Study finds gasification of palm oil industry waste could yield hydrogen at about $2.11/kg

A study by a team at the University Putra Malaysia concluded that the gasification of empty fruit bunch (EFB), a waste of the palm oil industry, could, if scaled up, produce hydrogen at a supply cost of $2.11/kg ($0.18 Nm3). The US Department of Energy (DOE) 2015 cost target for hydrogen is $2.00-$3.00/kg (delivered, untaxed, 2005$), independent of the pathway used to produce and deliver hydrogen. (One kilogram of hydrogen contains approximately the same energy as one gallon of gasoline.)

A paper on the study is in press in the journal Energy Conversion and Management.

Feedstock particle size showed an influence on the upgrading of H2, CO and CH4 yields. The feedstock particle size of 0.3–0.5 mm, was found to obtain a higher H2 yield (33.93 vol.%), and higher LHV of gas product (15.26 MJ/m3). Equivalence ratio (ER) showed a significant influence on the upgrading of hydrogen production and product distribution. The optimum ER (0.25) was found to attain a higher H2 yield (27.31 vol.%) at 850 °C. Due to the low efficiency of bench scale gasification unit the system needs to be scaling-up. The cost analysis for scale-up EFB gasification unit showed that the hydrogen supply cost is RM 6.70/kg EFB ($2.11/kg = $0.18/Nm3).

—Mohammed et al.


  • M.A.A. Mohammed, A. Salmiaton, W.A.K.G. Wan Azlina, M.S. Mohammad Amran and A. Fakhru’l-Razi (2010) Air gasification of empty fruit bunch for hydrogen-rich gas production in a fluidized-bed reactor. Energy Conversion and Management doi: 10.1016/j.enconman.2010.10.023

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