Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Syngas (from synthesis gas) is the name given to gasses of varying composition that are generated in coal gasification and some types of waste-to-energy facilities. The name comes from their use in creating synthetic petroleum for use as a fuel or lubricant via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.
Syngas consists primarily of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, and has less than half the energy density of natural gas. It also contains some sulfur compounds, a safety feature since this allows for its detection in the case of leakage. Syngas can be produced from natural gas as follows:
These gasses are combustible, and are often stored to be burned as a fuel source.
For the most part, the amount of synthetic gas produced in a waste to energy facility is only enough to keep the plant operating.
Coal gasification processes (e.g., the water gas process) are reasonably efficient and were used for many years to manufacture illuminating gas (coal gas) for gas lighting, before electric lighting became widely available.
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