The Global Syngas Technologies Council (GSTC) promotes the role that syngas technologies play in helping improve the energy, power, chemical, refining, fuel and waste management industries. GSTC encourages the use of economically competitive and environmentally conscious technologies to produce electricity, fuels, chemicals, fertilizers, substitute natural gas, and hydrogen from a variety of feedstocks, including coal, petroleum coke, natural gas, refinery liquids, biomass and waste. GSTC also facilitates relationships among technology, equipment and service providers, and plant owners and operators.
The Gasification and Syngas Technologies Council (GSTC) promotes the role that gasification and syngas technologies play in helping improve the energy, power, chemical, refining, fuel and waste management industries. GSTC encourages the use of economically competitive and environmentally conscious technologies to produce electricity, fuels, chemicals, fertilizers, substitute natural gas, and hydrogen from a variety of feedstocks, including coal, petroleum coke, natural gas, refinery liquids, biomass and waste. GSTC also facilitates relationships among technology, equipment and service providers, and plant owners and operators.
The Gasification and Syngas Technologies Council (GSTC) is the leading trade association committed to advancing the global business interests of the gasification and syngas industries. We focus on two key areas: first, promoting the role that gasification and syngas technologies play in helping improve the energy, power, chemical, refining, fuel and waste management industries, and second, serving as a focal point for new business prospects for GSTC members.
A company that joins the GSTC can anticipate a significant return on its investment from:
- Business development opportunities generated by strategic and results-oriented global and domestic marketing programs
- Networking opportunities that include exclusive and informal meetings with key industry leaders and legislative and regulatory officials, as well the annual Gasification and Syngas Technologies Conference, the largest gathering of its kind in the world
- Access to outreach materials to educate and inform the public, and the markets that our members serve, about the attributes and benefits of gasification and other syngas producing technologies
- Efficiently staying up to date with presentations from leading organizations involved in gasification and sysngas production, conversion, and use at three member meeting throughout the year
GSTC’s members are involved in all aspects of gasification and syngas production, processing and use, including technology development and licensing, engineering, procurement and construction, equipment supply, project development, and plant ownership and operation. Given the strength of our numbers and the diversity of our expertise, we provide valuable relationship-building opportunities for our members as well as a strong and influential voice to support the use of gasification and syngas worldwide. A membership in the GSTC will ensure that your voice is part of the conversation that shapes the future of the syngas industry.
The gasification and syngas marketplace is increasingly global and diverse. New gasification and syngas technologies have created burgeoning opportunities to turn low value feedstocks (such as biomass and municipal solid waste) into valuable products. The GSTC has responded to the challenges and opportunities of this highly dynamic environment by spearheading a broad range of business initiatives, designed to introduce the benefits of gasification and syngas production and use to emerging markets domestically and internationally. GSTC positions its members to leverage knowledge of the marketplace into business opportunities.
- The GSTC has raised the global profile of gasification (and now other syngas technologies) by working in the US to educate international business representatives and government officials about the benefits of these technologies. The initial strategic focus has been on India, Mongolia, and South Korea. To date, the GSTC has participated in discussions with the Department of Energy’s International Office, the Department of Commerce, the Trade and Development Agency, the Indian and Mongolian embassies, the Confederation of Indian Industry, and the North American Mongolian Business Council. While focusing on these markets, the GSTC has remained a sought-after source of information about gasification from other markets. GSTC participated in a “reverse trade mission” with the US Trade and Development Agency for a Chilean delegation interested in coal gasification and for an East Asian delegation interested in waste conversion technologies.
- GSTC staff work internationally to introduce the benefits of gasification and syngas to key business and regulatory leaders. These meetings are designed to ensure maximum exposure of the benefits of gasification to as broad a range of business and public interests as possible.
- The GSTC is a member of the US-India Business Council (USIBC), part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The GSTC and the USIBC conducted a gasification trade mission to India in September 2013. GSTC delegation members met with U.S. Embassy officials, key Indian government ministries and members of the oil, gas, chemical, and fertilizer industries.
- GSTC staff has participated in international conferences in South Korea, India and Europe. In addition, GSTC conducts outreach by publishing in trade journals.
- GSTC monitors emerging markets, such as Africa, Brazil, and East Asia and provides information and potential business about those markets to our members.
The GSTC conducts outreach throughout the US by participating in conferences, publishing in trade journals, conducting media interviews, and actively engaging key audiences through social media. Our goals are to increase the awareness of gasification, to position the GSTC as the “go to” organization for information on gasification and syngas, and to expand our reach through strategic alliances with related organizations in the energy sector.
The GSTC holds three Member meetings a year. These meetings provide excellent access to and relationship-building opportunities with, other companies and invited guests. The Member meetings bring together, in a 'round table' setting, global industry experts from the various energy sectors to inform our Members about market dynamics, new projects, technology advancements, policy and regulatory actions, and financial drivers.
