An ETA Principal has participated as the Owner’s Engineer (OE) on behalf of TCG Global (TCG), a gasification technology provider, on the design and development of a patented solid fuel pyrolysis, gasification, and syngas clean-up process. This case study highlights some of the activities performed as the OE, and showcases ETA’s ability to assess and develop technologies, and to model and integrate different processes with the goal of converting low-cost feedstocks to high-value commodities that include hydrogen, ammonia, ammonia-derived fertilizers, liquid fuels mixed alcohols, and power.

Upon engagement, a process model was initially built of the TCG pyrolysis, gasification, and gas cleanup technology in order to confirm the design and operating assumptions, and to ultimately optimize the operating pressure, temperature and steam flow rates for the most efficient conversion of different feedstocks to various end products. In order to determine the scale of a commercial offering, preliminary sizing of the pyrolysis and gasification reactors was determined by taking into account materials of construction, heat transfer requirements, and the pickup, saltation and erosional velocities of pyrolysis gas and syngas. The ETA Principal aided TCG in the design of bench-scale laboratory testing of both the solid fuel conversion process and the syngas cleanup process, which included witnessing the testing, collecting and analyzing the data, and writing third-party reports on the results.

Once the feasibility of the technology was confirmed and initial sizing and optimization was performed, the ETA Principal continued to support TCG in the development of projects utilizing the technology. This work included continuing to refine the process models, and development of preliminary heat and material balances (H&MBs) and block flow diagrams (BFDs) for specific feedstocks to specific end products, which the project developers used in their preliminary economics. H&MBs and BFDs were created for a variety of feedstocks, including biomass, municipal solid waste, waste plastics, coal, used tires, sewer sludge, and others. A variety of end products were also modeled, including hydrogen, ammonia, power, liquid fuels, Fischer Tropsch waxes, alcohols, and others.

TCG was ultimately awarded notice to proceed for the pyrolysis, gasification, and gas cleanup portion of a woody biomass to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) project in the northeast United States. The ETA Principal aided TCG in the preliminary design for this project, including integration of TCG’s equipment with other technology providers, and preliminary estimates of emissions for air permitting, and provided technical input in the negotiation of license contract guarantees. When the project entered Front-End Engineering and Design, assistance was provided to guide the third-party engineering firm in the detailed design of the pyrolysis and gasification reactor, woody biomass feed, ash removal (lockhopper) and cooling, syngas cleanup, water treatment, balance of plant systems. The OE work performed by the ETA Principal also included the preparation of Process Control Narratives and Cause & Effect diagrams for all TCG provided systems.