The gasification short course, held September 9–10, 2009, was designed to provide
technical personnel a broad understanding of gasification technologies and issues, thus
mitigating the real or perceived risk associated with the technology. The course was
held at the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) in Grand Forks, ND.
Major utilities, independent power producers, petroleum, and chemical companies are
intent on developing a fleet of gasification plants primarily because of high natural
gas prices, the availability and cost of coal or other solid hydrocarbons, and the
implementation of state and potential federal carbon standards. Currently, many projects
are being proposed to utilize gasification technologies to produce a synthesis gas or
fuel gas stream for the production of hydrogen, liquid fuels, chemicals, and
electricity. Financing these projects is challenging because of the complexity,
diverse nature of gasification technologies, and the risk associated with certain
applications of the technology.
The diverse nature of gasification processes, depending on the feedstocks, products
produced, and environmental goals, will be overviewed. This course will also include
an overview of the gasification process and potential products, including electric
power, hydrogen, liquid fuels, gaseous fuels, chemicals, fertilizers, carbon dioxide,
and other materials. The production of hydrogen will be a key factor in our future
energy portfolio. Producing pure hydrogen gas with a low impact on the environment
is extremely important to the hydrogen economy. One of the most promising technologies
for hydrogen production is coal gasification, initially, and maybe in the longer term. Coal
can be a cornerstone for the diverse hydrogen supply mix, with integration of hydrogen
production into coproduction of power and synthetic fuels. The United States has more
than one-quarter of the world’s coal reserves, with a supply that will last over 250
years at current mining rates.
Hydrogen production is not new, about 9 million tons of hydrogen is produced annually
in the United States, mostly for fertilizers and hydrocracking petroleum. About 12%
more coal would need to be mined and converted to hydrogen to serve only one-third
of the entire transportation demand.
This course was attended by technical personnel who were interested in gaining a
broad understanding of gasification technologies and issues. It was of interest and
- Technical personnel who are, or will be, involved with evaluating gasification projects,
developing novel processes, or planning technology.
- Industrial personnel interested in power generation, petroleum refining, ammonia
or methanol production, chemical intermediates using syngas, or production of
clean transportation fuels.
- Personnel involved with disposing of municipal solid wastes, residues from
petroleum refining or coal beneficiation, and other chemical and biological wastes.
- Business decision makers who require sufficient information to make economic and
- All who want to become part of this growing industry.