Institute of Chemical Engineering
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SCB 2 Gas: Gasification of Sugar Cane Bagasse to generate a Syntheses Gas for Fuel Production

Description of the Project:

The sugarcane value chain offers an unique and very favorable feedstock supply environment for the conversion of biomass residues into high value chemicals and biofuels.

The company FITROLEUM was founded aiming to investigate the technical and economic feasibility, as well as the main environmental impacts, of the production of second generation advanced biofuels from sugarcane bagasse through biomass gasification and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis at commercial scale: a large-scale Biomass to Liquids (BtL) facility concept.

The key premise of the approach pursued is the integrated operation of the BtL facility with a sugarcane processing unit. This integration concept considers two major aspects:


  • The totality of sugarcane residues available after sugarcane processing at the mill, especially bagasse and straw, represents the full feedstock base for the BtL facility operation. Further external feedstock supply is not necessary, which minimizes (or even eliminates) logistics costs related to biomass supply.


  • Enough electricity and process steam for both, BtL and milling facilities, are generated in order to allow an operation independent from further (external) energy supply. Facility configurations based on the polygeneration concept were investigated for that purpose, where heat recovery from excess heat flows and partial use of product gas are adopted for power generation and process steam production.    


The BtL facility concept is composed by following three core modules:


  • Biomass gasification
  • Product gas cleaning and conditioning section
  • Fischer-Tropsch synthesis module

and it is complemented by an “utilities and peripherals” section.  


Biomass gasification represents one of the core technical elements of this conversion route, and the novel developed DFBG G-volution design opens the perspective of directly converting biomass residues “in-natura” into high quality syngas.

A technology maturation program was set-up to support a low-risk transition through experimental validation and technology demonstration, i.e. from scientific R&D to scale-up, large-scale implementation and further deployment of the new design.

In the frame of this maturation program, a novel experimental facility was commissioned in summer 2015 in the Technikum at TU Wien, and several trials – with different types of feedstock and varying operational conditions – were conducted. The project SCB 2 Gas refers to the gasification trials with sugarcane bagasse.

The evaluation of the integrated concept shows clearly the positive technical, economic and environmental perspectives of the concept, confirming the major assumptions regarding its feasibility. Nevertheless, significant R&D effort is still needed to steer the involved technology elements through complementary experimental validation and technology demonstration. Funding and financing of the necessary R&D activities represents one of the major challenges in the context of the technology maturation plan mentioned herein. 



Fig.1: Sugar Cane Bagasse as Fuel for Dual Fluidized Bed Steam Gasification

Fig.2: Gasification of Sugar Cane Bagasse (SCB) with the 100 kW Pilot plant at TU Wien
Fig.3: Main product gas composition, gasification of SCB with olivine and with calium oxide as bed material (Source: Schmid et al. 2016 EUBCE 2016, Benedikt et al. Minisymp.VT 2017)
Fig.4: Tar content in dry product gas, gasification of SCB with olivine and with calium oxide as bed material (Source: Schmid et al. 2016 EUBCE 2016, Benedikt et al. Minisymp.VT 2017)

Project partner and financial support:

  • Fitroleum Biochemicals GmbH


Johannes Schmid

Project Team:

Cesar Aguiari

Ralf Lattouf

Stefan Müller

Josef Fuchs

Maximilian Kolbitsch

Hermann Hofbauer

Project Status: