MARCH 2008

Southern Research Institute commissions landfill power conversion system

Southern Research Institute’s Carbon-to-Liquids (C2L) Development Center plans to commission its first advanced energy conversion technology – a system that will convert municipal solid waste from landfills into clean synthesis gas.

Once produced, the gas can be converted into clean transportation fuels like ethanol, Fischer Tropsch (FT) diesel or into chemical feedstocks and electricity.

Engineers at the C2L Center recently designed the core reactor and are assembling a pilot-scale version of the reactor at the C2L Center in Durham, North Carolina. Commissioning of the unit is planned to begin in May of this year.

The pilot plant will process roughly five tons of municipal solid waste per day. After performance testing is completed the scale-up potential will be assessed and optimization equipment will be added. According to C2L, the system could scale up well for commercial landfill operations, which could conceivably be in the range of 100 to 1,000 tons per day.

The pilot plant at the C2L Center will use a unique thermochemical process designed for converting municipal solid waste. Once the pilot system is proven and optimized, work will begin on integrating processes for converting the syngas into end products.