Outcomes of the workshop

Around 25 delegates from 17 institutes/companies (UK, China and Hungary) attended the workshop on pyrolysis and gasification of wastes and biomass in Hull. The delegates gave presentations covering fundamental catalysis, flexible process development, microwave pyrolysis, overview of industrial deployment in China, details of designing small-scale gasification system, molecular modelling and CFD modelling, and different applications of the products from pyrolysis/gasification of biomass and wastes. Ideas and knowledge have been intensively exchanged. Opportunities, challenges and solutions of gasification and pyrolysis have been discussed in three groups and presented. The results of group discussions are summarized as follows:

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Opportunities of pyrolysis and gasification of wastes and biomass

  1. Limited places for landfill
  2. Improve the efficiency of raw materials uses
  3. Extract values from wastes
  4. Make profits from wastes
  5. Not too many opportunities about MSW pyrolysis
  6. Pyrolysis of biomass and MSW gasification are promising in future
  7. Climate change is a big drive for pyrolysis and gasification
  8. Better infrastructure of power and heat generation make gasification more promising
  9. Gasification has long history
  10. Gasification technology is more flexible, can produce syngas for the generation of heat, power and chemicals
  11. Producing high value chemicals from pyrolysis of specific wastes could be promising
  12. Bio-char has many applications
  13. Gasification can produce hydrogen for future clean energy system

Challenges of pyrolysis and gasification of wastes and biomass

  1. Policy stability
  2. High capital costs for large-scale plant
  3. Low economic profits
  4. Technologies not mature
  5. Investors are not confident in the technologies
  6. Public perception issues, in particular about using MSW
  7. Knowledge about successful or failed projects are not well shared
  8. Pyrolysis and gasification have higher requirements for feedstock properties compared to incineration
  9. Scaling up too early
  10. Tar problem for gasification
  11. Low power density
  12. Resistance to new ideas/technologies
  13. Sizing problem
  14. Cheap nature gas prohibits the development of pyrolysis and gasification
  15. Bio-oil needs to be standardized
  16. Biomass needs to be classified
  17. Catalyst is expensive if used
  18. Difficult to control temperature inside the gasifier
  19. Syngas clean up problems
  20. Low quality of bio-oil
  21. Too expensive to upgrade bio-oil
  22. Lack of management experiences for plant building and running

Solutions to challenges

  1. Modelling to facilitate technology development and scaling up
  2. Government could enhance the knowledge distribution
  3. Producing transporting fuels by blending
  4. Good match between the capacity of plant and the needs of markets
  5. No solutions to microwave pyrolysis? (Energy consumption too high? Use intensified microwave heating?)
  6. By-pass the condensation of syngas
  7. Use catalyst to produce high-value products
  8. Combine with renewable energy (energy storage)
  9. Real time tar detection and control
  10. Pre-treatment of feedstock
  11. Standardize feedstock
  12. Good coupling of pyrolysis and gasification
  13. Design novel catalyst
  14. Select proper feedstock for certain technologies
  15. Plasma gas cleaning
  16. Thermal plasma gasification (clean gas although high energy input)
  17. Develop robust reactor
  18. New policy for bioenergy, biofuels and waste management
  19. Novel management system for feedstock