1 Comment

Summary:

At 1,500-1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, wood chips don’t stand a chance, but under the right conditions, those chips can be efficiently turned into clean, energy-rich syngas. That’s what Vancouver, B.C.-based Nexterra Energy does with its gasification technology, for which it just raised C$3.8 million ($3.6 million) in […]

At 1,500-1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, wood chips don’t stand a chance, but under the right conditions, those chips can be efficiently turned into clean, energy-rich syngas. That’s what Vancouver, B.C.-based Nexterra Energy does with its gasification technology, for which it just raised C$3.8 million ($3.6 million) in a fourth round funding, the startup said yesterday. The round was led by return investor ARC Financial Corp., which has invested C$20 million in gasification venture to date.

Nexterra’s technology uses wood chips or other solid fuels to create relatively clean syngas, which can then be burned in a traditional gas power generation system. The feedstock is put through a tightly controlled series of steps including drying, pyrolysis, gasification and reduction, and in the end, the incombustible and dirty ash is removed and the hydrocarbon-rich syngas is piped away. The company is targeting plant-scale operations in the forest products, institutional, power generation and pulp and paper manufacturing sectors.

Gasification technology is key to the hopes of so-called “clean coal” advocates. Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants turn coal into syngas, removing some of the polluting impurities before combustion. The technology needs more commercial-scale testing to prove its economic and environmental feasibility. There are only two IGCC plants in operation in the U.S., and financiers and regulators are hesitant to green-light new coal-fired power plants.

Other startups are trying to apply gasification technology to their clean energy endeavors. Plasco Energy, a fellow Canadian cleantech company, uses “plasmagasification,” where a gasified garbage stream is exposed to an electrical arc — the so-called “plasma torch.” Gasification is also the key to GM-backed Coskata’s ability to turn any carbon-based feedstock into syngas, which its proprietary microbes metabolize into ethanol.

Graphics courtesy of Nexterra.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

By Craig Rubens

You're subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Al Fin : Nexterra Energy & gasification « Libtech in LibrarianLand Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    [...] Nexterra’s technology uses wood chips or other solid fuels to create relatively clean syngas, which can then be burned in a traditional gas power generation system. The feedstock is put through a tightly controlled series of steps including drying, pyrolysis, gasification and reduction, and in the end, the incombustible and dirty ash is removed and the hydrocarbon-rich syngas is piped away. The company is targeting plant-scale operations in the forest products, institutional, power generation and pulp and paper manufacturing sectors. _Source [...]

Comments have been disabled for this post