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UpDraft Gasifier

Ross Thurmond and Jennifer Collins

Acknowledgements: S.D. Filip To, P.E., Ph.D.


With rapid decrease in the world's fossil fuel supply, gasification offers a clean effective means for providing an alternative energy supply. A gasifier converts a carboncomposed material into a synthetic gas called syngas. An updraft gasifier, also referred to as a counter-current fixed bed, is the principle model for our design. In an updraft gasifier, the inorganic material undergoes three processes. First, pyrolysis occurs as the particle is heated, and char is produced. Then combustion takes place as the char reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Both pyrolysis and combustion are very rapid processes. Finally, gasification occurs as the char reacts with carbon dioxide and oxygen to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The resulting gas is the syngas. This product gas contains a significant proportion of tars and hydrocarbons, which contribute to its high heating value.

Design Concept:

·Reactor cylinder made from refractory ceramic ·Cylinder dimensions: diameter of 5 cm and height of 10 cm ·Insulate using some type of furnace insulation ·Include a-frame grate with ash troughs that will remove ash and allow for uniform air dispersion ·Reactor will be pressure controlled (oxygen will be introduced from the bottom) ·Allotted holes for temperature and pressure readings ·Temperature readings recorded using thermocouples ·Reactor will be fed from the top ·Wood chips will be used as the experimental feedstock

Conclusion and Future Work:

The main focus for the prototype is to provide Mississippi State with a usable updraft reactor. We plan to construct the gasifier at the beginning of the new semester. Future considerations include the bed ignition procedure. As of now, we plan to assemble an igniter.

Project Statement:

The purpose of our design is to provide Mississippi State University with a reactor for an updraft gasifier. Our primary goal is for our prototype to produce syngas efficiently under a controlled pressure.


· Perform literature review for updraft gasification. · Identify parameters critical to the design of the reactor. · Determine composition and dimensions of the reactor. · Determine bed ignition procedure · Evaluate ash control and insulation problems · Incorporate means to record reactor conditions during gasification


[1] R. Zanzi, J. Suarez, and P. Diaz. "Updraft Gasification," Nov. 14, 2005. [Online]. Available:'u pdraft%20gasifier [2] A. Rajvanshi. "Biomass Gasification," Nov. 9, 2005. [Online]. Available:'u pdraft%20gasifier


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