2010 Worldwide Gasification Database

Recent Industry Changes

The 2010 Worldwide Database lists 48 gasification plants that are being planned to start operations between 2011 and 2016. Seventeen of these are to be coal-based plants in China, seven are under construction. Eighteen U.S. plants are being planned with two integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants under construction; one is expected to start in 2011 and the other has started site clearing.

This section explains how the gasification industry has changed from 2008 to 2010, compares current industry plans for new gasification facilities with prior growth projections, and describes recent developments in the gasification industry.

Recent Changes in World Syngas Capacity

The 2010 Worldwide Gasification Database indicates that existing world gasification capacity has grown to 70,817 MWth of syngas output from 144 operating plants and 412 gasifiers. This represents a 26% increase in syngas output compared to the most recent 2007 database level of 56,238 MWth, a 57% increase compared to the 2004 database level of 45,001 MWth and a 66% increase compared to the 1999 database level of 42,726 MWth.

Focusing on the 2008 to 2010 period, 15 new gasification plants are now online (or will be by the end of 2010), providing an additional 20,084 MWth syngas capacity. The “Gasification Plants Started During 2008-2010” table shows that nine of these plants are already operating commercially, and six have a planned start-up during late 2010. Eleven (8,115 MWth) are chemical production plants, two (172 MWth) will generate power, and two (11,797 MWth) will produce liquid fuels, including the Pearl gas-to-liquid (GTL) plant in Qatar (10,936MWth), which is the only new plant that will utilize natural gas. Eleven of these new plants use coal as feedstock, while two will use petroleum residuals and one will use biomass/waste materials. Seven of the plants selected Shell gasifiers, five are using a domestic Chinese gasifier (ECUST), two use Siemens, and one selected the Carbona/GTI gasifier.

Gasification Plants Started During 2008 – 2010 (click to enlarge)
Gasification Plants Started During 2008 - 2010

Syngas Capacity Changes by Region

The Africa/Middle East region (37%), with the addition of the Pearl plant in Qatar, has once again become the leading region in the world for gasification based on operating capacity, bumping the Asia/Australia (36%) region to second largest. The European region (16%) remains the third largest region, followed by North America (10%) and Central/South America (1%), which retained their respective fourth- and fifth-place rankings.

Syngas Capacity Changes by Feedstock

Coal has decreased its lead as the dominant feedstock for gasification plants, based on an MWth basis, to 51% down from 55% in 2007 and 49% of total world capacity in 2004. However, as shown in the “Non U.S. Gasification Plants Planned Worldwide for 2011-2016” table and the “U.S. Gasification Plants Planned Worldwide for 2011-2016” table, most new plants – 40 of the 48 planned for the period 2011 to 2016 – intend to use coal as the feedstock. Petroleum (including fuel oil, refinery residue, naphtha, etc.) is still the second leading feedstock with 25% of total gasification capacity in 2010 from 56 plants, but its share has declined from three years ago when it was at 33% based on 59 plants. Natural gas remains the third-ranking feedstock at 22% of current total capacity, up substantially from the 8% level in 2007. Petcoke and biomass/waste also retained their fourth- and fifth-place rankings with approximately 1% and 0.5% each.

Non U.S. Gasification Plants Planned Worldwide For 2011 – 2016 (click to enlarge)
Non U.S. Gasification Plants Planned Worldwide For 2011 - 2016

U.S. Gasification Plants Planned Worldwide For 2011 – 2016 (click to enlarge)
U.S. Gasification Plants Planned Worldwide For 2011 - 2016

Syngas Capacity Changes by Product

The 2010 database for operating plants on an MWth basis shows that chemicals remain the top product generated by gasification plants. Its relative ranking is 45%, the same as it was in 2007. Liquid fuel has increased its relative position from 28% three years ago to 38%. Power or electricity generation has declined to 11% of total world syngas capacity from its 19% level in 2007. Gaseous fuel has declined slightly from its 8% level in 2007 to 6%. This data is greatly influenced by the start-up of the large Pearl GTL plant in Qatar.

Syngas Capacity Changes by Technology

The “Changes in Market Position for Gasifier Technologies” table shows that the market position of Shell gasifiers has continued to improve through 2010 due to the selection of Shell technology at seven of the 15 plants worldwide that came online during 2008 to 2010. The market share for Shell increased to 41%, compared to 28% in 2007. Both Sasol Lurgi and GE Energy declined in their relative market positions in 2010. Sasol Lurgi went from 34% in 2007 to 25% and GE Energy declined from 31% in 2007 to 23%. Of the plants in planning through 2016, Shell, ECUST, and the E-GAS technologies each have ~20%, followed by Uhde with 14%, GE with 11%, and Siemens with 9%. If projects move ahead as planned, the collective position of the three dominant commercial gasifier companies – Shell, Sasol Lurgi, and GE (89% of all operating gasifiers, up 1% from 2007) – will not change; their hold on the market, however, may decrease to 64% by 2016.

Changes in Market Position for Gasifier Technologies
Changes in Market Position for Gasifier Technologies

Comparison of Growth Projections

The “World Gasification Planned Growth Forecast Comparison” chart shows actual and forecast growth from the 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010 Gasification Worldwide Databases. In general, the actual growth for the gasification industry has lagged the forecast by two or three years. The 2004 and 2007 forecasts showed a clear shift to the right, or a delay in bringing additional syngas capacity online. The 2010 forecast is more optimistic about growth than previous forecasts and shows an accelerated growth period, continuing a trend that began around 2009. The 2010 construction line charts the plants that are under construction. The syngas capacity added by the plants actually built by 2016 is likely to fall somewhere between the 2010 forecast and the 2010 construction lines.

World Gasification Planned Growth – Forecast Comparison
World Gasification Planned Growth – Forecast Comparison

Some historical gains have also been unexpected in the gasification industry. For example, in 1999 the Africa/Middle East region showed no expected growth for the next five years. However, by 2004 the reported capacity of the South African Sasol gasifiers had increased by more than 40%. Some extraordinary gains are being realized in certain countries as well. The rapidly expanding economy in China has resulted in associated increases in demand for energy and chemical feedstock. During 2008 to 2010, 11 coal-based and one petroleum-based plants have been added. This brings the total number of gasification plants in China to 56, almost 40% of the worldwide total of 144. In Qatar, the exceptionally large plant, which is in startup and set to begin operations late this year, will increase the syngas capacity for the Africa/Middle East region by 72%. The future of gasification looks bright, and should continue to grow over the years for several important reasons: the need for clean methods for using abundant fossil energy sources such as coal with carbon containment or re-use; effective use of renewable biomass to produce electricity, fuels, and chemicals; and as a method for management of petroleum residues, including petcoke.


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