Plasma Gasification Process Modeling for Solid Waste Treatment and Energy Recovery

  • Arnar Snaer Valmundsson

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Alternative solid waste disposal methods are needed in response to rapidly diminishing landfill space worldwide. Recent studies have shown that plasma gasification is becoming an economically viable and effective method for not only solid waste treatment, but also energy recovery. Through the plasma gasification process, the organic fraction of solid feedstock is converted into high calorific value syngas that can be used as fuel or for chemical processing. The inorganic fraction is vitrified into a non-leachable slag that can be safely disposed of, recycled, or reused as construction material. In this study, a plasma gasification process is simulated based on a developed chemical equilibrium model using the thermochemical software Aspen Plus. The model incorporates the type of feedstock (i.e. solid waste) used in the process combined with the plasma energy input and evaluates the expected output syngas composition using a Gibbs free energy minimization approach. The developed model is used to simulate plasma gasification of three different types of feedstock i.e. industrial waste (shredded tires), construction waste (plywood), and baseline bituminous coal, and evaluate their process metrics. The potential of electricity generation from the syngas is also assessed via an integrated plasma gasification combined cycle (IPGCC) power plant model. The energy balance and efficiency are assessed and compared for the different feedstock. Plasma gasification of waste tire material resulted in an overall energy efficiency of 27.1%, while the efficiency for coal and plywood was lower at 20.2% and 18.0%, respectively.
Date of Award2011
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorIsam Janajreh (Supervisor)


  • Renewable Energy Sources
  • Waste Products As Fuel
  • Waste Minimization

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