The Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) gasification process is a promising candidate for both MSW disposal and syngas production. The MSW gasification process has been characterized thermo-gravimetrically under various experimental atmospheres in order to understand syngas production and char burnout. This preliminary data shows that with any concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the residual char is reduced about 20% of the original mass (in an inert atmosphere) to about 5%, corresponding to a significant amount of carbon monoxide production (0.7% of CO was produced from a 20mg sample with 100ml/min of purge gas at 825°C). Two main steps of thermal degradation have been observed. The first thermal degradation step occurs at temperatures between 280∼350°C and consists mainly of the decomposition of the biomass component into light C1–3-hydrocarbons. The second thermal degradation step occurs between 380∼450°C and is mainly attributed to polymer components, such as plastics and rubber, in MSW. The polymer component in MSW gave off significant amount of benzene derivatives such as styrene. In order to identify the optimal operating regime for MSW gasification, a series of tests covering a range of temperatures (280∼700°C), pressures (30∼45 Bar), and atmospheres (100% N2, 0∼20%CO2+Bal. N2 with/without steam) have been done and the results are presented here.

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