LGE’s technology portfolio includes Gasplasma®, an efficient and relatively low cost process for converting a wide range of organic waste into clean, energy-rich synthetic gas; and SOLIDpower solid-oxide fuel cells, a second generation solid oxide fuel cell technology that converts both natural and synthetic gas into heat and electricity efficiently and at relatively low cost.
Gasplasma® is a patented two-step process that gasifies carbon rich municipal, institutional, commercial, industrial and hazardous waste in a closed, emission-free process, and then transforms and cleans the resultant raw synthetic gas by cycling it though a plasma-torch conversion chamber. The process is:
- Efficient – It converts roughly 85% of the chemical energy of the input mass into syngas. When the syngas is used for power generation, the Gasplasma® process consumes roughly 25% of the syngas energy, leaving 75% of the output as salable power.
- Compact – It fits within a standard industrial warehouse.
- Extremely clean – All of the complex organic compounds in the waste are first gasified in a reduced oxygen environment and then further cracked by the extreme temperatures and intense exposure to ultraviolet light produced by the plasma torch. The syngas production process produces no fly or bottom ash, and the mass fraction not converted to syngas is transformed into a vitrified, non-leaching aggregate.
- Competitive – It runs at a competitive cost with competing mass burn incineration technologies, with a substantial increase in efficiency of output.
Gasplasma® has a negative carbon footprint, saving between 50-500kg of CO2 per ton of standard waste processed, or even greater when processing industrial wastes such as oils and highly-concentrated complex hydrocarbons.
LGE Portfolio Company: Advanced Plasma Power
The Gasplasma® process and its substantial portfolio of patents are owned by Advanced Plasma Power Ltd (APP). It is a two-step process in which organic waste is first gasified by heating it in a low oxygen environment so that burning does not take place and the calorific content of the waste is preserved. As a second step, the dirty syngas is then cleaned by a plasma torch, which cracks the complex organic compounds into their constituent parts resulting in a clean synthetic gas with even higher calorific content. This two-step process is a patented combination of already well-established gasification and plasma treatment technologies. APP operates a Gasplasma® demonstration and testing plant in Swindon, England, that has validated the success and efficiency of the patented combination with a wide range of organic waste. Read more about APP here.
Second Generation Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Second generation solid-oxide fuel cells represent a significant technological advance in solid-oxide fuel cell technology, using readily available, low-cost components and coatings, running substantially cooler (700°C) than their competitive set, and being extremely efficient in converting chemical energy of the fuel into salable heat and electric power. They work by feeding atmospheric air onto a specialized membrane, which allows only the oxygen in the air to pass through into a chamber filled with one of a wide variety of gas fuels, including syngas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen). The resulting spontaneous reaction transforms the syngas (CO and H2) into CO2 and H2O (water and carbon dioxide) and releases a substantial quantity of electrical energy and heat. The conversion ratio is extremely efficient, with roughly 50% of the syngas energy transformed into electricity and 40% into heat that can be used for industrial heating and cooling.
Second generation solid oxide fuel cells have the following competitive advantages over traditional hydrogen-based and more contemporary solid-oxide based fuel cells:
- Cooler: These fuel cells run at a lower operating temperature — 700°C versus 900-1000°C for first-generation solid-oxide fuel cells. This lower operating temperature substantially improves service life and substantially reduces lifecycle cost of ownership.
- Cheaper: These fuel cells are made with simpler and less-exotic materials than first-generation solid-oxide fuel cells without the extensive use of rare-earth and noble metals – which further reduces lifecycle cost of ownership when compared to their competitive set.
- Versatile: These fuel cells can use syngas directly – in hydrogen-based fuel cells, the CO in the syngas is a poison to the platinum catalysts – in SOLIDpower fuel cells, the CO is a fuel.
LGE Portfolio Company: SOLIDpower
SOLIDpower S.p.A. (SOLIDpower) has developed and commercialized a second generation solid-oxide fuel cell technology which represents a substantial leap forward in efficiency, cost reduction, and life-span. These advances should enable the fuel cell to be commercially viable without government subsidies. SOLIDpower was recently selected by one of the largest global providers of software and data services to partner in up-scaling the technology to megawatt-size for use in data centers. Read more about SOLIDpower here.