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Global Markets for Gasifiers

Global Markets for Gasifiers

  • November 2016
  • 276 pages
  • ID: 1161272
  • Format: PDF
  • BCC Research


Table of Contents

This BCC Research report characterizes and quantifies the world markets for gasifiers in terms of gasifier technologies, unit counts, regional markets, feedstocks and end product applications. Forecast provided through 2021.

Use this report to:
- Analyze market dynamics and evaluate the effect of strategic factors such as technology-driven change and industry consolidation of gasifiers.
- Review the technologies involved, the major manufacturers of gasifiers and improvement in technological advances resulting the efficiency of gasifiers in the application segments.
- Understand the three major aspects that drive the gasifier markets-energy, economics and policy-for each application segment and each geographical market.
- Discuss the major stakeholders in each of the regional markets and explain the global drivers, current trends, challenges and regional dynamics of the market.

- The global market for new gasifiers is expected to reach 1088 units by 2021 from 887 units in 2016, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.0% from 2015 through 2021.
- The biomass to energy (BTE) application market is the largest market of new gasifiers. The market is expected to grow from 653 units in 2016 to 804 units in 2021 at a CAGR of 5.0% for the period 2015-2021.
- The global market for plasma applications of new gasifiers is expected to grow from 16 units in 2016 to 24 units in 2021, a CAGR of 7.0% for the period 2015-2021.

Gasification is a technology by which thermal breakdown is accomplished in a controlled, oxygen-starved atmosphere. The final products are gases, which can further be cleaned and then burned to produce energy, thus controlling and reducing toxic by-products while improving the efficiency of energy capture.

The process is more efficient than direct incineration and produces significantly lower emissions and waste, and the syngas can be shaped into products for power production, the chemical industry, liquid fuels or heat.

The source of energy is obtained from a wide range of materials, including the following:
- Coal.
- Pet coke.
- Biomass.
- Municipal and other industrial wastes.
- Medical waste.
- Toxic materials, except radioactive materials.
The only other main input into the system other than the energy source is air, or more typically, oxygen.
The technology’s ability to break down toxic materials (other than radioactive materials) has extended its application to the safe disposal of various wastes, including medical and toxic wastes that cannot be otherwise treated or disposed in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. One example is the safe disposal of asbestos.

The gasifier is the central reactor in the gasification process. Numerous approaches to the design of vertical and horizontal gasifiers have been developed over the years. Feeding can be done from the top or bottom of the gasifier, and system designs have improved for application requirements and capacity.

The output from gasifiers-typically syngas-a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, can further be burned to create thermal and then electrical energy, or converted to various chemical products with higher value and energy content. The use of the gasification method in the manufacture of chemicals is now standard practice. The gasifier is coupled with numerous other reactors and transfer systems to achieve the final desired outcome, and thus the entire gasification plant is typically a large and complex industrial structure, with the complexity depending on the design and the capacity handled by the unit.

In terms of energy generation, gasifier units can support capacities up to 500 MW. This wide capacity range makes the technology suitable for numerous applications in various geographical locations, depending on the availability of the input raw material and the location of the end user of the products from the unit. This capacity also supports a wide customer base, ranging from individual private companies that want to generate thermal power for treatment units to governments that want to improve the energy infrastructure of their countries. Several countries are now working toward energy independence, and gasifier technologies are playing a major role in these initiatives.

The number of companies producing gasifiers increases in inverse proportion to the output capacity of the gasifier product. Output, usually expressed in megawatt-thermal or kilowatt-thermal units, can range from hundreds of watts to hundreds of megawatts.
As a result, the market has a wide range of participants (manufacturers)-the smaller ones active on a regional scale or only in specific countries and market segments, and the larger ones active internationally and in all geographic segments of the marketplace.
Only a few companies are capable of supplying and servicing gasifiers with utility-scale output capabilities of hundreds of megawatts-thermal. Well over 100 companies manufacture gasifiers with outputs in the tens of megawatts-thermal. The smallest gasifiers, for individual or small commercial use, are produced by a large number of manufacturers throughout the world.

The major drivers of the gasifier markets are the energy markets, economics of operations (which includes efficiency) and policies put in place by governments and organizations.

The power generation and energy markets are huge worldwide. With a growing global population and the increase in per capita energy consumption, global energy demand is expected to grow substantially in the coming decades. The energy markets greatly influence the gasifier markets, and this has been a significant factor, especially in the last few years. The oil glut and the drastic drop in oil prices have placed energy market participants in unforeseen situations and scenarios.

Originally driven by the explosive growth in natural gas and shale gas generation, oil producers ramped up production, causing oil prices to crash. This has driven down the prices of all related products, and the gasifier market is no exception. This report provides an in-depth analysis of the energy markets in various countries, providing a framework for understanding how the changes in these markets are impacting the gasifier markets.

