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Syngas, or synthesis gas, is a fuel gas mixture consisting primarily of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and very often some carbon dioxide. The name comes from its use as intermediates in creating synthetic natural gas (SNG) and for producing ammonia or methanol. Syngas is also used as intermediate in producing synthetic petroleum for use as a fuel or lubricant via the Fischer–Tropsch process and previously the Mobil methanol to gasoline process. Syngas is combustible and often used as a fuel of internal combustion engines. It has less than half the energy density of natural gas.

Production methods include steam reforming of natural gas or liquid hydrocarbons to produce hydrogen, the gasification of coal, biomass, and in some types of waste-to-energy gasification facilities.


 

 

Where the fuel to the gasifier is of recent biological origin, such as wood or organic waste, the gas produced by the gasifier is considered to be a renewable fuel and the power produced by its combustion is renewable. When the fuel to the gasifier is a waste stream, its conversion to power in this manner has the combined benefit of the conversion of this waste into useful products.

 

Composition

 

The composition of the synthesis gas depends upon the specific chemical composition of the feedstock to the gasifier. A typical composition of syngas ranges as below:

  • Hydrogen (H2) 20 – 40 %

  • Carbon monoxide (CO) 35 – 40 %

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) 25 – 35 %

  • Methane (CH4) 0 – 15 %

  • Nitrogen (N2) 2 – 5 %

 

CHP systems utilizing Syngas

 

Genelco offers GE Jenbacher gas engines that utilize synthesis gas to generate combined heat and electricity with high efficiency. Some synthetic gases have a high carbon monoxide content, which has a low combustion speed and is very harmful. GE has developed the specific gas engine combustion system that enables burning of the gas efficiently and reliably.

Syngas can be used to create electrical power, hot water and steam. The generated electricity by the GE gas engine gensets can either cover the on-site loads or sold to the public grid. The hot water and exhaust gases from the engines are fed into boilers. The resulting steam can be used within other localized industrial processes. The use of syngas in GE Jenbacher gas engines can achieve electrical efficiencies of over 37%.

 

Advantages of CHP systems utilizing Syngas

 

  • The electric power and the heat produced are renewable energy.

  • Low cost, on-site power production that covers all or part of the loads of the facility.

  • Reduced carbon emissions in the environment.

  • Useful fuel derived from problematic wastes.

  • Independent, high efficient power supply on-site.

  • Lower energy costs. Higher profitability.

  • Flexibility of installation with output ranges of a few hundred kW up to 20 MW.

  • Higher efficiency compared to other power generation systems.

  • No high gas pressure required.

  • High efficiency combustion engines that offer environmental benefits.

  • Economic combined production of electricity and heat.