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The Process of Gasification

Gasification is a process that converts carbonaceous materials, such as coal, petroleum, or biomass, into carbon monoxide and hydrogen by reacting the raw material at high temperatures with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam. The resulting gas mixture is called synthesis gas or syngas and is itself a fuel. Gasification is a very efficient method for extracting energy from many different types of organic materials, and also has applications as a clean waste disposal technique.

The advantage of gasification is that using the syngas is potentially more efficient than direct combustion of the original fuel because it can be combusted at higher temperatures or even in fuel cells, so that the thermodynamic upper limit to the efficiency defined by Carnot's rule is higher or invalid. Syngas may be burned directly in internal combustion engines, used to produce methanol and hydrogen, or converted via the Fischer-Tropsch process into synthetic fuel. Gasification can also begin with materials that are not otherwise useful fuels, such as biomass or organic waste. In addition, the high-temperature combustion refines out corrosive ash elements such as chloride and potassium, allowing clean gas production from otherwise problematic fuels.

Gasification of fossil fuels is currently widely used on industrial scales to generate electricity. However, almost any type of organic material can be used as the raw material for gasification, such as wood, biomass, or even plastic waste. Thus, gasification may be an important technology for renewable energy. In particular biomass gasification can be carbon neutral.

Gasification relies on chemical processes at elevated temperatures >700C, which distinguishes it from biological processes such as anaerobic digestion that produces biogas.

Global NRG specializes in build small biowaste gasification power plants of up to 6MW where syngas is manufactured from wood waste and various crop wastes and then used to fuel internal combustion engines coupled to alternators of various sizes.

Schematic of gasification power plant

Plasma Gasification is regarded as the fourth state of matter and is the ionization of gases at temperatures reaching 5000C  - the same temperature as the Sun's surface.  At these temperatures all matter is vaporized.

Plasma gasification of waste matter means that all waste matter can be gasified without out first sorting the recyclables.  The Plasma Gasification process can use a variety of organic based materials as feedstock for a Plasma Gasification reactor. Plasma torches heat the reactor interior to 5000 C causing the organic matter to undergo limited oxidation, resulting in the production of a synthetic fuel or syngas. After cooling and cleansing the syngas is then employed as a primary fuel in a combustion turbine. The non-organic elements are vitrified into a safe, non-toxic and non-leachable slag which can be used to produce value added construction materials, such as road material, tiles, bricks, etc. In the Plasma Gasification process, since there is no combustion there is no ash residue. The reactor has no need of stacks since there are no emissions from the gasification process.

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