• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 3, No 1 (2012)

Experimental Study on Temperature Profile of Fixed-Bed Gasification of Oil-Palm Fronds

Shaharin A. Sulaiman, Samson M. Atnaw, M. Nazmi Z. Moni

Corresponding email: shaharin@petronas.com.my

Published at : 17 Jan 2014
Volume : IJtech Vol 3, No 1 (2012)
DOI : https://doi.org/10.14716/ijtech.v3i1.85

Cite this article as:
Sulaiman, S.A., Atnaw, S.M., Moni, M.N.Z., 2012. Experimental Study on Temperature Profile of Fixed-Bed Gasification of Oil-Palm Fronds. International Journal of Technology. Volume 3(1), pp. 35-44

Shaharin A. Sulaiman Mechanical Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Bandar Seri Iskandar, 31750 Tronoh, Perak, Malaysia
Samson M. Atnaw Mechanical Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Bandar Seri Iskandar, 31750 Tronoh, Perak, Malaysia
M. Nazmi Z. Moni Mechanical Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Bandar Seri Iskandar, 31750 Tronoh, Perak, Malaysia
Email to Corresponding Author


Currently the world’s second largest palm oil producer Malaysia produces a large amount of oil palm biomass each year. Although some oil palm parts and derivatives like empty fruit bunch and fibre have been commercialized as fuel, less attention has been given to oil palm fronds (OPF). Initial feasibility and characterization studies of OPF showed that it is highly feasible as fuel for gasification to produce high value gaseous fuel or syngas. This paper discusses the experimental gasification attempt carried out on OPF using a 50 kW lab scale downdraft gasifier and its results. The conducted study focused on the temperature distributions within the reactor and the characteristics of the dynamic temperature profile for each temperature zones during operation. An average pyrolysis zone temperature of 324oC and an average oxidation zone temperature of 796oC were obtained over a total gasification period of 74 minutes. A maximum oxidation zone temperature of 952oC was obtained at 486 lpm inlet air flow rate and 10 kg/hr feedstock consumption rate. Stable bluish flare was produced for more than 70% of the total gasification time. Similar temperature profile was obtained comparing the results from OPF gasification with that of woody biomass. Furthermore, the successful ignition of the syngas produced from OPF gasification ascertained that OPF indeed has a higher potential as gasification feedstock. Hence, more detailed studies need to be done for better understanding in exploiting the biomass as a high prospect alternative energy solution. In addition, a study of the effect of initial moisture content of OPF feedstock on the temperature distribution profile along the gasifier bed showed that initial moisture content of feedstock in the range of 15% gives a satisfactory result, while experiments with feedstock having higher moisture content resulted in lower zone temperature values.

Biomass; Gasification ; Oil-palm fronds


Abdullah, N., & Bridgwater, A.V., 2006. Pyrolysis Liquid Derived from Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunches. Journal of Physical Science 17, 117-129.

Abdullah, N., & Gerhauser, H., 2008. Bio-Oil Derived from Empty Fruit Bunches. Fuel 87, pp. 2606-2613.

Amin, N.A.S., Ya'Aini, N., Misson, M., Haron, R., Mohamed, M., 2010. Enzymed Pretreated Empty Palm Fruit Bunch for Biofuel Production. Journal of Applied Sciences 10, pp. 1181-1186.

Ani, F.N., Yusof, M., Zainal, Z.A., Azman, M., 2008. Characterization of Rice Husk for Cyclone Gasifier. Journal of Applied Sciences 8, pp. 622-628.

Baker, E.G., Mudge, L.K., Mitchell, D.H., 1984. Oxygen/Steam Gasification of Wood in a Fixed-bed Gasifier. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Process Design and Development 23, pp. 725-728.

Balamohan, S., 2008. Feasibility of Oil-Palm Fronds for Biomass Gasification, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Final Year Project (Mechanical Engineering Department), Unpublished.

Bhat, A., Ram Bheemarasetti, J.V., Rajeswara Rao, T., 2001. Kinetics of Rice Husk Char Gasification. Energy conversion and management 42, pp. 2061-2069.

Bhattacharya, S.C., & Hla, S., 2001. A Study on a Multi-stage Hybrid Gasifier-Engine System. Biomass and Bioenergy 21, pp. 445-460.

Borisov, II, Geîetuha, G.G., Khalatov, A.A., 1998. Performance and Characteristics of Wood Downdraft Gasifier with Vortex Gas Cleaning System. Biomass for Energy and Industry. Proc. 10th European Conference and Technology Exhibition (Eds. H. Kopetz et al.).

Bridgwater, A.V., 1995. The Technical and Economic Feasibility of Biomass Gasification for Power Generation. Fuel 74, pp. 631-653.

Dogru, M., Howarth, C.R., Akay, G., Keskinler, B., Malik, A.A., 2002a. Gasification of Hazelnut Shells in a Downdraft Gasifier. Energy 27, pp. 415-427.

Dogru, M., Midilli, A., Howarth, C.R., 2002b. Gasification of Sewage Sludge Using a Throated Downdraft Gasifier and Uncertainty Analysis. Fuel Processing Technology 75, pp. 55-82.

