Plasma Gasification – How it works

Plasma Gasification, employing plasma technology, is a simple yet proven innovative technology that is expected to displace incineration and landfill as the most popular method to process waste of all kinds in the coming years. Cahill Energy’s Plasma Gasification technology creates substantial economic and environmental benefits associated with higher efficiencies and higher value end products. Cahill Energy employs plasma technology as the best available technology for the treatment of waste.

Each Cahill Energy Plasma Gasification Plant will produce a stream of revenue by accepting various types of waste (tipping fees) and then receive a further stream of revenue by either:

  • selling the syngas to other users
  • making and selling electricity by using the syngas to drive Gas Turbines or Gas Engine generators
Other by-products are produced during the waste’s conversion process which are:

  • heat as ‘sensible heat’ which can be used to raise low pressure steam heat which can be diverted to district heating schemes
  • heat which can be diverted as the heat source for use in Industrial Absorption Refrigeration systems e.g. large building air conditioning
  • heat for use in desalination systems.
  • inorganic vitrified slag for use as high grade construction aggregate
  • inorganic vitrified slag for use as a fire retardant additive
In addition to these sources of revenue (actual and potential), many national and local governments currently offer various tax incentives to assist in waste management as well as carbon credits. Plasma Gasification, employing plasma technology, destroys waste without any combustion being involved and in doing so transforms all organic waste into Syngas and inorganic waste into a non-leaching vitrified slag. The vitrified slag has a number of commercial uses, is chemically very stable and is completely inert.

Gasification which typically operates at 440-850OC is a technology that has been used since the early 1800s’ for production gas from coal, oil from coal and destruction of homogeneous waste. Plasma Gasification operates at 1200-4000 ºC which causes the molecules of the organic waste to dissociate and form a synthesis gas (syngas) which once cooled, cleaned and conditioned can be safely used as a fuel for a gas turbine generator or gas engine.

Plasma is highly ionized or electrically charged gas and therefore has no energy value itself except as thermal energy. An example in nature is the air surrounding lightning which is capable of generating temperatures exceeding 20,000C.

The benefits and advantages

Plasma Gasification is ideally suited for a number of waste streams including:

  • Municipal solid waste
  • Electronic waste
  • Industrial waste
  • Petrochemical waste
  • Medical waste
  • Incinerator Ash
The clean Syngas produced by a Cahill Energy plant can be converted into a wide variety of energy products including:

  • Electricity, through gas turbines, reciprocating engines
  • Heat and steam
  • Hydrogen
  • Liquid fuels
Cahill Energy intends to use plasma gasifier technology since it is the clear leader in the plasma gasification market by virtue of Cahill’s upcoming developments and the four existing commercial plants that use the technology today with two others being constructed.

Cahill Energy specializes in developing Plasma Gasification Plants employing plasma technology as the source of thermal energy for converting all types of waste into valuable energy products with minimum detrimental environmental impact and is a proven technology with a long term global pipeline to harness the inherent benefits of this technology.