Integration of biomass gasification to help increase community resilience
Design and model of a solar+biomass microgrid in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico
The viability of integrating biomass gasification into microgrids for rural or energy-insecure communities is an area of active investigation. Excess biomass is a carbon-neutral resource readily available to many vulnerable communities that offers the potential to lower the cost to maintain a stable microgrid while also increasing community autonomy and sustainability. This research aimed to model a small-scale grid that integrated solar PV and biomass gasification for a large community inn to better understand the economic and technical effects of using biomass as a fuel source. This research also sought to design a gasifier using CAD to allow for future biomass gasification experimentation. HOMER Pro and Helioscope were used to model the microgrid, while Fusion 360 was used to design the CAD model of the prototype hybrid gasifier. The model demonstrated that biomass gasification would help increase community energy resilience and potentially could lower the cost of energy for the local business. However, future investigation is needed to design a circular supply chain to process and store the excess biomass. The completed design of the new model gasifier will also contribute to future thesis work exploring biomass energy characteristics. This work is part of an ongoing engagement by U-M’s Sustainability Without Borders organization, and thus will continue with the next Master’s Project team.
Andrew Richardson, MS (SusSys); Larry Borum III, MS (SusSys); Stephen McShane, MS (SusSys), MEng (Energy System Engineering)