Bench-scale reactor tests are under way at Pacific Northwest Laboratory to develop a low temperature, catalytic gasification system. The system, licensed under the trade name Thermochemical Environmental Energy System (TEES®), is designed for to a wide variety of feedstocks ranging from dilute organics in water to waste sludges from food processing. The current research program is focused on the use of a continuous feed, tubular reactor. The catalyst is nickel metal on an inert support. Typical results show that feedstocks such as solutions of 2 percent para-cresol or 5 percent and 10 percent lactose in water or cheese whey can be processed to >99 percent reduction of chemical oxygen demand (COD) at a rate of up to 2 L/hr. The estimated residence time is less than 5 min at 360°C and 3000 psig, not including 1 to 2 min required in the preheating zone of the reactor. The liquid hourly space velocity has been varied from 1.8 to 2.9 L feedstock/L catalyst/hr depending on the feedstock. The product fuel gas contains 40 percent to 55 percent methane, 35 percent to 50 percent carbon dioxide, and 5 percent to 10 percent hydrogen with as much as 2 percent ethane, but less than 0.1 percent ethylene or carbon monoxide, and small amounts of higher hydrocarbons. The byproduct water stream carries residual organics amounting to less than 500 mg/L COD.

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