This article describes the gasification of polyethylene–wood mixtures to form syngas (H2 and CO) with the aim of feedstock recycling via direct fermentation of syngas to ethanol. The aim was to determine the effects of four process parameters on process properties that give insight into the efficiency of gasification in general, and particularly into the optimum gasification conditions for the production of ethanol by fermentation of producer gas. Gasification experiments (fluidized bed, 800°–950°C) were done under different conditions to optimize the composition of syngas suitable for fermentation purposes. The data obtained were used for statistical analysis and modeling. In this way, the effect of each parameter on the process properties was determined and the model was used to predict the optimum gasification conditions. The parameters varied during the experiment were gasification temperature, equivalence ratio, the ratio of plastic to wood in the feed, and the amount of steam added to the process. The response models obtained proved to be statistically significant in the experimental domain. The optimum gasification conditions for maximization of carbon monoxide and hydrogen production were identified. The conditions are: temperature 900°C, equivalence ratio 0.15, amount of plastic in the feed 0.11 g/g feed, and amount of steam added 0.42 g/g feed. These optimum conditions are at the edge of the present experimental domain. The maximum combined CO and H2 efficiency was 42%, and for the maximum yield of CO and H2 it is necessary to minimize the polyethylene content, minimize the added steam and the equivalence ratio, and maximize temperature.
Key words: Gasification - Wood - Waste plastics - Modeling - Polyethylene - CO - H2-production