Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

Search results for: Andris Jakovičs

5 Mathematical Modelling of Slag Formation in an Entrained-Flow Gasifier

Authors: Girts Zageris, Vadims Geza, Andris Jakovics


Gasification processes are of great interest due to their generation of renewable energy in the form of syngas from biodegradable waste. It is, therefore, important to study the factors that play a role in the efficiency of gasification and the longevity of the machines in which gasification takes place. This study focuses on the latter, aiming to optimize an entrained-flow gasifier by reducing slag formation on its walls to reduce maintenance costs. A CFD mathematical model for an entrained-flow gasifier is constructed – the model of an actual gasifier is rendered in 3D and appropriately meshed. Then, the turbulent gas flow in the gasifier is modeled with the realizable k-ε approach, taking devolatilization, combustion and coal gasification into account. Various such simulations are conducted, obtaining results for different air inlet positions and by tracking particles of varying sizes undergoing devolatilization and gasification. The model identifies potential problematic zones where most particles collide with the gasifier walls, indicating risk regions where ash deposits could most likely form. In conclusion, the effects on the formation of an ash layer of air inlet positioning and particle size allowed in the main gasifier tank are discussed, and possible solutions for decreasing a number of undesirable deposits are proposed. Additionally, an estimate of the impact of different factors such as temperature, gas properties and gas content, and different forces acting on the particles undergoing gasification is given.

Keywords: biomass particles, gasification, slag formation, turbulence k-ε modelling

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4 Mathematical Modelling of Biogas Dehumidification by Using of Counterflow Heat Exchanger

Authors: Staņislavs Gendelis, Andris Jakovičs, Jānis Ratnieks, Aigars Laizāns, Dāvids Vardanjans


Dehumidification of biogas at the biomass plants is very important to provide the energy efficient burning of biomethane at the outlet. A few methods are widely used to reduce the water content in biogas, e.g. chiller/heat exchanger based cooling, usage of different adsorbents like PSA, or the combination of such approaches. A quite different method of biogas dehumidification is offered and analyzed in this paper. The main idea is to direct the flow of biogas from the plant around it downwards; thus, creating additional insulation layer. As the temperature in gas shell layer around the plant will decrease from ~ 38°C to 20°C in the summer or even to 0°C in the winter, condensation of water vapor occurs. The water from the bottom of the gas shell can be collected and drain away. In addition, another upward shell layer is created after the condensate drainage place on the outer side to further reducing heat losses. Thus, counterflow biogas heat exchanger is created around the biogas plant. This research work deals with the numerical modelling of biogas flow, taking into account heat exchange and condensation on cold surfaces. Different kinds of boundary conditions (air and ground temperatures in summer/winter) and various physical properties of constructions (insulation between layers, wall thickness) are included in the model to make it more general and useful for different biogas flow conditions. The complexity of this problem is fact, that the temperatures in both channels are conjugated in case of low thermal resistance between layers. MATLAB programming language is used for multiphysical model development, numerical calculations and result visualization. Experimental installation of a biogas plant’s vertical wall with an additional 2 layers of polycarbonate sheets with the controlled gas flow was set up to verify the modelling results. Gas flow at inlet/outlet, temperatures between the layers and humidity were controlled and measured during a number of experiments. Good correlation with modelling results for vertical wall section allows using of developed numerical model for an estimation of parameters for the whole biogas dehumidification system. Numerical modelling of biogas counterflow heat exchanger system placed on the plant’s wall for various cases allows optimizing of thickness for gas layers and insulation layer to ensure necessary dehumidification of the gas under different climatic conditions. Modelling of system’s defined configuration with known conditions helps to predict the temperature and humidity content of the biogas at the outlet.

