By John Watson and Kenneth Jones, Merichem
In the past decade, Japan's rapidly dwindling landfill capacity encouraged development of projects aimed at the gasification of municipal and industrial solid waste. The push to reduce dependence on traditional solid waste disposal methods combined with the continuing search for clean, flexible alternative fuel and chemical feedstock sources justified a renewed focus on gasification of solid waste by a variety of industries and municipalities. Gasification not only greatly reduces the space required for solid waste disposal but also eliminates many of the environmental issues associated with mounds of decomposing waste. The syngas generated in the process is used for power production or as feedstock for a range of chemical processes.