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Plasma Gasification

                By Franklin L. Foster, Ph.D.
                based on a presentation by Rick Bower, Alter NRG Corp

     Plasma gasification is an exciting emerging technology based on basic laws of physics and chemistry.  "Plasma" refers to what is sometimes called "the fourth state of matter" - an ionized gas where the atoms of the gas have lost one or more electrons and has become electrically charged.  Lightning is a common example of plasma in nature.  To emulate this, plasma torches have been developed to pass an electrical discharge through a gas.  This creates temperatures nearly as hot as the sun.

     The next step was to enclose these torches in a furnace type vessel where the high temperatures can literally turn into gas a wide range of feedstock material.  See diagrams below (courtesy Alter NRG Corp.)

     As can be noted in the above diagram, gasification produces Syngas which has a wide of possible applications and end products. 

     There are four main areas where this technology can be applied:

  • Petroleum Coke - can covert this by-product of heavy oil upgrading into useable energy

  • Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) - ideally suited to covert coal into diesel or naphtha gas

  • Power Plant Retrofits - can greatly reduce emissions and extend life of coal fired power plants

  • Waste-to-Energy (WTE) - can covert waste into clean energy, reducing the need for landfills

     In short, this is an exciting, emerging area which promises to help solve both our need for more efficient energy sources, and to reduce environmental impacts - simultaneously.


Please Note: Copyrighted material. Not to be used without permission. 
Please see Alter NRG Corp. website for more information.