A Review of the Various Catalysts Used for Biomass Gasification in Industry and a Proposed Alternative Solution


Biomass gasification technology is becoming increasingly important as petroleum resources become further depleted. The increased use of biomass gasification to produce fuel would decrease the world's dependence on petroleum, and would also be a form of energy generation that would not contribute to the net gain of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, the process to transform biomass into synthesis gas (syngas) that can be used as a building block to make other types of fuels is not currently economically feasible when compared to petroleum based processes to make the same fuels. This is because the technology for biomass gasification is not yet developed well enough to be a major source or precursor of the world's fuel. One problem inherent in the current processing technology is the catalyst. Problems with catalyst activity, fouling, and poisoning are a source of much research in industry and academia. This review begins with a general overview of the biomass gasification process and current industrial technologies. It goes on to discuss recent developments in biomass gasification catalysis, as well as some developments in the overall process. Finally, it will present the applicability of new research to current industrial methods. Some of the catalysts examined include those common to industry, including dolomite and nickel-based catalysts, as well as some recently researched catalysts, including rhodium and iron-based catalysts. The effects of these catalysts will be described in the presentation. Various promoters are also examined in conjunction with some of the catalysts, and the effects of these are described as well. Catalyst supports are also examined in this review, some of which include silica and alumina.

Meeting Name

2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Meeting (2012: Oct. 28-Nov. 2, Pittsburgh, PA)


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

02 Nov 2011

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