Biomass Gasification for Power Generation: A Comparison with Steam Boilers in the Brazilian Scenario

João Miguel, Tiberio Filho, Ricardo Pereira, Aymer Maturana


This work compares biomass gasification and conventional direct combustion in steam boilers for producing power in the context of Brazilian sugar cane mills. The objective of this technical report is to show that gasification could be a more attractive way to convert biomass in energy, compared to using steam boilers, which in some cases can show a low efficiency.  The idea is to use the gasifiers in sugarcane mills that have low pressure boilers (21 to 42 kgf/cm2) that are currently dedicated only to generate steam or electrical power for the mill own energy consumption. The results shows that gasification could be a cost-effective alternative for power production in Brazilian sugar cane plants with some additional advantages like the bagasse usage between the season and off-season periods to maintain a constant power generation throughout the entire year, higher energy availability and efficiency. However, nowadays in Brazil the economic advantage of gasification depends highly on political support and reliable long-term stable political framework conditions with an enough timeframe for the development, construction and operation of biomass gasification plants.


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