Proceedings of CUChE Alumni Symposium 2022
On Circular Economy on Sustainable Basis: The Role of Chemical Engineers
CUChEAA ISBN: 978-81-954649-1-3
December 2022 P a g e | 19 Volume 2, Issue 1
Air Plasma Gasification Technology in Pursuit of Clean Environment
S. Bhandari
1, *
, N. Tiwari
, Y Chakravarthy
, VC Misra
, S. Ghorui
1, *
L&PTD, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai-400085
Authors for correspondence, e-mail:,
Rapid industrialization, urbanization and modern life style make solid waste management as one of the most challenging
issues in both developed as well as developing countries. Air plasma gasification is a state-of-the-art technology for the
treatment of all types of solid wastes including municipal, industrial, medical, electronic and radioactive waste. Owing to
the presence of electrons, ions, radicals and highly concentrated thermal energy air plasma technology offers superior
thermo-chemical environment for solid waste gasification. BARC developed a coke bed-based air plasma gasifier facility
with the processing capacity of 5 TPD. The experimental observations and operational experiences of the air plasma
gasification facility involving plasma gasifier, secondary combustion chamber, venturi scrubber, packed bed scrubber have
been presented in this paper. Processing capacity as high as 99 % has been achieved for a wide range of solid waste
including MSW, RDF, PVC, cotton waste and used ion exchange resin. Good quality syn gas was produced using air
plasma gasification technology. It was successfully demonstrated that coke-based air plasma gasification is one of the most
efficient and environmentally friendly technology for management of solid waste treatment.
Keywords: Plasma gasification, Solid waste management, Decarbonization
1. Introduction
Increasing population, consumerism and fast economic
development massively enhance the quantity of solid
waste and lead to rapid depletion of natural energy
resources [1]. Consequently, it enhances the need for
sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and environmentally
compatible technology for waste management. While
several technologies are available for treatment of solid
waste including land fill method, incineration and
gasification, among all these land filling is the oldest and
most commonly used waste disposal process. However,
there are two serious drawback of landfill technology.
On one hand hazardous chemicals can leach out and
contaminate the ground water on other hand it releases
harmful gases like methane into the atmosphere.
Incineration is another widely practiced waste disposal
technology. In incineration process solid waste are
burned in presence of excess air to form carbon di-oxide
and water vapor. However, there are few severe
shortcomings of conventional incineration technology as
well. Owing to low process temperature gas emissions
from incinerator involve high level of air pollutant (NO
SOx, HCl) and carcinogenic compounds such as dioxins
and furan. Moreover, 30-40% of feed waste remains as
bottom ash which is categorized as hazardous solid
waste and necessitates further care and treatment. Public
concerns and stringent emission regulations have
resulted in enormous thrust in research and development
of new innovative waste treatment facility [2].
Gasification technology has been practiced worldwide
for more than 150 years. Before the invention of
electricity coal was used to produce town gas by coal
gasification process. Solid waste disposal by
conventional gasification has received great attention as
attractive alternative technology in past few years. The
primary prerequisite of thermal processing of solid waste
in an environmentally friendly manner is the
‘availability of high temperature’. Higher is the
temperature greater is the conversion of waste into
synthesis gas and lower is the hazardous emission. Over
the years it has been established that arc plasma jet, a
beam of highly concentrated beam of thermal energy can
meet the high temperature requirement of thermal
processing in convenient manner. Plasma gasification
has been proven to be one of the most innovative and
proficient technology for the treatment of waste in
efficient and environmentally compatible manner.
Compared with conventional gasification technology
plasma gasification offers following unique advantages.
i. Highly concentrated energy of plasma and presence of
ions, atoms and exited species provide better thermo
chemical environment for gasification compared to
conventional method. Presences of plasma greatly
enhance the kinetics and make the reaction very fast.
Large quantity of waste can be processed in smaller
reactor volume and in shorter time [3,4].
ii. Plasma gasification technology does not use any
fossils fuel and less amount air compared to
conventional process and therefore it does not release