Gasification Background

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:

End use applications of syngase

World gasification capacity and planned growth – by end use of syngas1
Source: Worldwide Gasification Database

Worldwide, as of 2014, 60% 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 24% for the production of liquid transportation fuelsPower and gaseous fuels are each produced from 8% of the total global syngas production. Chemicals and fertilizer production, already the leader in gasification market share mainly because of large operating capacity in China, is expected to roughly double from currently operating capacity based on units in construction and planned capacity growth (much of the construction and growth in China as well). 

Great Plains Synfuels Plant

The next largest application of gasification, as of 2014, 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.

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. Nevertheless, gaseous fuels/hydrogen are expected to see a several-fold increase over currently operating capacity based on construction and planned new units. based on 2014 information. IGCC power capacity is also expected to more than double.

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.

1. “State of the Gasification Industry: Worldwide Gasification Database 2014 Update,” presented by Chris Higman, Gasification Technologies Conference Washington DC, 29 October, 2014

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