Gasifiers can produce numerous end products, including a range of different types of chemicals and energy (heat or electricity). Pricing of these end products vary substantially from one country to another and from one geographical region to another. Clearly, the drop in the price of raw material input is helpful, but the related drop in the pricing of the final product pricing can wreak havoc on the gasifier markets.

An in-depth analysis of product pricing is provided in this report. Gasifier technology is well established now, and gasifier manufacturers, especially those that manufacture small- and medium-scale gasifiers claim a payback period as low as one year on some of their products. The payback period for large companies often takes decades, as can be expected.
Financing of gasifiers is another important market driver, especially at the high end of the capacity range. Prices of units can be in the billion-dollar range, and long-term financial planning is necessary for these investments. Financing of gasification systems varies within the municipal, utility, industrial and gas and oil sectors, and among low-income economies. The details are covered in this report.

The impact of regional and national policies on the gasifier markets are the least understood and least predictable aspect. This report attempts to cover this aspect in detail. Energy policies in individual countries can drive the market for a decade or longer. Global environmental agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol, also drive the international gasifier markets. Reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) is a major area of focus globally, and generating clean power from coal is one of the markets where gasifiers are widely used on a large scale.

Policies related to other technologies, such as wind or solar, often affect the gasifier markets, as each country has a limited capacity and workforce to invest in all technologies. In the case of biomass gasifiers, the viewpoints provided should also be useful for policymakers, as the implications of specific policies are presented and discussed in this report. The waste-to-energy market is another application segment that is primarily driven by local government policies. The technological and environmental benefits of gasifiers are discussed. Government initiatives often drive the growth of market segments and technologies in individual geographies, and these influences are detailed where possible.

This report was written to characterize and quantify the world markets for gasifiers in terms of gasifier technologies, unit counts, regional markets, feedstocks and end product applications. Gasifier technologies have been evolving for well over a century, but have only recently emerged as either at or near being economically and technologically viable as the preferred choice for the production of syngas and chemical feedstocks on an industrial scale and energy sources for a smaller regional, municipal, village and commercial or residential sectors.
The main objective of this report is to summarize the markets in which gasifiers are employed, both by application segments and by geography. Another objective of the report is to review the technologies involved, the major manufacturers of gasifiers and how the technological advances are improving the efficiency of gasifiers to make them more viable in the application segments where they are employed.

The unique advantages of gasifiers as compared with competing technologies are described, and the factors that restrict growth in certain application segments are discussed. A third objective of the report is to understand the three major aspects that drive the gasifier markets-energy, economics and policy-for each application segment and each geographical market.

Energy demands are increasing throughout the world but the way in which governments are addressing these needs by changing the regulatory and policy structures involved is unique. Economics alone often does not ensure market penetration as is described in the case of the biomass-to-energy markets. This report attempts to understand these market trends so that market participants make informed decisions.
A review of significant patents on gasifier technologies is presented in this report to identify the areas where technology development is occurring, where new breakthroughs are possible and which companies or organizations are driving the introduction of these advancements.
Lastly, the recent market turmoil in the energy markets has forced major changes in all products supporting energy production, and the gasifier markets are no exception. This report attempts to provide a better understanding of these end-market changes and provides a framework for companies to develop approaches to withstand similar fluctuations in the future.
The report also attempts to list all the major companies that are active in this field in various countries, and to provide comparison data on market participants.

Gasification technology has existed in various forms for about a century. It is just recently that the technology has gained application in various segments of the global market. These changes are being led by a better understanding of the economic and ecological benefits of these systems. While fossil fuel prices have dropped in recent years, the ecological damage caused by the uncontrolled burning of these fuels is now better understood, and changes are being made in the production of energy with the use of clean technologies that do not harm the environment.
Global economics are changing, with a large surge in growth in the Asian markets.

This shift in focus to energy in the Asian region is driving new technologies, as most of these markets do not have well-established distribution networks for the transport of oil, natural gas or electricity. Localized energy production is creating markets in rural areas in countries across South Asia.
Further, there is explosive growth in municipal solid waste across countries in the developing world. The importance of safe handling of this waste is gaining in importance, as opposed to opting for landfills.

These factors are supporting the growth of the gasifier market, and the foundation is currently being laid for the expansion of the market for gasifier technology. The tipping point is near, and the markets are expected to move into an explosive growth phase over the next decade.
Since our last report on the gasifier markets, a better data set is available to use in understanding the size and nature of the industry. Selected import and export data on gasifier components are now included in this report. Technological advances are reviewed based on intellectual property data, making the report more meaningful to its readers. An increasing number of participants have also been discussing the drivers, trends and technology impacts on gasifiers in public forums and online media. This study was thus undertaken to identify, characterize and quantify the status of the markets for gasifiers and the extent to which the gasifier space will expand, where activity will take place, at what pace and how various gasifier application markets will develop through 2021. It is hoped that the report will also help its readers shape the future of the markets to some extent.