The annual Gasification and Syngas Technologies Conference is the largest gasification and syngas conference in the world and attracts key decision makers and technical experts from the global gasification industry. We are now expanding the conference to include all aspects of the syngas industry.Typically, more than four hundred people attend, representing technology providers, research institutions, equipment suppliers, engineering firms, utilities, coal/mining companies, energy companies, governments and trade associations. In addition, there are more than forty-five exhibitors.
GSTC Members have priority opportunities to participate in the general sessions as presenters, session chairs, and event sponsors. Members are also able to select exhibit space before it is open to the public. In addition, Members can make use of meeting rooms to host private meetings without charge at the conference facility.
To increase the understanding of gasification and its benefits, the GSTC has developed and continues to produce a series of web-based and hard copy videos and brochures for the public and targeted audiences. . Examples include:
- Underground Coal Gasification (brochure)
- Biomass and Waste Gasification (video and brochure)
- Gasification Versus Incineration (video)
- Gasification: Redefining Clean Energy (brochure and video)
GSTC is currently developing additional outreach materials to cover the global syngas market.
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. Gasification can help meet those challenges.
- Gasification is a time-tested, reliable, and flexible technology that converts carbon-containing materials, including waste and biomass, into electricity and other valuable products, such as chemicals, fuels, substitute natural gas, and fertilizers.
- Gasification does not involve combustion (burning), but instead uses little or no oxygen or air in a closed reactor to convert carbon-based materials directly into a synthetic gas, or syngas. It is this intermediate product, syngas, that makes gasification so unique and different from combustion.
- The gasification process breaks these materials down to the molecular level, so impurities like nitrogen, sulfur, and mercury can be easily removed and sold as valuable industrial commodities.
- Gasification can recover the energy locked in biomass and municipal solid waste, converting those materials into valuable products and eliminating the need for incineration or landfilling. Biomass can also be blended with coal as a feedstock for electricity generation to lower its carbon footprint.
- Gasification has been reliably used on a commercial scale for more than 75 years in the refining, fertilizer, and chemical industries, and for more than 35 years in the electric power industry.
- Gasification produces electricity with significantly reduced environmental impact compared to conventional technologies.
- Gasification plants bring good jobs to a community – construction jobs needed to build a plant, and well-paying permanent jobs needed to run the plant. Compared to the old coal-burning plants, gasification can capture carbon dioxide much more efficiently and at a lower cost. This capture technology is being successfully used at gasification plants in the U.S. and worldwide.
- World gasification capacity is projected to grow by more than 70% by 2015. Most of that growth will occur in Asia, with China expected to achieve the most rapid growth
- Gasification is an investment in our energy future.
How is Gasification Different from Incineration?
Increasingly, gasification is being used to convert municipal solid waste, or MSW, into valuable forms of energy. While this type of waste has been burned, or incinerated, for decades to create heat and electricity, the gasification process represents significant advances over incineration. In order to understand the advantages of gasification when compared to incineration, it’s important to understand the significant differences between the two processes:
Incineration literally means to render to ash. Incineration uses MSW as a fuel, burning it with high volumes of air to form carbon dioxide and heat. In a waste-to-energy plant that uses incineration, these hot gases are used to make steam, which is then used to generate electricity.
Gasification converts MSW to a usable synthesis gas, or syngas. It is the production of this syngas which makes gasification so different from incineration. In the gasification process, the MSW is not a fuel, but a feedstock for a high temperature chemical conversion process. In the gasifier, the MSW reacts with little or no oxygen, breaking down the feedstock into simple molecules and converting them into syngas. Instead of making just heat and electricity, as is done in a waste-to-energy plant using incineration, the syngas produced by gasification can be turned into higher valuable commercial products such as transportation fuels, chemicals, and fertilizers.
In addition, one of the concerns with incineration of MSW is the formation and reformation of toxic dioxins and furans, especially from PVC-containing plastics and other materials that form dioxins and furans when they burn. These toxins end up in exhaust steams by three pathways:
- By decomposition, as smaller parts of larger molecules,
- By 're-forming' when smaller molecules combine together; and/or
- By simply passing through the incinerator without change.
Incineration does not allow control of these processes, and all clean-up occurs after combustion.
Gasification is significantly different and cleaner than incineration:
- In the high temperature environment in gasification, larger molecules such as plastics are completely broken down into the components of syngas, which can be cleaned and processed before any further use,
- Dioxins and furans need sufficient oxygen to form or re-form, and the oxygen-deficient atmosphere in a gasifier does not provide the environment needed for dioxins and furans to form or reform,
- Dioxins need fine metal particulates in the exhaust to reform; syngas from gasification is typically cleaned of particulates before being used,
- In gasification facilities that use the syngas to produce downstream products like fuels, chemicals and fertilizers, the syngas is quickly quenched, so that there is not sufficient residence time in the temperature range where dioxins or furans could re-form; and
- When the syngas is primarily used as a fuel for making heat, it can be cleaned as necessary before combustion; this cannot occur in incineration.