Keywords: biogas dehumidification, numerical modelling, condensation, biogas plant experimental model

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3 Thermal Properties and Water Vapor Permeability for Cellulose-Based Materials

Authors: Stanislavs Gendelis, Maris Sinka, Andris Jakovics


Insulation materials made from natural sources have become more popular for the ecologisation of buildings, meaning wide use of such renewable materials. Such natural materials replace synthetic products which consume a large quantity of energy. The most common and the cheapest natural materials in Latvia are cellulose-based (wood and agricultural plants). The ecological aspects of such materials are well known, but experimental data about physical properties remains lacking. In this study, six different samples of wood wool panels and a mixture of hemp shives and lime (hempcrete) are analysed. Thermal conductivity and heat capacity measurements were carried out for wood wool and cement panels using the calibrated hot plate device. Water vapor permeability was tested for hempcrete material by using the gravimetric dry cup method. Studied wood wool panels are eco-friendly and harmless material, which is widely used in the interior design of public and residential buildings, where noise absorption and sound insulation is of importance. They are also suitable for high humidity facilities (e.g., swimming pools). The difference in panels was the width of used wood wool, which is linked to their density. The results of measured thermal conductivity are in a wide range, showing the worsening of properties with the increasing of the wool width (for the least dense 0.066, for the densest 0.091 W/(m·K)). Comparison with mineral insulation materials shows that thermal conductivity for such materials are 2-3 times higher and are comparable to plywood and fibreboard. Measured heat capacity was in a narrower range; here, the dependence on the wool width was not so strong due to the fact that heat capacity value is related to mass, not volume. The resulting heat capacity is a combination of two main components. A comparison of results for different panels allows to select the most suitable sample for a specific application because the dependencies of the thermal insulation and heat capacity properties on the wool width are not the same. Hempcrete is a much denser material compared to conventional thermal insulating materials. Therefore, its use helps to reinforce the structural capacity of the constructional framework, at the same time, it is lightweight. By altering the proportions of the ingredients, hempcrete can be produced as a structural, thermal, or moisture absorbent component. The water absorption and water vapor permeability are the most important properties of these materials. Information about absorption can be found in the literature, but there are no data about water vapor transmission properties. Water vapor permeability was tested for a sample of locally made hempcrete using different air humidity values to evaluate the possible difference. The results show only the slight influence of the air humidity on the water vapor permeability value. The absolute ‘sd value’ measured is similar to mineral wool and wood fiberboard, meaning that due to very low resistance, water vapor passes easily through the material. At the same time, other properties – structural and thermal of the hempcrete is totally different. As a result, an experimentally-based knowledge of thermal and water vapor transmission properties for cellulose-based materials was significantly improved.

Keywords: heat capacity, hemp concrete, thermal conductivity, water vapor transmission, wood wool

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2 Blackcurrant-Associated Rhabdovirus: New Pathogen for Blackcurrants in the Baltic Sea Region

Authors: Ina Balke, Nikita Zrelovs, Gunta Resevica, Ieva Kalnciema, Helvijs Niedra, Gunārs Lācis, Inga Moročko-Bičevska, Andris Zeltins


Newly discovered viruses provide novel knowledge for basic phytovirus research, serve as tools for biotechnology, and can be helpful in the identification of epidemic outbreaks. Blackcurrant-associated rhabdovirus (BCaRV) have been discovered in USA germplasm collection samples from Russia and France. As it was reported in one accession originating from France, it is unclear whether the material was already infected when it entered the USA, or it became infected while in collection in the USA. Due to that, BCaRV was definite as non-EU viruses. According to ICTV classification, BCaRV is representative of blackcurrant betanucleorhabdovirus species in the genus Betanucleorhabdovirus (family Rhabdoviridae). Nevertheless, BCaRV's impact on the host, transmission mechanisms, and vectors are still unknown. In the RNA-seq data pool from Ribes plants resistance gene study by high throughput sequencing (HTS), we observed differences between sample group gene transcript heat maps. Additional analysis of the whole data pool (total 393660492 of 150 bp long read pairs) by rnaSPAdes v 3.13.1 resulted in 14424 bases long contig with an average coverage of 684x with shared 99.5% identity to the previously reported first complete genome of BCaRV (MF543022.1) using EMBOSS needle. This finding proved BCaRV's presence in the EU and indicated that it might be a relevant pathogen. In this study, leaf tissue from twelve asymptomatic blackcurrant cv. Mara Eglite plants (negatively tested for blackcurrant reversion virus (BRV)) from Dobele, Latvia (56°36'31.9"N, 23°18'13.6"E) was collected and used for total RNA isolation with RNeasy Plant Mini Kit with minor modifications, followed by plant rRNA removal by a RiboMinus Plant Kit for RNA-Seq. HTS libraries were prepared using MGI Easy RNA Directional Library Prep Set for 16 reactions to obtain 150 bp pair-end reads. Libraries were pooled, circularized, and cleaned, and sequenced on DNBSEQ-G400 using PE150 flow cell. Additionally, all samples were tested by RT-PCR, and amplicons were directly sequenced by the Sanger-based method. The contig representing the genome of BCaRV isolate Mara Eglite was deposited at the European Nucleotide Archive under accession number OU015520. Those findings indicate second evidence on the presence of this particular virus in the EU, and further research on BCaRV prevalence in Ribes from other geographical areas should be performed. As there is no information on BCaRV impact on the host, this should be investigated regarding the fact that mixed infections with BRV and nucleorhabdoviruses are reported.

