Modelling of syngas production from municipal solid waste (MSW) for methanol synthesis

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Approximately 1 300 Gt of municipal solid waste (MSW) are produced worldwide every year. Most of it is disposed of in landfills, which is very hazardous for the environment. Up to 10 % of produced MSW are incinerated. However, incineration is not very effective and requires specific conditions for preventing emissions. Gasification and pyrolysis are more effective processes which can be used not only for heat and electricity generation but also for fuel and valuable chemicals production. MSW can be transformed into refuse-derived fuel (RDF) which has higher heat of combustion. Synthesis gas produced by RDF gasification can be utilised in methanol production. Methanol is a very lucrative chemical which can be used as renewable liquid fuel or as a reagent in organic syntheses. Gasifier design and process optimisation can be done using a reliable mathematical model. A good model can significantly decrease the number of experiments necessary for the gasification process design. In this work, equilibrium model for RDF gasification was designed in Aspen Plus environment and the flow of oxygen and steam as gasification agents were optimised to achieve the highest theoretical methanol yield. Impact of the recycle of unreacted steam and produced tar on the methanol yield was evaluated. The highest theoretical methanol yield (0.629 kgMEOH/kgRDF) was achieved when the steam and tar recycle were switched on, the ratio between oxygen and RDF feed was 0.423 kg/kg and that between the steam and RDF feed was 0.606 kg/kg. In this case, fresh steam represented only 12 % of the total steam fed to the reactor, the rest consisted of recycled steam. Optimal gasifier temperature was 900 °C.

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Acta Chimica Slovaca

The Journal of Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava

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