Environmental Benefits


Gasifiers generate less SOx, NOx and particulate in the conversion of the MSW, bio-solids and other solid waste than does incineration. As shown in the graphic to the left, gasifier air emissions from conversion of solid waste to energy are far less harmful to the environment than landfill.

Landfills produce the potent greenhouse gas methane, and release it into the atmosphere where it is some 20 times more effective than carbon dioxide in converting sunlight into thermal energy that is retained in the atmosphere.

Gasification of municipal solid waste reduces the amount of these materials going to landfill by some  80 to 90 percent, while providing a means of converting other solid wastes such as waste tires. The MSW gasifiers can be designed for multi-fuel applications so they can operate on a wide variety of solid wastes.

The graphic below from Bain et al (2003) compares the greenhouse gas equivalent emmissions for generation of power by use of natural gas fired combine cycle (NGCC), pulverized coal (PC) coal biomass co-firing, and dedicated biomass combined cycle, as compared to direct thermal conversion of biomass from municipal solid waste (MSW). Note that use of biomass from MSW as a fuel avoids the generation of methane and other GHG that would have resulted from anaerobic decomposition of this biomass if placed in landfill.