Markets for Gasification
A variety of commodities can be produced from syngas, the primary product of gasification, providing for many potential markets. This product flexibility as well as the versatility and efficiency of gasification, make it an attractive technology now and for the future.
Currently, the main markets for gasification, as judged by analysis of current and planned projects, are:
Worldwide, 45% of all gasification-produced syngas is used in the production of chemicals (this includes fertilizers, grouped with chemicals in the World Gasification Database groupings) and 28% for the production of liquid transportation fuels. Power and gaseous fuels are produced from 19% and 8% of global syngas production, respectively. Liquid fuels production was slated to make the largest increase in capacity by 2010, with 69% of new syngas production going toward the manufacture of liquid transportation fuel. The next largest expected growth in production capacity was chemicals (22%) and then power (9%), with no growth planned for gaseous fuels before 2010.
Great Plains Synfuels Plant
The next largest application of gasification, as of 2010, is production of liquid fuels. The U.S. market for liquid fuel use from both petroleum-based sources and produced from fuels like coal and biomass is expected to modestly increase from 19.2 million barrels per day in 2010, to 19.9 million BPD in 2035. Government regulations (EISA2007) mandate that, by 2022, 36 billion gallons of biofuels must be produced to replace petroleum fuels. A portion (about 2-3%) of these 36 billion gallons must be biomass-to-liquid (BTL) diesel transportation fuel. The Energy Information Administration's (EIA's) Annual Energy Outlook 2012, predicts BTL diesel will replace 2.5 billion gallons of petroleum fuel by 2022, well over the required amount.
As of 2007, power and gaseous fuels are third and fourth, respectively, in installed capacity due to their relative recent emergence in the history of gasification. Chemicals and liquid fuels have been produced through gasification for more than five decades, whereas technology development for efficient power generation (integrated gasification combined cycle [IGCC]) and demand for gaseous fuels like hydrogen have advanced more recently. Ultra-clean transportation fuels synthesized from gasification are expected to see the largest increase in capacity, as of 2010.
In addition to these established "product" markets, potential markets exist for gasification within industrial applications. Industrial plants that require electricity, steam, and also generate a feedstock suitable for a gasifier—refineries or paper pulping plants, for example—could benefit from an onsite gasification plant.
Future market growth is expected to be concentrated in two broad market categories: clean power generation and clean energy conversion.