The ash produced from gasification is different from what is produced from an incinerator. While incinerator ash is considered safe for use as alternative daily cover on landfills, there are concerns with its use in commercial products. In high-temperature gasification, the ash actually flows from the gasifier in a molten form, where it is quench-cooled, forming a glassy, non-leachable slag that can be used for making cement, roofing shingles, or used as an asphalt filler or for sandblasting. Some gasifiers are designed to recover melted metals in a separate stream, taking advantage of the ability of gasification technology to enhance recycling.
Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of the volatile components of an organic substance, in the temperature range of 400-1,400°F (200-760°C), and in the absence of air or oxygen, forming syngas and/or liquids. An indirect source of heat is used. A mixture of un-reacted carbon char (the non-volatile components) and ash remains as a residual. Burned toast is an example of pyrolysis.
Gasification takes this to the next step. It occurs in a higher temperature range of 900-3,000°F (480-1,650°C) with very little air or oxygen. In addition to the thermal decomposition of the volatile components of the substance, the non-volatile carbon char that would remain from pyrolysis is converted to additional syngas. Steam may also be added to the gasifier to convert the carbon to syngas. Gasification uses only a fraction of the oxygen that would be needed to burn the material. Heat is supplied directly by partial oxidation of the carbon in the feedstock. Ash remains as a residual.
Environmental Benefits of Gasification
Gasification-based systems offer significant environmental advantages over competing technologies, particularly coal-to-electricity combustion systems and other waste-to- energy systems.
Gasification plants can capture carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, much more easily and efficiently than coal-fired power plants. In many instances, this carbon dioxide can be sold for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and other uses, creating additional value from the gasification process. The Dakota Gasification Plant in Beulah, North Dakota captures its carbon dioxide while making substitute natural gas and sells it for EOR. Since 2000 this plant has captured and sent the carbon dioxide via a 205 mile pipeline to EnCana’s Weyburn oil fields in Saskatchewan, Canada, where it is used to help recover additional oil.
In a gasification system, carbon dioxide can be captured using commercially available technologies before it would otherwise be vented to the atmosphere. One process, called the water-gas shift reaction, is illustrated below:
Converting the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and capturing it prior to combustion is more economical than removing carbon dioxide after combustion, effectively “de-carbonizing” or, at least, reducing the carbon in the syngas.
Gasification plants manufacturing ammonia, hydrogen, fuels, or chemical products routinely capture carbon dioxide as part of the manufacturing process.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the higher thermodynamic efficiency of the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plant cycle minimizes carbon dioxide emissions relative to other technologies. IGCC plants offer today’s least-cost alternative for capturing carbon dioxide from a coal-based power plant. In addition, IGCC will experience a lower energy penalty than other technologies if carbon dioxide capture is required. While carbon dioxide capture and sequestration will increase the cost of all forms of power generation, an IGCC plant can capture and compress carbon dioxide at one-half the cost of a traditional pulverized coal plant. Other gasification-based options, including the production of motor fuels, chemicals, fertilizers or hydrogen, have even lower carbon dioxide capture and compression costs.
During gasification, virtually all of the carbon in the feedstock is converted to syngas. The mineral material in the feedstock separates from the gaseous products, and the ash and other inert materials melt and fall to the bottom of the gasifier as a non-leachable, glass-like solid or other marketable material. This material can be used for many construction and building applications.
Gasification Slag, Courtesy of Westinghouse Plasma Corporation (WPC), a division of Alter NRG Corp.
In addition, more than 99% of the sulfur can be removed using commercially proven technologies and converted into marketable elemental sulfur or sulfuric acid.
Gasification uses approximately 14–24% less water to produce electric power from coal compared to other coal-based technologies, and water losses during operation are about 32–36% less than other coal-based technologies. This is a major issue in many countries — including the United States — where water supplies have already reached critical levels in certain regions.
Converting Waste to Energy
Each year the bulk of the world’s municipal waste is disposed of in landfills. Gasification can convert this waste into electricity and other useful products—reducing the need for landfill space, decreasing methane emissions from the decomposition of organic materials in the landfill, and reducing the risk of groundwater contamination for landfills.
Gasification can compete effectively in high-price energy environments to provide power and products.
- Gasification can be used to turn lower-priced, or negative-value feedstocks, such as petroleum coke, or municipal solid waste, into valuable products such as substitute natural gas, electricity, fuels, chemicals, and fertilizers
- Gasification offers wide fuel flexibility. A gasification plant can vary the mix of solid feedstocks, or run on gas or liquid feedstocks-giving it more freedom to adjust to the price and availability of a feedstock
- Gasification can convert municipal solid waste into power and valuable products-both reducing a city’s cost for managing waste and providing a source of income as the waste becomes a commodity feedstock
- The ability to produce a number of high-value products at the same time (polygeneration) also helps a facility offset its capital and operating costs.
- Gasification byproducts (sulfur and slag) are readily marketable. For example, sulfur can be used in fertilizer production and slag can be used in roadbed construction and roofing materials.
- Gasification reduces a company’s or a country’s dependence on expensive imported natural gas by using its domestic resources to produce needed products and power.
- Gasification units require less emission control equipment because they generate fewer emissions, further reducing a plant’s operating costs.