Allegro Biodiesel recently acquired a minority stake in Littleton, Colorado bioenergy company Community Power Corporation (CPC). Allegro is interested in CPC because of its technology for converting biomass to clean energy.
Gasification technology converts carbon-based biomass feedstocks, such as wood chips, to gas or other usable fuel, which can then be used to generate electricity. CPC has developed a gasification system that can produce heat and power from a wide variety of biomass feedstocks. CPC’s gasifier is called the BioMax Power System biomax.pdf, and the company has filed a patent application for the technology.
U.S. Application No. 2007/0006528 covers a modular, portable gasifier that provides better control and monitoring of operations, more effective gas cooling, and less pollution (typically tar) than prior gasifying techniques. The gasifier eliminates the tar from the raw material by pyrolysis (heating without oxygen or other reagents). According to CPC’s patent application, a significant innovation is the gasifier’s multi-layer air injection system, which senses temperature at each layer and adjusts the temperature accordingly at each layer to achieve consistently high gas quality and ultra-low tar levels. The system has multiple nozzles to inject oxidizing gas in the prescribed amounts at different locations to create optimal conditions. After the tar is released, the remaining carbonaceous material (called char) is ignited and thereby converted to a low tar fuel gas.