Gasification Technologies Council: Gasification: An Investment In Our Energy Future (PDF)
Gasification was first developed in the 1800s and has been used commercially throughout the world for more than a century. A variety of industries have utilized the technology including chemical production, fertilizer manufacturing, and electrical power generation. Today, the majority of operating gasification plants are designed to produce chemicals, fuels, electricity, and fertilizers.
As of 2008, there were 420 gasifiers at 140 facilities in operation globally, the majority of these being surface gasification plants (source – GTC). World gasification capacity is projected to grow by more than 70% by 2015. A number of factors contribute to a growing interest in gasification, including volatile oil and natural gas prices, more stringent environmental regulations, and a growing consensus that CO2 management should be required in power generation and energy production.
Bioroot Energy believes that gasification technologies, in combination with Gas to Liquid (GTL) fuel generation represents the future of environmentally responsible waste management, and profitable, sustainable waste to energy creation.
Incineration, with its well known liabilities, is the waste industry’s current solution for turning waste into energy, which is almost always generated electricity. Virtually all currently operating waste to energy facilities are incinerators. For example, Covanta Energy operates over 30 large scale W2E facilities in the USA, all using incineration.
The most common misconception of using gasification for waste-to-energy conversion is the erroneous claim that “gasification is just another name for incineration.”
“In 1980 DOE projected that by 1987 there would be 160,000 tons-per-day of incineration capacity in the U.S. and double this by 1992. But in reality in 1988 incineration capacity was only 50,000 tons per day, and it was expanding at a snail’s pace. In 1985 there were 42 new incinerators ordered, but by 1987 it was down to 25 and by 1989 new orders has dropped to 10. In 1987, for the first time in recent memory, more capacity was canceled (35,656 tons per day) than was ordered (20,585 tons per day). The incineration industry had hit a wall.
That wall was made up of local grass-roots citizens concerned about many aspects of solid waste incineration: dollar cost, hazardous air pollution, toxic ash, destruction of material resources, waste of energy, the political corruption that accompanies multi-billion-dollar public works projects, and the gobbling up of small, local waste haulers by the incineration giants.”
As related by ratical.org
Gasification is not incineration.
In gasification the waste input is converted by high temperature into its constituent elements: H2, O2, C, N2, etc. Conversion conditions are controlled so that prior to exit, nearly all of the carbon elements reform into the desired CO and H2 (syngas). Materials that cannot be converted into syngas, such as metal, glass, rock and concrete, are vitrified to produce an inert slag. The slag is approximately 1/250th to 1/300th of the volume of the processed solid waste.
In incineration, excess O2 is added to the input waste so that at low temperature it burns. The result is heat and an exhaust of CO2, H2O and other byproducts of combustion or partial combustion. As much as 30% of the processed solid waste remains as ash. This ash is a solid waste and could be categorized as hazardous solid waste.
Boiled down to a sentence, it basically means:
Gasification is superior technology for efficiently converting waste and fossil carbons to energy, without emitting toxic compounds and CO2 or requiring supplementary fossil fuel.