As important as coal is as a primary gasification feedstock, gasification technology offers the important ability to take a wide range of feedstocks and process them into syngas, from which a similarly diverse number of end products are possible. Gasifiers have been developed to suit all different ranks of coal, and other fossil fuels, petcoke and refinery streams, biomass including agricultural waste, and industrial and municipal waste. The flexibility stems from the ability of gasification to take any carbon and hydrogen containing feedstock and then thermochemically break down the feedstock to a gas containing simple compounds which are easy to process into several marketable products.
The key to further increasing the adaptability of gasification technology for any feedstock is continuing research and development on feedstock preprocessing technologies and gasifier design. Research in these areas will minimize fuel costs to a gasification facility in addition to giving plants the knowledge to expand their fuel supply options and make selections based on market conditions. Gasifiers can be designed to handle a wide variety of feedstocks; however, better understanding of gasifier operation is needed to optimize control of syngas properties based on varying feedstocks. This understanding will be gained as more operational data is available, to allow plants to more carefully control fuel costs amid changing fuel availability conditions.
The following chart shows the world gasification capacity and planned growth by feedstock as of 2014.
Coal & Biomass