Gasification is a technological process that uses heat, pressure, and steam to convert any carbonaceous (carbon-based) raw material into synthesis gas. Syngas, for short, is so called because of its history as an intermediate in the production of synthetic natural gas. Composed primarily of the colorless, odorless, highly flammable gases carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2); Syngas has a variety of uses. For example, Syngas can be used to create electricity, refined into pure hydrogen, or transformed into liquid transportation fuels . Gasification systems are also increasingly being used to turn feedstocks like coal into useful products like ammonia.
Gasification offers an alternative to more established ways of converting feedstock like coal, biomass, and some waste streams into useful products like electricity or fuels. The advantages of gasification in specific applications and conditions, particularly in the generation of electricity from coal, may make it an increasingly important part of the world’s energy and industrial markets.
As with any technology, widespread market penetration of gasification relies on economic conditions and enabling infrastructures that allow it to be competitive with other alternatives. For gasification, the largest potential market is electricity generation from coal, where integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants are being proposed with increasing frequency.
Sourced from the DOE NETL (National Energy Technology Library). For more information, click here.