Gasification

Gasification is the thermal decomposition of carbonaceous materials (organic or fossil based) into a fuel gas mainly consisting of hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and some higher order hydrocarbons. The gasification process occurs at high temperatures (greater than 700oC) with controlled air, oxygen and/or steam inputs.  Gasification is a robust conversion mechanism and is applicable to many types of fuels, including coal, biomass and municipal solid waste (MSW).

The fuel gas produced can be fed into a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE), gas turbine or fuel cell for generation of electricity, and/or can be alternatively converted into liquid fuels and specialty chemicals through chemical upgrading processes. Heat is also available as the by-product of the gasification process and also from heat recovery from the combustion engine.  

Gasification processes are designed to incorporate waste heat recovery, resulting in very high overall process efficiencies. Due to the lower conversion temperatures compared with traditional combustion technologies, gasification processes are cleaner resulting in fewer emissions of nitrous and sulphur oxides. The other significant advantage of gasification is the direct applicability of ICE as the secondary conversion technology to electricity – ICE is a low cost conversion technology, and combined with high overall process efficiency (incorporating heat recovery), gasification can be a low cost solution per unit of electricity generation at suitable scales.

Typical small-scale downdraft gasifier suitable for woody biomass (image courtesy of Gasification Australia)

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) for use with gasification producer gases (image courtesy of Gasification Australia)

Services

Earth Systems’ staff are widely experienced in the field of gasification, especially in the conversion of woody residues. We are able to provide unique assistance for feasibility studies, small to large scale test work, process design and research and development. 

Our services include:

  • Assessment of gasification project economics and technology feasibility;
  • Feedstock characterisation for determining most suitable energy technology;
  • Gasification process concept design and development; and
  • We also have the research and design skills, manufacturing expertise and hands on ability to take a potential biomass feedstock through the iterative process of development to a pilot, feasibility and commercial gasification bioenergy solution.

Previous Experience

Relevant previous experience includes the following:

  • Technology R&D work of fluidised bed gasification of biosolids from waste water treatment plants
  • Fixed bed gasification trials for coal-to-liquids conversion in both downdraft and updraft gasification processes
  • Development of a fluidised bed gasifier technology for the production of hydrogen and liquid fuels
  • Feasibility studies for conversion of woody residues and biosolids for combined heat and power processes
  • The research, development and manufacturing of commercial small-scale gasifier units with ICE electrical generation