This project represents a first step to the realization of a fully green bio-refinery for the production of environmentally friendly chemicals from organic matters.

The specific objectives are the following in decreasing order of importance:

  • to transform sewage sludge into a synthesis gas (syngas) with a composition that is suitable for the production of added value chemicals using oxy-cogasification with virgin chipped biomass. In this way we wish to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of an environmentally friendly end use of the sewage sludge in substitution of the current end-use. Syngas which is mainly composed by elemental chemical compounds (CO, H2, CO2, CH4 and H2O) can be used into the synthesis of various chemicals like synthetic natural gas (SNG), hydrogen, methanol, hydrocarbons (via Fischer-Tropsch reaction). Thanks to the cleaning system that will be used in the plant, the syngas will be completely purified removing tars and pollutants.

  • to demonstrate (up to TRL 7) the operability and reliability of the sewage sludge oxy-gasification plant for chemicals production with safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and profitable approach. In particular, the stability of the operative conditions, the durability of the equipment materials, the high energy performances and the low pollutant emissions shall be demonstrated. These objectives can be considered actually achieved if (i) a target of 2000 h of operation with at least 700 h without stoppages is obtained, (ii) the cold gas efficiency of the gasification is higher than 75%, (iii) the carbon content of the ash is lower than 8%, (iv) the emission limits of an equivalent fully biomass fired thermal power plant are respected. In accordance with these targets, at least 120 t of sewage sludge will be transformed into added value syngas during the project.

  • to obtain the right setting of the process parameters of the oxy-gasification plant in function of possible variable compositions of the sewage sludge and biomass. So, the reliable operative flexibility of the oxy-gasification plant with respect to the variable characteristics of the materials which are fed to the plant shall be demonstrated. The aim is to reach at least 30% (by mass with biomass) of sewage sludge on the overall mixture.