Gasification turns waste into an energy-rich fuel gas by heating the waste under controlled conditions.

Gasification involves the conversion of waste in a high temperature (between 400C and 800C), low oxygen environment to produce a synthesis gas (a mixture of methane, hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide) and a char or ash residue.

After cleaning and drying, the synthesis gas can be fed directly into engines to produce electricity, combusted with air to make steam which is then used to produce electricity, or sold as a gas fuel similar to natural gas.

The gasification process occurs in a gasifier - an enclosed vessel under controlled conditions within a building.

For further details on the gasification process, please download the information sheet below.

Information Sheet - Gasification Technology - September 2012

Why has gasification been selected as an acceptable technology option?

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions and capable of diverting around 90% (by volume) of council waste from landfill
  • Produces a marketable product (electricity) and has a high recovery rate of resources. A 90,000 tonnes per annum facility would export an approximate power surplus of 7MW, equivalent to powering around 10,500 homes
  • Minimal risk of health consequences
  • Low risk of water pollution
  • Low risk of odours
  • Net energy producer
  • Commercially proven technology used particularly in Norway, Japan and Sweden.

Disadvantages of gasification

  • The overall energy efficiency of the process has the potential to be improved if waste heat was used by other industries or facilties offsite. This is difficult with isolated gasfication facilities and in the Australian climate context.
  • Recovery and use of the bottom ash in other applications can be problematic.

Examples of gasification facilities

There are a number of companies operating facilities around the world, particularly in Japan and Europe.

For more information click on the links below:

Energos Ltd, 8 operating facilities in Europe, UK

Refgas pilot plant, Manchester UK

JFE, Japan (8 commercial plants)