Dong, C., Jin, B., Zhong, Z., Lan, J., 2002. Tests on Co-firing of Municipal Solid Waste and Coal in a Circulating Fluidized Bed. Energy conversion and management 43, pp. 2189-2199.

Fredriksson, C., 1999. Exploratory Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Cyclone Gasification of Wood Powder, Luleå University of Technology.

Ganan, J., Al-Kassir Abdulla, A., Cuerda Correa, E.M., Macías-García, A., 2006. Energetic Exploitation of Vine Shoot by Gasification Processes a Preliminary Study. Fuel Processing Technology 87, pp. 891-897.

Gañan, J., González, J.F., González-García, C.M., Cuerda-Correa, E.M., Macías-García, A., 2006. Determination of the Energy Potential of Gases Produced in the Pyrolysis Processes of the Vegetal Carbon Manufacture Industry. Bioresource technology 97, pp. 711-720.

Guo, B., Shen, Y., Li, D., Zhao, F., 1997. Modelling Coal Gasification with a Hybrid Neural Network. Fuel 76, pp. 1159-1164.

Guo, R., Guo, W., Hu, H., 2008. Texaco Coal Gasification Quality Prediction by Neural Estimator Based on MSA and Dynamic PCA. pp. 1298-1302.

Hanaoka, T., Inoue, S., Uno, S., Ogi, T., Minowa, T., 2005. Effect of Woody Biomass Components on Air-steam Gasification. Biomass and Bioenergy 28, pp. 69-76.

Hanping, C., Bin, L., Haiping, Y., Guolai, Y., Shihong, Z., 2008. Experimental Investigation of Biomass Gasification in a Fluidized Bed Reactor. Energy & Fuels 22, pp. 3493-3498.

Higman, C., & Van der Burgt, M., 2008. Gasification: Gulf Professional Publishing. Jaafar, M.Z., Kheng, W.H., Kamaruddin, N., 2003. Greener Energy Solutions for a ustainable Future: Issues and Challenges for Malaysia. Energy policy 31, pp. 1061-1072.

Kalam, M.A., & Masjuki, H.H., 2002. Biodiesel from Palmoil--an Analysis of its Properties and Potential. Biomass and Bioenergy 23, pp. 471-479.

Li, X., Grace, J.R., Watkinson, A.P., Lim, C.J., Ergüdenler, A., 2001. Equilibrium Modeling of Gasification: A Free Energy Minimization Approach and its Application to a Circulating Fluidized Bed Coal Gasifier. Fuel 80, pp. 195-207.

Midilli, A., & Dogru, M., 2001. Hydrogen Production from Hazelnut Shell by Applying Airblown Downdraft Gasification Technique. International journal of hydrogen energy 26, pp. 29-37.

Mitta, N.R., Ferrer-Nadal, S., Lazovic, A.M., Perales, J.F., Velo, E., Puigjaner, L., 2006. Modelling and Simulation of a Tyre Gasification Plant for Synthesis Gas Production. Computer Aided Chemical Engineering 21, pp. 1771.

Mohammed, M.A.A., Salmiaton, A., Wan Azlina, W., Mohammad Amran, M.S., Fakhru’l-Razi, A., Taufiq-Yap, Y.H., 2010. Hydrogen Rich Gas from Oil Palm Biomass as a Potential Source of Renewable Energy in Malaysia. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Reed, T.B., & Das, A., 1988. Handbook of Biomass Downdraft Gasifier Engine Systems: SERI/SP-271-3022, Solar Energy Research Inst., Golden, CO (USA).

Saidur, R., Abdelaziz, E.A., Demirbas, A., Hossain, M.S., Mekhilef, S., 2011. A Review on Biomass as a Fuel for Boilers. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 15, pp. 2262-2289.

Sulaiman, S.A., Balamohan, S., Moni, M.N.Z., Mekbib, S., Mohamed, A.O., 2010. Study on the Feasibility of Oil Palm-Fronds for Biomass Gasification. 5th International Ege Energy Symposium and Exhibition (IEESE-5). Pamukkale University, Denizli, Turkey.

Wahid, C., & Weng, C.K., 2008. Availability and Potential of Biomass Resources from the Malaysian Palm Oil Industry for Generating Renewable Energy. Oil Palm Bulletin 56.

Yang, H., Yan, R., Chen, H., Lee, D.H., Liang, D.T., Zheng, C., 2006. Pyrolysis of Palm Oil Wastes for Enhanced Production of Hydrogen Rich Gases. Fuel Processing Technology 87, pp. 935-942.

Yang, H., Yan, R., Chin, T., Liang, D.T., Chen, H., Zheng, C., 2004. Thermogravimetric Analysis-fourier Transform Infrared Analysis of Palm Oil Waste Pyrolysis. Energy Fuels 18, pp. 1814-1821.

Yusof, I.M., Farid, N.A., Zainal, Z.A., Azman, M., 2008. Characterization of Rice Husk for Cyclone Gasifier. Journal of Applied Sciences 8.

Zainal, Z.A., Rifau, A., Quadir, G.A., Seetharamu, K.N., 2002. Experimental Investigation of a Downdraft Biomass Gasifier. Biomass and Bioenergy 23, pp. 283-289.