Day 1 :
University of Genoa, & president, Tecnoforest Ltd. Italy
Time : 10-10:30
Ferruccio Pittaluga, recently retired, has been full professor of Thermal Machines at the University of Genoa. Now continues his teaching activity as contract professor. His fields of interests have been Thermo-Fluid Dynamics, Combustion & Gasification, Atmospheric Emissions. In 1998 he established DIME/SCL, the Combustion Laboratory of the University of Genoa, of which has been in charge up to his retirement in 2015. The participation to numerous National and EC-funded R&D programmes, mostly dealing with environmental sustainability of combustion processes, has granted, in the years, rich support for research activities and technological developments. In 2011, with a few of his former doctoral students, he was co-founder (and since then, president) of Tecnoforest, an academic spin-off (now an innovative SME) addressed at rapid growth forestation, wood gasification and biomass-based renewable energy cogeneration. Tecnoforest has been for some years Italian representative of APL gasifiers (USA).
Starting from 2011, the innovative SME Tecnoforest Ltd. (formerly an academic spin-off of the University of Genoa) has addressed its activity towards the testing of existing, and the development of new, small-scale woodchip gasification technologies aimed at assuring electric and thermal self sufficiency to rural enterprises of the forestry and farming sectors (www.tecnoforest.wordpress.com). On the other hand, the high pollutants content of their products (syngas and biochar), common to both downdraft and updraft gasifiers, has become apparent as the main obstacle preventing, in absence of hardly affordable abatement provisions, a widespread penetration in both the agricultural and renewable-energy sectors.
Thanks to the novel ‘batch’ gasification process recently developed at Tecnoforest Ltd., a tar-free syngas is released from gasifier’s top nozzle, whilst a solid residue made up of a highly clean biochar is produced at the bottom, at all suitable, as attested by official certification, for both agronomic and other, quite diversified, applications. The said process takes place, in batch modality, within a reactor provided by tilting capability so to allow discharging the hot biochar at the end of the process, after which a new ‘gasification cycle’ can immediately re-start. Details are given in refs. [6,7]. The name of the biochar-producing gasifier is SynChar: it is available for online purchase at website .The same basic process, which in SynChar relies on natural convection, can be converted to forced-air continuous operation by providing the reactor with a bottom air-blower as well as a side-mounted woodchip feeder, i.e. a hopper-auger motorized unit. In this case, the tar-free syngas can be fed to a water-heater burner or conveyed to an air unit-heater. Most suited applications would be for greenhouse heating, maybe even with the distinct advantage of allowing to induce carbonic fertilization of the ambient-air, to be, of course, limited to sunshine hours. If the woodchips’ dimensions are kept in the range of 1 to 3 cm and their humidity content does not exceed 25%, the gasification process turns out quite efficient, as attested by a remarkably low solid residue, just made up of clean ash. The name of the syngas-generator for thermal applications is SynBurner: its main characteristics with detailed performance data are presented in refs. It too is available for online purchase at website.