Gasification of biomass and waste plastics in a two-stage gasifier using activated carbon

Joo Sik Kim, Tae Young Mun

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Among alternative energy resources, biomass, such as wood wastes and sewage sludge, and waste plastics are very attractive due to its abundance, accessibility, and ease of use. The conversion of lignocellulosic biomass or waste plastics to a fuel or chemicals usually can take place with thermo-chemical conversion technologies. Among the thermo-chemical conversion processes, gasification is a complex combination of pyrolysis and oxidation reactions in the condensed and vapor phases. Under typical gasification conditions, oxygen levels are restricted to less than 30 % of that required for complete combustion [1]. Gasification converts biomass or waste plastics to a uniform gaseous mixture that mainly comprises H2, CO, and CH4. The gaseous mixture is called producer gas. Producer gas can be used to run internal combustion engines to generate electricity, can be used as substitute for fuel oils in direct heat applications and can be used to produce chemicals which are useful as fuel, as well as chemical feedstock for industries [2]. Gasification itself is very old technology, which flourished during the 2nd world war. Today, there is renewed interest in the gasification, due to the increased petroleum prices. The main advantage of gasification lies in that it is decentralized conversion system which can be operated even in a small scale. In Korea, an average of 5 million tons/yr of wood waste is being generated of late, much of which has been treated simply through incineration and recycling, such as into wood pellets for boiler fuel. Therefore, the need for more efficient treatment of wood wastes has recently gained strong national recognition. Meanwhile, plastics are widely used in everyday life, as well as in high-tech industries, as an indispensable ingredient. Consequently, the amount of waste plastics has also increased. Therefore, there is a growing need for waste plastics management. The traditional ways for the disposal of waste plastics have been either to bury it in landfills, or to burn it in incinerators. Landfill and incineration, however, are associated with serious environmental problems. Therefore, there is an increasing need to utilize waste plastics environmental friendly and economically. In this regard, the present work gives detailed experimental results of gasification of forest wood waste (FWW), construction wood waste (CWW), dried sewage sludge (DSS), and post-consumed mixed waste plastics (MPW) in a newly developed two-stage gasifier. The aim of the research is to directly reduce the tar yield in the gasifier and to produce a high caloric producer gas. In accordance with the aim, this article reports the development of a producer gas composition according to experimental conditions, such as the reactor temperatures and the equivalence ratio, the role of activated carbon in tar removal, and the chemical and thermal characteristics of the tar.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGasification
Subtitle of host publicationChemistry, Processes and Applications
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781612096810
StatePublished - 2011


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