U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Advanced Manufacturing Office
Industrial Gasification Workshops Address Opportunities and Challenges
March 6, 2006
Industry input is essential in helping DOE better understand the potential opportunities and barriers involved in utilizing synthetic gas in place of natural gas for industrial applications. Towards this goal, DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory, in conjunction with ITP, recently held the first in a series of workshops on gasification technologies for industrial use.
The Industrial Gasification Workshop, on February 28, 2006, in Tyson's Corner, VA, brought together gasification technology developers, industry representatives and associations, market experts, and government representatives, to assess technology, market, and business issues pertaining to industrial natural gas usage, industrial applications for gasification, and the challenges of increased utilization of gasification technology. This workshop was designed particularly to identify a path towards developing a more comprehensive solution, and to define the role of the government in accelerating development and deployment, from the point of view of the industry market participants themselves.
A preliminary study of the natural gas market, and, in particular, the effect of shortages and price increases on the industrial sector, was presented by Richard Aiken and Craig Sutton of Booz Allen Hamilton. Several industry representatives testified about the impact of rising natural gas costs on their industries, the potential for gasification to help their industries, and of the importance of government assistance in achieving that potential. The analysis served as the starting point for an open discussion regarding which potential governmental and industrial actions could best accelerate additional deployment of gasification technologies.
Several topics emerged from the presentations and discussions, including the technical challenges facing different gasifier technologies and feedstocks, various potential business models based on the most economically sized gasification plant, and the different options of feedstock available for use in gasification, scalability, and costs. Also discussed were the areas of development that would gain the greatest benefit from government assistance, from research and development efforts to the need for scale demonstration plants. Finally, individual industry representatives explained their specific needs with respect to accelerating deployment of gasification solutions, and what broader policy options might also be part of a comprehensive natural gas and gasification solution.
Additional workshops to explore industrial gasification challenges are being scheduled - watch for announcements!