How is Advanced Conversion Technology different from incineration?

Advanced Conversion Technology (ACT) treatment of waste is considered to be the next generation of thermal treatment and can be applied to a variety of feedstocks. Such technologies are designed to recover energy – in the form of electricity, heat, gas or fuels – principally using the processes of pyrolysis or gasification, or in the case of Syngas Products, both methods combined. 

The primary difference between ACT treatments (such as pyrolysis and gasification) and traditional combustion is the control of the environment in which the thermal processes take place. During the traditional combustion process, the feed material is heated and reacts with oxygen; leaving products of combustion and ash. During this very rapid reaction there is little control to prevent the formation of dioxins, furans, oxides of nitrogen and other oxides. 

With pyrolysis and gasification the material is heated in the absence, or with little, oxygen converting the material into a fuel gas and char.  In the Syngas Products process this fuel gas is cleaned and purified removing the precursors to the unwanted exhaust emission compounds.  The clean renewable gas is then suitable for combustion in traditional high efficiency engine cycles such as spark ignition gas engines or gas turbines. 

ACT also supports second chance recycling. Residual municipal and commercial waste is first mechanically sorted to help achieve landfill diversion targets and produce a compost-like output alongside extraction of recyclable metals and plastics. The biomass rich balance is shredded and used as a fuel.Top of page

What makes Syngas Products’ process different from other advanced thermal processes?

Syngas Products uses a combination of pyrolysis and gasification. Most advanced thermal technologies use either one or the other, most commonly gasification. A staged process using both pyrolysis and gasification offers flexibility. Pyrolysis produces a much cleaner gas than gasification alone due to the lack of oxygen in the process. By taking the char from the pyrolysis stage into the gasification stage (rather than gasifying the raw fuel) the resulting gas produced is also cleaner and therefore the plant emissions are much lower.Top of page

Does Syngas Products qualify for government subsidies?

In the UK, Syngas Products’ technology qualifies for subsidies in the form of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) at the maximum level for ACT and Contracts for Difference (CfD). The availability of subsidies is not a prerequisite for the technology to be deployed.Top of page

How efficient is Syngas Products technology?

Depending on the chosen scale of the facility Syngas Products’ advanced thermal waste to energy systems operate with net efficiencies of 25-30%.Top of page

What types of fuel can Syngas Products handle?

Syngas Products’ technology has been proven on a broad range of waste-derived fuels from plastics, to refuse-derived fuels to biomass sourced from municipal and commercial sources. The technology can accept variations in calorific value and moisture content.Top of page

How big is a Syngas Products energy recovery facility?

The size of the plant itself will vary depending on many factors including the fuel supply, number of modules, local environmental conditions and the Syngas Products configuration being used. Typical stack heights are around 30 metres.Top of page

What are the useful outputs from the Syngas Products processes?

The Syngas Products process produces an energy rich syngas which can be:

  • fed directly into a gas engine or gas turbine to generate electricity;
  • fed directly into an industrial furnace; or
  • combusted to raise steam

In addition, heat generated by the process can be deployed via a district heating system or exported directly to adjacent third-party users.Top of page

What by-products are produced by Syngas Products?

Syngas Products’ process produces by-products including non-hazardous ash, oils, effluents and spent sodium bicarbonate.Top of page

What capacity range does Syngas Products technology have?

Each Syngas Products unit produces just under 1 MW of electricity and utilises 1 tonne of feedstock per hour. Syngas Prodducts’ modular approach means units can be banked together to process between 50,000-250,000 tonnes per annum of feedstock and deliver outputs of between 5-25 MW per plant.Top of page

By what other terms are pyrolysis and gasification known?

You may also hear advanced thermal called ACT, Advanced Thermal Treatment (ATT) or Advanced Thermal Conversion (ATC). They all refer to the same technology type.Top of page

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