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Techno-economic assessment of turning gasification-based waste char into energy: A case study in South-Tyrol.

  • Piazzi, Stefano1
  • Zhang, Xiaolei2
  • Patuzzi, Francesco3
  • Baratieri, Marco3
  • 1 Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bolzano, piazza Università 5, Bolzano 39100, Italy. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Italy)
  • 2 Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Strathclyde, James Weir Building JW405g, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow G1 1XJ, UK.
  • 3 Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bolzano, piazza Università 5, Bolzano 39100, Italy. , (Italy)
Published Article
Waste management (New York, N.Y.)
Publication Date
Mar 05, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2020.02.038
PMID: 32146416


In the South-Tyrol region (Italy), 46 gasifiers are currently operating and €200,000 are annually paid to dispose of as a waste 1300 tons of char. Therefore, there is a considerable interest in finding alternatives for the valorization of this solid by-product. The aim of this work is to assess the potential of char as energy source and to compare two scenarios. The first scenario considers the possibility of exploiting char in a dedicated burner integrated in the gasification plant. The second scenario assumes that all the char is collected from South-Tyrol and co-fired with biomass in an existing combustion-ORC plant. An economic analysis was performed evaluating the discounted payback time and both scenarios were modeled using Aspen Plus®. The results reveal that substantial savings in the operating costs of the plants can be achieved. In the first scenario the owners of the gasification plants could save from 50% to 94% of the char disposal costs with a payback time ranging between 3 and 7 years. In the second scenario, the owner of the plant could save approximately €235 k per year with a payback time of approximately 7 years. The present study provides a basis for further techno-economic studies on char combustion. The results can be helpful for the owners of the gasification plants in determining the most cost-effective way to dispose char and to avoid disposing it of as a waste. Furthermore, it is demonstrated how char could be used as a renewable fuel, with better performance than raw biomass. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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