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Biomass-waste gasification without CCUS


Technology Description

Gasification is a thermochemical process in which a solid feedstock (in this case biomass or waste) is heated at high temperatures in the presence of an oxidant (oxygen, air and/or steam, under stoichiometric conditions to avoid complete combustion) to be transformed into a gas mixture of H2, CO, CO2 and other light hydrocarbons (called syngas), along with other by-products (char and tars). The gaseous fraction is treated to maximise H2 and CO proportions. Following treatment, the tar is removed and then the gas is passed through a water gas shift reactor in which steam reacts with CO in the presence of a catalyst to generate H2 and CO2. Then, the CO2 and other inpurities (sulphur, alkaline metals, fine particles) are captured before a high-purity H2 stream is obtained (99.9 vol% if Pressure Swing Adsorption or Membrane separation technique is used).

Relevance for Net Zero

Biomass/waste gasification without CCS for the production of products different to heat and power has not reached commercialisation and - in the specific case of hydrogen - has not even been demonstrated due to technical challenges and lack of market competitiveness compared to other hydrogen production technologies. These challenges are considerably harder to overcome when CCUS incorporation is considered. In addition, sustainable biomass availability is limited and its direct use is more efficient than its conversion into hydrogen.

Key Countries

The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States

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