Tar yield and composition from poultry litter gasification in a fluidised bed reactor: Effects of equivalence ratio, temperature and limestone addition

Alen Horvat, Daya Shankar Pandey, Marzena Kwapinska, Barbara B. Mello, Alberto Gómez-Barea, Lydia E. Fryda, Luc P.L.M. Rabou, Witold Kwapinski, James J. Leahy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Air gasification of poultry litter was experimentally investigated in a laboratory scale bubbling fluidised bed gasifier. Gasification tests were conducted at atmospheric pressure using silica sand as the bed material. This paper examines the effect of the equivalence ratio (ER) in the range of 0.18-0.41, temperature between 700 and 800 °C, and the addition of limestone blended with the poultry litter on the yield and composition of tar. An off-line solid phase adsorption method was employed in order to quantify tar compounds heavier than styrene, whereas lighter species such as benzene and toluene were measured by means of on-line micro gas chromatography. Total tar yields were in the range from 15.7 to 30.7 gtotal tar kgpoultry litter (dry and ash free basis)-1. These values are considered low with respect to the feedstocks with a higher organic fraction. It also needs to be noted that the yields of benzene and toluene were measured by on-line micro gas chromatography, a technique which inherently delivers higher tar values compared to commonly employed off-line techniques. By varying the ER, poultry litter blended with limestone showed a reduction in total tar yield whereas poultry litter on its own showed an increasing tar yield over the ER range tested. In the presence of limestone, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heterocyclic compounds, toluene and benzene showed a tendency to reduce over the ER range tested. Since the ER also plays a crucial role in tar reduction, the reduction in tar cannot be unambiguously attributed to calcined limestone/lime (CaCO3/CaO). Increasing the temperature was shown to be effective for reducing the total tar yield but the amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons increased. However, no definitive correlation could be established between limestone/lime catalytic activity for tar reduction and elevated gasification temperature, because there was no possibility to study their effects separately. The chemical composition of the tar arising from poultry litter is distinctive compared with conventional lignocellulosic fuels linked to the fact that poultry litter has a higher nitrogen content (≈6.5% w/w (dry and ash free basis)). Nitrogen-containing hydrocarbons such as pyridine, 2-methylpyridine, 2-methyl-1H-pyrrole and benzonitrile were identified in significant amounts. This study has demonstrated that poultry litter gasified in a bubbling fluidised bed yielded a product gas with relatively low tar content while its composition reflects the chemical nature of the feedstock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13283-13296
Number of pages14
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number23
Early online date30 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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