One of the most compelling challenges of the 21st Century is finding a way to meet national and global energy needs while minimizing the impact on the environment. There is extensive debate surrounding this issue, but there are certain areas of consensus:
Gasification, a time-tested, reliable and flexible technology, will be an increasingly important component of this new energy equation. An investment in gasification today will yield valuable future returns in clean, abundant, and affordable energy.
Gasification is an environmentally sound way to transform any carbon-based material, such as coal, refinery byproducts, biomass, or even trash, into energy without burning it. Instead, gasification produces a gas by creating a chemical reaction that combines those carbon-based materials (feedstocks) with air or oxygen, breaking them down into molecules and removing pollutants and impurities. What’s left is a clean “synthesis gas” (syngas) that can be convertedinto electricity and valuable products, such as transportation fuels, fertilizers,substitute natural gas, or chemicals.
Gasification has been used on a commercial scale for more than 75 years bythe chemical, refining and fertilizer industries and for more than 35 years bythe electric power industry. It is currently playing an important role in meeting energy needs in the U.S. and around the world. It will play an increasingly important role as one of the economically attractive manufacturing technologies that will allow us to produce clean, abundant energy. And it is being usedin new settings: while gasification has typically been used in industrial applications,it is increasingly being adopted in smaller-scale applications to convert biomass and waste to energy and products.