Why do we need Waste-to-Energy Solutions?
- It is an environmentally friendly process of waste management
- It reduces waste going to landfills by offering an alternative for wastes that cannot be reused or recycled
- It increases recycling through the use of a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) that is made a part of the WTE facility
- It reduces green house gases and the potential to contaminate ground water by reducing the amount of material going to landfills
- It uses waste as a resource to produce biofuels, electricity, steam, speciality chemicals
- It provides for domestic production of energy
What is Gasification?
Gasification is a flexible, reliable and clean energy technology that can turn a variety of low-value feedstocks into high-value products, help a country reduce its dependence on imported oil and natural gas, and can provide a source of baseload electricity, substitute natural gas, fuels, fertilizers, and chemicals needed for economic growth.
It is a manufacturing process that converts any material containing carbon-such as coal, petroleum coke (petcoke), biomass or waste-into synthesis gas (syngas). The syngas can be burned in a turbine to produce electricity or further processed to manufacture chemicals, fertilizers, liquid fuels, substitute natural gas, or hydrogen. The percentage of biomass and waste used as feedstock has been increasing in recent years. (See Global Syngas Output by Feedstock).Gasification has been reliably used on a commercial scale worldwide for more than 60 years in the refining, fertilizer, and chemical industries, and more than 35 years in the electric power industry. It is now being used to convert municipal and hazardous waste into valuable products. (www.gasification.org)
What is the difference between Gasification and Incineration?
Increasingly, gasification is being used to convert municipal solid waste, or MSW, into valuable forms of energy. While this type of waste has been burned, or incinerated, for decades to create heat and electricity, the gasification process represents significant advances over incineration.
In order to understand the advantages of gasification when compared to incineration, it’s important to understand the significant differences between the two processes:
Incineration literally means to render to ash.
Incineration uses MSW as a fuel, burning it with high volumes of air to form carbon dioxide and heat. In a waste-to-energy plant that uses incineration, these hot gases are used to make steam, which is then used to generate electricity.
Gasification converts MSW to a usable synthesis gas, or syngas.
It is the production of this syngas which makes gasification so different from incineration. In the gasification process, the MSW is not a fuel, but a feedstock for a high temperature chemical conversion process. In the gasifier, the MSW reacts with little or no oxygen, breaking down the feedstock into simple molecules and converting them into syngas. Instead of making just heat and electricity, as is done in a waste-to-energy plant using incineration, the syngas produced by gasification can be turned into higher valuable commercial products such as transportation fuels, chemicals, and fertilizers. (www.gasification.org)