Waste-to-energy through gasification

Valorización energética de residuos por gasificación

Gasification is a process which, through partial oxidation of material, enables us to use the chemical energy contained in waste to generate thermal and electrical energy. GreenE has developed and patented a new high-performance gasification process for the elimination and valorisation of organic waste, with the emphasis on sustainable development.

Gasification consists of a process of partial oxidation of organic material to convert it into a combustible gas. In this way, the chemical energy content of organic matter is converted into the chemical energy content of a gas. This gas is used as fuel to power engines, gas turbines or boilers.

Unlike incineration, which operates with an excess of oxygen, gasification uses only 25-30% of the oxygen required for complete combustion of the organic matter, producing a partial combustion that brings with it a number of environmental benefits.

Ash is produced as a by-product of the gasification process and this ash can be recovered as construction material, fertiliser, glass production, etc. If the organic material used is a waste with a low ash content and this ash cannot be used, in any case, the volume of the waste will be reduced considerably when inertised and its energy content availed of.

Materials suitable for gasification include those with a high carbon content, i.e., any type of coal, biomass, organic waste or carbonaceous waste.

Therefore, gasification is an effective technique for reducing the volume and recovering the energy of solid waste, making it the best way of obtaining thermal and electrical energy within the framework of sustainable development. According to Stiegel and Maxwell, of all the advanced technologies being developed, gasification-based technologies are the only ones with the potential to develop thermal efficiencies of over 60% and costs per KWe well below those of the electricity market, in addition to production costs equal to or less than current market costs.

Article published in: FuturENVIRO March 2015