Wednesday, January 18, 2012

White Paper on Waste Processing Technologies - highlights of risks associated with GASIFICATION as an emerging technology


Meeting the Future: Evaluating the Potential of Waste
Processing Technologies to Contribute to the Solid
Waste Authority’s System
Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County, Florida
Prepared by:
Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc. 
8550 Arlington Blvd, Suite 304
Fairfax, VA  22031
September 2, 2009

Found an interesting and what appears to be a very useful report (Sept. 2009) that reviews waste management technology for the Palm Beach County FL. 
Even though the information from this white paper was developed over 2-years ago, it marks the same time that Ivan Henderson, Commissioner of CPP lead the trip to Asia to explore emerging technologies (
Aug. 2009).  Some of the information may have become slightly outdated, but nonetheless, the most interesting factoids and statements are presented below:

(See further excerpts and references to useful PowerPoint slides here)

Note: CPP has yet to explain how this project, that has been estimated to cost between $180 and $300 million, will be financed.

Gasification Facilities in operation worldwide:  Seven (7) plants with this technology are currently operating in Japan, with at least two of them firing MSW.  The largest of these plants in Kurashibi has a reported furnace size of 185 TPD, with three units of this size.  Their largest facility fires up to 555 (Metric) TPD of MSW.  There are 20 smaller facilities in Europe and Asia.  Most of them are relatively small (less than 10 tons per day), with none designed for more than 70 tons per day throughput. Since 1996, no new greenfield commercial plant has been implemented.

Reliability: Pyrolysis and gasification systems have limited MSW operating history on which to rely and, although they may have fewer moving parts and appear to be simpler in operation than other systems, they do not have sufficient experience to draw conclusions for reliability of operation.  

Environmental/Air: Several gasification/pyrolysis systems show the gas generated driving a  gas turbine, which could be part of a combined cycle system.  This would increase efficiency; however,
turbine manufacturers are reluctant to guarantee performance on units fueled by syngas  from MSW.

Costs and Revenue Streams: The only technologies with dependable estimates for capital and operating costs, based on long experience in the  U.S., are the proven mass-burn/waterwall, mass-burn/modular and RDF/dedicated boiler technologies. All of the others have cost estimates that are speculative, theoretical, or market driven.  Unless a vendor’s cost proposals are backed by substantial guarantees of performance, they cannot be considered reliable.  

3. [in assessing the use of emerging technologies]...[including] gasification without on-site energy production.  If…[Cleveland] pursues the use of these technologies, it must be prepared to manage the considerable risks involved, including commercialization risks, scale-up risks, performance risks, construction and operating cost risks and environmental compliance risks.

4. Accessing these technologies is best done through a competitive public procurement and negotiation process that requests proposals from contractors that are able to provide a facility and services with appropriate financial guarantees to deliver the permitting, design, construction, start-up and acceptance testing, and long-term commercial operations under performance-based full-service contracting arrangements. 

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