Gasification: Do you know what it is, or why it’s important? If not, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) would like to enlighten you, via a new website called “Gasifipedia,” a comprehensive online collection of resources to promote better understanding of gasification technology.
According to NETL, gasification offers a near zero-emissions alternative to traditional means of converting carbon feedstocks into useful products such as electricity or fuels. It works by using heat, pressure, and steam to convert any carbon-based raw material–from biomass to coal–into synthesis gas, or syngas. This gas (composed primarily of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) can be used in a number of ways: it can be refined into pure hydrogen, transformed into liquid transportation fuels, or used to create electricity. NETL anticipates that, in the future, gasification will offer that elusive “clean coal” technology for plants producing power, fuels, and/or chemicals.
The new Gasifipedia website contains both introductory and in-depth information about gasification fundamentals, supporting technologies, gasification applications, environmental benefits, and the status of the latest research and development, and includes the following sections: Introduction to Gasification (an overview of the gasification process, its history and resurgence); Gasification in Detail (outlining the chemical reactions taking place during the gasification process); Supporting Technologies (explaining other supporting technologies used in a typical gasification plant, include coal storage and feed preparation, air separation, syngas cooling and heat recovery, syngas cleanup and conditioning, power train, and syngas conversion processes); Applications of Gasification Technology (describing the numerous types of gasification facilities for production of electricity, liquid fuels, synthetic natural gas, hydrogen, and chemicals); Main Advantages of Gasification (addressing the reasons gasification is considered our best clean-coal technology option); Gasification Research and Development (detailing the research, development, and demonstration activities being conducted to improve gasification processes).
Gasification is currently in use in more than 20 industrialized countries, and Energy Department clearly would like to see this industry take off in the United States, as part of its efforts to “tap the full potential of the America’s abundant fossil energy resources in an affordable and environmentally acceptable manner.” This public website is offered in conjunction with the Office of Fossil Eenergy’s Advanced Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle program, which supports the development of advanced gasification-based technologies that will reduce the cost of coal-based gasification plants, improve thermal efficiency, and achieve near-zero atmospheric emissions for all pollutants.