Advanced Gasifier history

Pivotal's IRM process analyzes waste resources and aligns technologies to maximize resource recovery, using an advanced Triple Bottom Line business case to assess viability.  While IRM is thus not reliant on any specific technologies, some are superior and add significant value. 

One of the better technologies is the Advanced Gasifier, a steam-based gasification system which Pivotal has licensed to make it available to clients.  Developed in Europe since the late 1990's, this system has multiple plants operating successfully since 2002.  Pivotal staff helped negotiate contracts for the California plant with our partners West Biofuels: the plant is designed to allow North American clients to test different feedstocks and thus confirm operations and reduce risk before proceeding.  With the correct structure the systems can be guaranteed and can handle both liquid and solid wastes.

There are two types of Advanced Gasifier: the fluidized bed system - which is better suited to efficient biofuel production; and the Circle Draft system - which is better suited to a wider variety of feedstocks and is more adaptable and viable for remote or distributed applications.  Both systems are scalable to handle a wide range of community, commercial or industrial scales.

Advanced Gasifiers are more efficient than alternatives; have lower emissions (roughly the same as natural gas, but minimal fossil carbon impact); avoid toxins common to incinerators and incineration-style (up/downdraft) gasifiers; and can be adapted to handle both municipal solid waste, sewage sludge and biosolids, not just agricultural waste, wood waste etc.  This is outlined in the brochure, with further detail available on request.

The Advanced Gasifier's smallest commercial standard plant size is only +/-2.4m square at the base (about 8'), is 10-12m high (up to 36' tall) and is virtually noiseless, odourless and with emisisons similar to high efficiency natural gas systems.  Its ability to handle flexible feedstocks, small size and seamless operation makes it ideal for neighbourhood locations or small communities, but the key advantage is financial, which is best illustrated by example:


A community planned to pump an average 598 wet tonnes per day of slurried biosolids approximately 20km to an energy centre comprising an anaerobic digester, dryers and an incinerator for a budget of $349m.  The equivalent IRM approach using an Advanced Gasifier is estimated at under $100m, replacing the 20km pipe with approximately 7 truckloads per day (likely using electric trucks) from distributed treatment plants to sub-regional Advanced Gasification units.

In addition to the +/-$250m capital cost savings, other benefits were also identified.  Analysing this using the community's method suggests total potential 30-year life cycle savings from implementing an Advanced Gasification approach could exceed $1.5bn, compared to an anaerobic digestion approach.  Resource recovery would also be higher, with considerably greater potential GHG reduction.

The community thus reviewed the technology and approach using multiple technical experts.  The original proposed project is now on hold and an IRM committee has been struck to investigate the potential to implement IRM.  For further information read the brochure, see photographs of the California plant, or contact Pivotal.


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Pivotal IRM Inc., 2016