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Gasifier technology offers economic and environmental benefits

Reducing carbon in the atmosphere and processing waste into valuable biofuel is now profitable with the Inclined Rotary Gasifier (IRG) technology developed at SUNY Cobleskill.

The initial research for the IRG was funded by a joint Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense program to build and demonstrate a fully automated, portable rotary gasifier waste-to-energy system at a domestic military base.

A key advantage is that it is mobile and can be easily deployed to the site of the waste/biomass, saving the expense of transporting and paying tipping fees at a landfill. The waste material can be wet and requires very minimal preparation, further reducing processing costs. In fact, the system is so flexible that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is adding a mobile woody biomass conversion unit to its wildfire prevention arsenal to process waste woody material in their forests.

The economics of the IRG technology can be extremely attractive. Organizations generally pay transportation and tipping fees to dispose of their waste. Now they can save money on waste disposal and turn their waste into valuable products such as biofuel and a carbon material called biochar.

Greenhouse gases, such as CO2 and methane are released when waste decays and rots. The IRG bakes the waste to 1500 degrees and changes the carbon structure in the waste to fuel and a material called biochar. This biochar is like graphite, in that it does not decay. The result is that carbon is sequestered from the atmosphere, earning carbon credits, which in an additional revenue source. 

Caribou Biofuels, Inc, is commercializing the IRG with the State University of New York in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The initial deployment opportunities are to manage waste streams from for college campuses, water treatment facilities, farms, and forests.

Tags Tags: SUNY Cobleskill , Research

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