The following are the broad areas of research in the field of Bio-energy that are currently going at the Laboratory

1. Torrefaction of Bamboo                               

A project to enhance the storability and the revenue of bamboo there-of has been sanctioned by NMBA, DST, Govt of India. Torrefaction is mild pre-treatment of bamboo (or any biomass) at a temperature between 200 and 250° C. The product could be termed as "White Charcoal" and is different from the "Black Charcoal" that is conventionally available in the market. During torrefaction the properties of bamboo undergo changes, wherein the end product has much better fuel quality compared to biomass for combustion applications. The decomposition reactions during this process results in bamboo becoming completely dry and loose its tenacious structure, also the hygroscopic nature of the biomass is changed to hydrophobic material. Besides this, the process increases the calorific value of the end product.

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2. Precipitated Silica from Rice Husk Ash - IPSIT Process

The silica precipitation technology developed at this laboratory is a novel method for silica precipitation where the chemicals used are regenerated making it a closed loop operation. Successful studies for extraction of silica on laboratory scale which meet the industrial requirements have been carried out. Also studies are being carried out for suitable application of the undigested ash obtained after extraction, in water treatment plants with or without further improving the activated carbon content of the ash. 70 % conversion is achieved on ash basis and around 90 – 95 % on silica in ash basis. A pilot test plant of 150 kg/hr has been setup in the laboratory.

3. Optimization Studies of Turbocharger for Producer Gas Engines

Studies are on going on a turbocharger test bench facility, which has the capability of generating the compressor and turbine characteristics. This is required because the characteristics of the commercially available turbochargers are in general unavailable and hence they have to be generated by conducting tests on them. These studies would ultimately help in proper of matching of the turbocharger with the producer gas engine for optimum performance.

4. Adaptation & Testing of Various Models and Make of Gas Engines

GVarious models of gas engines of Cummins and Kirloskar has been adapted for producer gas fuel and optimized in terms of performance. The 25 kWe Cummins gas engine meant for village electrification programme has completed 500 hours of reliability tests successfully.

5. Oxygen Gasification

Syngas has certain niche areas of application where in high flame temperature is required. This could also be one of the fuel source ~ Hydrogen for fuel cell application. The work that is being envisaged is fundamental in nature and involves systematic experiments using oxygen, steam or a mix with ambient air. This research is intended to be conducted on a small sized gasifier reactor with suitable modifications for introducing oxygen/steam. Steam is intended to be generated using waste heat (supplemented by syngas) from the same system, however, for oxygen bottled gas shall be used.

6. Improved Biomass Stoves:

There has been continuous effort all along in developing of fuel efficient biomass cook stoves at CGPL. One such innovation earlier from this laboratory was the SWOSTEE stove meant for waste wood pieces, twigs etc. In the last two years there has evolved an improved version of biomass stoves and a large number of prototypes has been built and tested prior to freezing the final design. The improved biomass stove works on the principle of gasification – it is reverse down draft gasifier that generates clean gas that could be combusted with least emissions.

Research is also on in areas such as enhancement of adsorptive properties of carbon extracted during gasification process, producer gas based industrial burners and driers for biomass.

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