Gasification Converts Wastes Into Useable Fuel
Gasification converts carbon-containing materials, under high temperature and pressure, into synthesis gas. Synthesis gas or syngas is generally composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide but can be manufactured to contain methane and other higher molecular weight compounds. Syngas can be used as a fuel to generate electricity or as a basic chemical building block for use in the petrochemical and refining industries. Syngas generally has a heating value that is approximately two-thirds that of natural gas and, when burned as fuel, produces emissions that are similar to natural gas. In the petroleum refining industry alone, about seven to ten million tons of hazardous byproducts containing carbon, currently managed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), could be converted into useable fuel or chemicals using gasification methods.
As part of EPA's effort to promote flexible, innovative ways to convert waste to energy EPA finalized an exclusion for oil-bearing hazardous secondary materials generated at a petroleum refinery in December 2007. This exclusion ensures that the gasification of these materials will have the same regulatory status (excluded) as other oil-bearing hazardous secondary materials reinserted into the petroleum refining process. For more information on the oil-bearing hazardous secondary materials exclusion, visit the Exclusion from the Definition of Solid Waste for Oil-Bearing Hazardous Secondary Materials web page.