EBA Whitepaper - Gasification : a sustainable technology for circular economies

Gasification is a highly promising and already commercialised technology ready to scale-up. The market for gasification of fossil, biomass and waste resources was valued $479bn in 2019 and is projected to reach $901bn by 2028. Its success and ability to scale to become the waste-to-energy/fuel method of choice depends on the levels and type of political, policy, economic and commercial support. This support will allow for higher cost reductions and raise awareness of its strong potential to accelerate the EU’s net-zero responsibilities for waste, energy, and fuel markets.

Long-term solutions are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, limit global temperatures and create more circular, sustainable economies. Gasification of biomass and wastes into syngas and biochar through to its applications in forms of energy, can have a real impact on these three goals, by both reducing the amount of waste in Europe and generating renewable energy.

Gasification is a process capable of converting waste products (biomass, agricultural and industrial waste, and plastics) into a gas fuel called syngas, which then can be applied to generate renewable electricity and heat, advanced biofuels, and hydrogen.

Gasification can support the realisation of the circular economy. It has the potential to turn waste, which is often lacking better disposal methods, into value and profitable revenue streams. This if beneficial for forest wood owners and producers and for investors. It brings also a new range of opportunities for collectors and producers of other waste types, including biomass, municipal and non-hazardous industrial and commercial waste.

Gasification can also contribute to reducing carbon emissions as part of the net-zero roadmap. Indeed, gasification plants have the potential to produce not only renewable energy, but also carbon-rich materials that can serve as stable carbon sinks. Gasification technologies offer the opportunity of being low carbon, neutral or even negative carbon emissions.

Bioenergy and advanced biofuels produced through gasification will end up playing a valuable role in an integrated European sustainable energy system. All over Europe, companies and communities are committed to develop the sector, which needs concrete public and political support policies to demonstrate confidence as well as further widen and scale up in its current commercial phase.

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