Keywords: BCaRV, Betanucleorhabdovirus, Ribes, RNA-seq

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1 CO2 Utilization by Reverse Water-Shift and Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis for Production of Heavier Fraction Hydrocarbons in a Container-Sized Mobile Unit

Authors: Francisco Vidal Vázquez, Pekka Simell, Christian Frilund, Matti Reinikainen, Ilkka Hiltunen, Tim Böltken, Benjamin Andris, Paolo Piermartini


Carbon capture and utilization (CCU) are one of the key topics in mitigation of CO2 emissions. There are many different technologies that are applied for the production of diverse chemicals from CO2 such as synthetic natural gas, Fischer-Tropsch products, methanol and polymers. Power-to-Gas and Power-to-Liquids concepts arise as a synergetic solution for storing energy and producing value added products from the intermittent renewable energy sources and CCU. VTT is a research and technology development company having energy in transition as one of the key focus areas. VTT has extensive experience in piloting and upscaling of new energy and chemical processes. Recently, VTT has developed and commissioned a Mobile Synthesis Unit (MOBSU) in close collaboration with INERATEC, a spin-off company of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, Germany). The MOBSU is a multipurpose synthesis unit for CO2 upgrading to energy carriers and chemicals, which can be transported on-site where CO2 emission and renewable energy are available. The MOBSU is initially used for production of fuel compounds and chemical intermediates by combination of two consecutive processes: reverse Water-Gas Shift (rWGS) and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FT). First, CO2 is converted to CO by high-pressure rWGS and then, the CO and H2 rich effluent is used as feed for FT using an intensified reactor technology developed and designed by INERATEC. Chemical equilibrium of rWGS reaction is not affected by pressure. Nevertheless, compression would be required in between rWGS and FT in the case when rWGS is operated at atmospheric pressure. This would also require cooling of rWGS effluent, water removal and reheating. For that reason, rWGS is operated using precious metal catalyst in the MOBSU at similar pressure as FT to simplify the process. However, operating rWGS at high pressures has also some disadvantages such as methane and carbon formation, and more demanding specifications for materials. The main parts of FT module are an intensified reactor, a hot trap to condense the FT wax products, and a cold trap to condense the FT liquid products. The FT synthesis is performed using cobalt catalyst in a novel compact reactor technology with integrated highly-efficient water evaporation cooling cycle. The MOBSU started operation in November 2016. First, the FT module is tested using as feedstock H2 and CO. Subsequently, rWGS and FT modules are operated together using CO2 and H2 as feedstock of ca. 5 Nm3/hr total flowrate. On spring 2017, The MOBSU unit will be integrated together with a direct air capture (DAC) of CO2 unit, and a PEM electrolyser unit at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) premises for demonstration of the SoletAir concept. This would be the first time when synthetic fuels are produced by combination of DAC unit and electrolyser unit which uses solar power for H2 production.

Keywords: CO2 utilization, demonstration, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, intensified reactors, reverse water-gas shift

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