Microwave plasma gasification for enhanced oil recovery and sustainable waste management

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This paper presents qualitative evidence to support the application of microwave induced plasma gasification (MIPG) technology for converting municipal solid wastes (MSW) to syngas and to use it for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The target for the case study of this paper is the United Arab Emirates, which is a major producer and exporter of petroleum. The main EOR method employed by the UAE's oil companies is the miscible gas flooding method, whereby natural gas or carbon dioxide is injected into the oil reservoirs to boost the oil pressure, reduce the viscosity of the oil and to increase the pumping rates. UAE purchases natural gas for power production and EOR from its neighbor, Qatar, which makes the UAE a net importer of natural gas and a major consumer of energy, while reducing the national income from the oil sales. The UAE is looking at ways to boost its oil production and to reduce the usage of natural gas, including the injection of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and steam generated by concentrated solar power. UAE and the other Arabian Gulf nations have some of the highest per capita rates of production of domestic waste. Landfilling is the prevalent form of waste disposal for industrial, commercial and residential waste. Incineration-type waste-to-energy power plants are being constructed, but they are not the most effective solution due to cost and environmental reasons. This paper proposes a solution that covers the two problems with one technology, namely MIPG of MSW. MIPG is shown to be the most efficient method of gasification available, as it uses much less energy for producing and sustaining the plasma than other techniques, and produces a much cleaner syngas than thermochemical gasification schemes. The syngas can be used for electricity generation or for making fuels and raw materials in the Fischer-Tropsch or similar processes. In this proposal, MIPG will be used to turn MSW, sewage sludge and biomass wastes into syngas. A part of the syngas will be used to produce electricity to power the petroleum extraction processes, while the carbon dioxide formed in this combustion of syngas can be captured and used for EOR in deep oil wells, which also functions as a form of sequestration of carbon. In addition, syngas can be turned into methane and synthetic natural gas using the Fischer-Tropsch or Sabatier process and then pumped into the oil wells. Some of the petroleum extracted can also be gasified using the MIPG method for the production of synthetic natural gas. Thus, the dependence on natural gas imports will be eliminated, while also achieving zero landfill targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiofuels, Hydrogen, Syngas, and Alternate Fuels; CHP and Hybrid Power and Energy Systems; Concentrating Solar Power; Energy Storage; Environmental, Economic, and Policy Considerations of Advanced Energy Systems; Geothermal, Ocean, and Emerging Energy Technologies; Photovoltaics; Posters; Solar Chemistry; Sustainable Building Energy Systems; Sustainable Infrastructure and Transportation; Thermodynamic Analysis of Energy Systems; Wind Energy Systems and Technologies
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)9780791850220
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016
EventASME 2016 10th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, ES 2016, collocated with the ASME 2016 Power Conference and the ASME 2016 14th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology - Charlotte, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 30 2016

Publication series

NameASME 2016 10th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, ES 2016, collocated with the ASME 2016 Power Conference and the ASME 2016 14th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
Volume1

Other

OtherASME 2016 10th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, ES 2016, collocated with the ASME 2016 Power Conference and the ASME 2016 14th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
CountryUnited States
CityCharlotte
Period6/26/166/30/16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fuel Technology

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