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Catalytic conversion of low calorific and non-ignitable gases to electricity

The scope of this project, which is fully funded by the EU, is the development of a catalytic combustor for a decentralized power generation plant (electrical and thermal energy) based on a micro heavy-duty gas turbine. Current technologies (gasoline engine, gas turbine with simple combustion chamber, flare) for the thermal conversion of gas mixtures can use them energetically or dispose of them (flare) up to a methane content of about 25 vol%. Particularly important examples of lean gases are landfill gases, i.e. methane-containing gases that are produced landfills when they contain organic material that is then anaerobically decomposed. Over time, the methane content of such landfill gases steadily decreases; it can be around 55% in the so-called stable phase, but after a few years it can drop below 25%, so that a weak gas is present, and later even much lower. Furthermore, methane-containing lean gases are produced during the decomposition of sewage sludge or as mine gas.

The aim of this development is the utilization and energetic use of gas mixtures below 25 vol%. Due to the multiple climate-damaging properties of the methane in various gas mixtures, its complete conversion is required and can be achieved accordingly with the combustion chamber.

The project includes the process engineering design, the construction and testing of a prototype as well as the development of the control system.