Gasification is a technology that converts carbon-based raw materials like coal into synthesis gas (syngas), achieved through a series of chemical reactions in a gasifier. Syngas, primarily composed of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2), has diverse applications. By adding steam and reacting over a catalyst in a water-gas-shift reactor, syngas can be further converted into hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2). Hydrogen generated through gasification can be utilized for refining oil, producing ammonia, and making gasoline and diesel fuel. Gasification also enables the creation of polygeneration plants capable of producing multiple products. Efficient capture of carbon dioxide from syngas can prevent greenhouse gas emissions and enable its utilization or safe storage. Gasification offers an alternative for converting coal, biomass, and waste into electricity and valuable products, with advantages in clean energy generation and flexibility. The market potential of gasification will depend on factors such as cost, reliability, environmental considerations, feedstock and product flexibility, government policies, and infrastructure, among others.
Gasification involves the utilization of several key technologies to facilitate the conversion of carbon-based raw materials into syngas. Some of the primary technologies used in gasification, including a company example:
Gasifiers are high temperature/pressure vessels where the carbon-based feedstock is reacted with oxygen (or air) and steam. These reactors provide the necessary conditions for the chemical reactions that transform the feed material into syngas and mineral residues.
GE Gasification is a division of General Electric that specializes in developing and providing gasification technologies. Their gasifiers are designed to efficiently convert carbon-based feedstocks into valuable syngas for various applications. GE Gasification focuses on optimizing performance, reliability, and environmental sustainability to support the transition towards cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.
- Water-Gas-Shift Reactor
The water-gas-shift reaction is employed to convert carbon monoxide (CO) and steam into additional hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). This reactor, typically utilizing a catalyst, enables the desired shift in the composition of syngas towards higher hydrogen content.
Haldor Topsoe provides cost-efficient and reliable solutions for the production of high-purity hydrogen, catering to a wide range of industries including chemical, refining, and steel. Their hydrogen production processes are designed to utilize various feedstocks, such as natural gas, coal, LPG, heavy naphtha, waste, and biomaterials, offering feedstock flexibility and optimizing resource utilization. They also offer tailored solutions for green hydrogen production through electrolysis, including the H2bridgeTM process for renewable hydrocarbon feedstocks and modular technologies like HTCR convection reforming for small to medium-sized capacity plants. For larger-scale capacity plants, they provide the SynCORTM hydrogen process, based on auto thermal reforming, suitable for very large capacities and high carbon capture requirements.
- Syngas Cleanup Systems
Syngas produced in the gasification process often contains impurities such as sulfur compounds, particulate matter, and trace contaminants. Syngas cleanup systems, including technologies like scrubbers, filters, and catalytic converters, are employed to remove these impurities and ensure the syngas meets the required specifications for downstream applications.
Air Liquide offers a range of syngas cleanup systems for CO2 management and capture. Their Cryocap™ technology combines cryogenic and membrane processes to capture CO2 from different sources such as flue gases or steel production processes. They also utilize technologies like Recticap™, a streamlined version of their syngas cleaning technology Rectisol™, for CO2 capture and high-purity gaseous CO2 production. Additionally, Air Liquide employs amine-based technologies for CO2 capture from syngas or flue gas, delivering high purity gaseous CO2 at low pressure. With their proprietary technologies and extensive operational experience, they provide competitive and reliable solutions for CO2 capture.
- Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
CCS technologies play a vital role in capturing and storing the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated during gasification. This process prevents the release of CO2 into the atmosphere, aiding in greenhouse gas emission reduction. Captured CO2 can be utilized for applications such as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) or safely stored underground.
CycloneCC is an innovative carbon capture technology developed by Carbon Clean Solutions (CCSL). It combines Carbon Clean’s proprietary amine-promoted buffer salt solvent (APBS-CDRMax®) with rotating packed bed (RPB) process technology, resulting in a more efficient and cost-effective carbon capture method compared to conventional approaches. The CycloneCC units are delivered pre-installed on skids, allowing for quick installation, minimizing site disruption, and enabling scalability to meet decarbonization goals by easily adding units in line with the company’s trajectory.
- Heat Recovery Systems
Gasification is an energy-intensive process that generates substantial heat. Heat recovery systems, including waste heat boilers and heat exchangers, capture and utilize the heat produced during gasification for various purposes such as steam generation or electricity production, enhancing overall process efficiency.
ABB offers a Waste Heat Recovery System (WHRS) for ships that efficiently captures waste heat from the exhaust boiler. The WHRS utilizes a dual-pressure exhaust gas boiler to generate steam at high and low pressure, which is then fed to a condensing steam turbine connected to a generator. This process converts the thermal energy into mechanical energy to power the ship’s propulsion, resulting in fuel savings and improved efficiency. ABB’s WHRS can be optimized for specific propulsion plants, allowing for pre-calculated payback time estimates, and vessels with stable operating profiles and higher propulsion loads tend to benefit the most from this technology.
Gasification technologies continue to evolve, aiming to improve process efficiency, reduce emissions, and enhance the sustainability of syngas production. To follow on the news, check our page.