Hanwha E&C uses gasification technology to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide

[Courtesy of KIER]

SEOUL – Hanwha E&C, a builder affiliated with South Korea’s Hanwha Group, will produce high value-added chemical feedstocks such as hydrogen and carbon monoxide using gasification technology transferred from a public research organization.

Gasification converts organic or fossil carbonaceous materials at high temperature, with a controlled amount of oxygen or steam, into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The resulting gas mixture is called syngas or product gas used as a source of hydrogen in fuel cells.

Based on a gasification technology using hydrocarbon feedstocks, a research team from Korea Energy Research Institute (KIER) produced syngas with a ratio of hydrogen and of carbon monoxide of more than 90% from waste plastic pyrolysis oil, the use of which is limited. .

With waste plastic pyrolysis oil, the gasification process can produce a wide range of high-value derivatives ranging from basic specialty chemicals to power generation fuel. “Through the transfer of waste plastic pyrolysis oil gasification technology, we have secured low-carbon hydrogen generation technology,” said Hanwha plant manager Ra Il-suk. E&C, in a statement on August 24.

“This technology transfer commercializes our gasification process design and operating technology developed with our own technology. It is expected to greatly contribute to building a resource circulation economy for carbon neutrality by transforming waste plastics into high value-added products,” said KIER researcher Ra Hol-won.

Ra’s team incompletely combusted spent plastic pyrolysis oil with limited oxygen vapor in a high-temperature, high-pressure gasifier to produce a syngas composed primarily of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Hydrogen was produced by refining, conversion and separation.

Pyrolysis is a time-consuming process that uses extreme heat and pressure to break down long-chain hydrocarbon plastic waste into shorter-chain hydrocarbons that can be reused in the petrochemical industry as raw materials, including high quality oil. Recycled oil is transformed into medium and light crude oil for use in the production of lubricants and fuels.

Pyrolytic recycling is being researched extensively in South Korea to address concerns about plastic waste. The Ministry of Environment has formed a working group involving research institutes, private companies and academics to popularize pyrolysis recycling.

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