Performance monitoring system for a biomass gasifier
Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Fort Hare Institute of Technology, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa
Purpose: The aim of this research is to build a low-cost gas and temperature profiling system for data acquisition at a biomass gasifier. Design/methodology/approach: A gas and temperature profiling system was developed from NDIR sensors, Pd/Ni sensor, a number of type K thermocouples and a data logger interfaced to a computer. Findings: The results obtained using the system were in agreement with the results obtained using a gas chromatograph for gasses. The temperature recorded during the testing also followed the expected temperature of the gasifier used. Research limitations/implications: The lifetime of the developed system depends on the lifetime of the sensors used. NDIR sensors have a lifetime of three years working on a continuous basis and the Pd/Ni sensor has a lifetime of ten years. Replacement of the Pd/Ni sensor after ten years is not a problem as the payback period of biomass gasifier systems is around eight to ten years. Practical implications: The major implication for this research was that low-cost gas and temperature measuring systems could be developed. These could be useful particularly for PhD students and other researchers who need to get onsite data on gas and temperature profiles at a gasifier system for a period of three years. Social implications: Biomass gasifier technologies can be used to provide power in rural areas that are outside the national utility grid but endowed with biomass resources. The provision of electricity to these communities could solve social challenges such as exposure to smoke in open fire normally used by rural women for cooking. The developed data acquisition system is therefore necessary to conduct research on gasification. Originality/value: The findings of this paper are of importance to researchers who need online data but do not have funding to purchase bulky and expensive equipment's for gas analysis at biomass gasifier systems. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Data acquisition system; Design/methodology/approach; Expensive equipments; Performance monitoring systems; Renewable energies; Temperature measuring system; Temperature profiles; Temperature profiling; Data processing; Design; Investments; Power electronics; Process control; Product design; Research; Rural areas; Sensors; Systems analysis; Thermocouples; Biomass