Innovative Microscale Biomass Gasifier Combined Cooling, Heating, and Power System
April 09, 2021
Energy Research and Development (500)
Natural Gas Program
Jim Mason, Ariel Fisk-Vittori, Justin Knapp, Bear Kaufmann, Brendan Quinlan
Many light industrial and commercial markets considered as potential users for combined cooling, heating, and power (CCHP) are underserved and unserved because of its technological and economic challenges, and largely because of the existing natural gas infrastructure and current competitive advantages. The primary barrier to adopting micro-scale CCHP with adsorption chillers relate to limited effectiveness and high costs.
This project devised a novel solution for CCHP that has at least 80 percent total system efficiency, reduces natural gas consumption, provides thermal and electricity ratepayer benefits, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. The project team achieved these goals by developing a cost-effective, bankable, 20-kilowatt electric packaged CCHP system, powered by a biomass gasification waste-to-energy platform and demonstrated its use in a real-world situation.
The project team conducted pilot testing and demonstrations, with one facility located at a fire-risk community in southern California, used mainly woody biomass, and the second one at All Power Labs workshop in Berkeley, used woody biomass and walnut shells, to power the biomass gasifier CCHP units. The team tested and validated the CCHP systems, demonstrating a replicable, scalable model for use in the commercial and light industrial sectors.