue 1 Pages 1-9
Wet biomass is hard to handle as a fuel for power plants because it contains high moisture and its drying process needs more energy input than it produces. Hydrothermal oxidation could be one of the promising technologies to overcome this problem because this process does not need drying process at all. We focus on recovery of thermal energy produced by hydrothermal oxidation of wet biomass. Two kinds of power plant are investigated, a direct type and an indirect type. In the direct type power plant, reactant is oxidized in a reactor and directly flowed into a turbine. In the indirect type power plant, reactant is oxidized in a reactor and the reaction heat is conveyed to the main water, which is flowed into a turbine. The amount of electric power and the energy conversion efficiency are calculated by using ethanol, glucose and peat solutions as reactants. In both type of power plant, one steam turbine is employed for generating electricity with the maximum turbine inlet temperature of 650 °C. As ethanol concentration increased, the amount of electric power and the energy conversion efficiency become higher. The maximum efficiency for the direct type power plant using ethanol solution is about 26.4 % for 17.6 wt% at the reactor pressure of 10 MPa. The efficiency of the indirect type power plant is much lower than that of the direct type, but by pressurizing main water up to 4 MPa, the efficiency becomes higher up to 20.9 %. For glucose solution, the maximum efficiency for the direct type is about 25.5 % for 34.5 wt% at the reactor pressure of 5 MPa. The maximum efficiency of the indirect type at the main water pressure of 4 MPa is about 21.1 % for 40.7 wt%. For peat solution, only the indirect type is investigated. The maximum efficiency at the main water pressure of 4 MPa is about 20.8 % for 36.8 wt%.