Global Markets for Gasifiers

Bharat Book Bureau

Summary
REPORT HIGHLIGHTS This report provides:

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An exploration of the global markets for gasifiers. Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2011 and 2012, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2017. A breakdown of the types of gasifier technologies, including fixed-bed, fluidized-bed, entrained-flow, and plasma. Examinations of feedstocks, such as fossil fuel (coal, petcoke, and residuals), wood, forestry products, waste and waste wood, seed hulls, nut shells, organic refuse, and others (oil palm plantation waste, corn cobs and stover, coconut husks). Examination of government support mechanisms, climate change policy impacts, and market expansion constraints, such as emissions, component costs, natural gas and shale gas prices, and land requirements for feedstocks.

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INTRODUCTION
Gasification is a centuries–old thermochemical energy conversion technology that has slowly achieved modernity over the decades. The technology is undergoing its third evolutionary surge. Fuel shortages in WWII spurred widespread adoption for vehicle fuels. The oil crisis 1973 spurred a re–evaluation and renewed development. Rising oil prices, globally increasing fuel demand, and overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change have spurred this last leg to full industrialization. The central concept of gasification is that by raising carbon–rich materials to high temperatures in an oxygen–deficient containment, the material will break down thermochemically instead of burning. If the same material is combusted (burned), it emits carbon monoxide and a host of pollutants, besides being incompletely consumed. If gasified, the products are hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). This is synthetic gas, simply called “syngas.” It can be burned, captured, stored, or its molecules rearranged to form fuels and chemical feedstocks.

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WHY JUST THE GASIFIER? Gasifier technology is actually a group of technologies that has emerged commercially in a number of applications and is being evolved for others. For several decades, gas and oil refiners, chemicals companies, remote–from–grid communities, and techno–hobbyists have been advancing the design and functional performance of gasifiers. As oil prices have risen and the specter of carbon emissions regulations draws nearer, the intensity of interest in gasifiers has grown apace. From a 5,000 ft. altitude view, an industrial scale gasifier plant appears remarkably similar to an integrated circuit. There are connecting pipelines (circuits) everywhere, and various specialized devices (subprocessors) to provide input and take the output of the central processor, the gasifier, and do something with the syngas.

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THE MOST SIGNIFICANT GASIFIER MARKETS This study of the markets for gasifiers recognizes that the various market segments involve different operational characteristics, economics and feedstocks. The financing arrangements for gasification systems are different among municipal, utility, industrial, gas and oil, and low–level economies. Gasification provides a venue to power generation using carbon fuels without exposing project developers to risk from environmental and health concerns. Gasification also empowers users to utilize high carbon, low value fuels (e.g., lignite, sub– bituminous coals, peat) and derive electricity, industrial chemicals, clean fuels, synthetic transportation fuels, and inert re–usable waste.

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STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES This report was written to characterize and quantify the world markets for gasifiers in terms of gasifier technologies, unit counts, regions, feedstocks and end product application. Gasifier technologies have been evolving for well over a century, but only recently emerged as either at or near being economically and technologically viable as a short–list choice for the production of syngas and chemical feedstocks on an industrial scale and energy sources for a variety of smaller regional, municipal, village and commercial or residential sectors. A very limited number of opportunities also exist where gasifiers are a de facto choice for syngas production. In sum, this report is designed to adequately identify and describe the markets in which gasifiers are playing, will expand their roles, or will gain entry to markets that encompass both thermal and chemical energy generation, and fuel and industrial chemicals production.

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REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY Gasifiers can be regarded as a new/old technology. Their functioning principles have been known – and applied commercially since the 19th century. Before the electric light, gasification supplied town gas for lighting city streets. Low–cost fossil fuels have regularly distracted industries and research organizations from continuing to develop the technology. With the arrival on the world economic stage of surging economies in Asia, Southwest Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, the era of low–cost liquid fossil fuels has passed for good. There is too much competition for every barrel of oil, thus keeping prices elevated. Advanced materials, thermodynamics modeling, attractive economics and tightening emissions regulations have formed a perfect storm that is driving the appearance and quick expansion of markets for gasifiers. As long as there are feedstocks available in sustainable quantities, gasifiers can deliver syngas for a variety of applications.

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SCOPE OF REPORT This report identifies, characterizes, describes, and forecasts world markets for gasifiers on global and regional bases. Attention is given to national/state incentives, international agreements, regulatory regimes, and political policies that foster, hinder or neglect (whether benignly or otherwise) the implementation of gasifiers. Forecasts are provided to estimate the robustness of gasifier markets in their different size ranges, feedstocks, and applications over time, covering the period 2012 through 2017.

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METHODOLOGY

The development of this report involved foundation research into existing technology assessments, as well as market data for worldwide gasifier implementation. Materials that were examined include conference proceedings, research reports from work carried out and sponsored by the U.S. National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), publicly available presentations and marketing materials by various gasification equipment and project development companies and gasification and biomass energy organizations, companies’ 10–K and 10–Q reports where available, telephone interviews and discussions with gasifier vendors and buyers, municipal waste management officials and town managers, and chemical industry executives. An attempt was made to balance discussions among technology experts, market developers, corporate management, and regulatory agencies, as well as prospective buyers of gasifiers.

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INTENDED AUDIENCE
The report is of interest to manufacturers, marketing, sales, production planning, strategic planning, and service planners for gasifier manufacturers, balance of plant component manufacturers, plant designers, and service organizations. It is also of use to buyers, and investors in gasifiers of any size and geographic region. The information is of interest to project planners, refinery operators, coal and biomass energy and liquid product extraction equipment and engineering firms, coal company owners, coal shipment companies, liquid fuel project developers, legislative bodies, regulatory authorities, municipal waste disposal management authorities and project developers, renewable and fossil fuel energy proponents and opponents, regional grid operators, coal mine company managers, and developers of competitive and complementary combustion, anaerobic digestion, and bio–gasification technology development companies.

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INFORMATION SOURCES The information sources accessed for this report included telephone interviews with a number of private and federal researchers investigating various gasifier technologies and operations. Discussions were also held with project developers and officials in utilities, municipal waste treatment, wastewater treatment, coal mining, and biomass power plant development and operation, as well as cogeneration and trigeneration operations and planning. As much as possible, attention was given to obtaining primary information about all sizes of gasifiers and the diverse gasifier platforms, including plasma reactors. Extensive efforts were made to understand the global distribution of fossil fuels (the various coals, natural gas deposits, and shale plays), and prominent biomass species indigenous to areas where gasifiers might be considered.

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