Materials that were reviewed in developing this report include conference proceedings, presentations, research reports from public and private enterprises and organizations, journal articles, books, regulatory filings from publicly traded companies, interviews and discussions with market participants, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and associations supporting the industry and other related industries.

Numerous websites are now available related to gasifier markets, and several of these provide national or international data and participant information. The Gasification and Syngas Technologies Council provides extensive data on numerous gasification plants worldwide. Governmental and international agencies such as the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the World Bank, International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and numerous other similar organizations in various countries are rich sources of factual data that are useful in understanding the gasification markets.

Trade data are available from numerous sources; however, the extent of details available as useful data for the gasifier market is limited compared with other markets where the products sold are identifiable by unique export and import codes. Data presented regarding U.S. patents have mostly been taken from databases available at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website, and the analysis and interpretation of the data have been provided by the author. Company websites also provided information on various markets and technologies being developed.

This report was compiled based on primary and secondary market research techniques and data sets developed from these. Extensive efforts were made to understand the global distribution of fossil fuels (the various coals, natural gas deposits and shale plays) and the prominent biomass species indigenous to areas where gasifiers might be considered. Trade publications covering fossil fuels, power plants, biomass, waste management, energy projects, biofuels and the renewable energy world ecosystem were thoroughly studied. Data sources are identified in various parts of this report for those interested in delving deeper into these sources for specific data and information.

The data available thus are complemented with information sourced from individuals and experts working in the gasifier industry. Regional data specific to local markets were gathered from local participants by telephone interviews and E-mail discussions. Regulatory and policy data are now widely available in public forums and media, and these data were researched and gathered in part to understand how they shape the gasifier markets going forward.

The research and analysis led to the development of a quantitative picture of the status of the gasifier industry, its major segments and geographic market activity and indicators of the directions of evolution of those markets. The accumulated data were analyzed in terms of a world segmented into specific geographic regions, each with multiple countries having sufficient key similarities and geographic proximity to be included within that region.

The chief metrics in this report are new and cumulative gasifiers units broken down by world markets, application and region. The discussions explore the market dynamics driven by the availability of particular feedstocks and the annual regional market for gasifiers in a given application segment. This format is continued from our previous report. Readers should note that because the life expectancy of large gasifiers is several decades, the removal of installed gasifiers, is not taken into consideration in calculating cumulative units. The only exception to this is the biomass-to-energy gasifier market segment, which uses relatively smaller units, with product life cycles shorter than a decade, where there is a fair amount of churn with new installations and the closure of existing reactors.

This report identifies, characterizes, describes and forecasts the markets for gasifiers on a global and regional basis. Attention is given to national/state incentives, international agreements, regulatory regimes and political policies that foster, hinder or avoid the implementation of gasifiers.

Forecasts are provided to estimate the robustness of the gasifier markets in their different size ranges, feedstocks and applications over time, covering the period of 2015 through 2021.
This report provides market data under geographic segmentation as well as technology segmentation. Estimated values provided where available are based on manufacturers’ total revenues.

The report divides the global market into seven regions as follows:
- North America: Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
- Western Europe (both EU and non-EU countries).
- Pacific Rim: China, Japan, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan.
- Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
- Southwest Asia: India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
- Southern Hemisphere: Australia, New Zealand, Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

Each region is unique in terms of feedstock availability and growth in gross domestic product (GDP). The gasifier market for each segment is analyzed in individual chapters. Under technology segmentation, the report divides the global market into eight technology applications:
- Coal to energy (CTE).
- Coal to liquids (CTL).
- Biomass to energy (BTE).
- Biomass to liquids (BTL).
- Direct reduced iron (DRI) melting.
- Pet coke (includes refinery residuals).
- Waste to energy (WTE).
- Plasma gasifiers.

The status of technology development for each application is reviewed. The efficiencies possible under gasification and other competing technologies available in the specific markets determine the end cost to users.
Gasifiers have become a mainstream product in a broad range of applications, which include central power stations, waste treatment, industrial chemicals production, on-site small industrial operations, district cogeneration, residences in rural economically poor areas and more. They are becoming an essential part of the energy conversion landscape and are already a multibillion-dollar-a-year diversified industry on a strong growth path globally.

This report is expected to fulfill a market need for a detailed market analysis of the gasifier industry worldwide, with an emphasis on influential factors that affect the growth of the market, market trends and growth rates, and a comparison of competing technologies in various application segments thereof.
The data and information compiled in this report would be useful for executives making decisions on investments, marketing decisions as well as strategic planning. Company executives who handle production planning, purchasing, sales and design functions will benefit from the detailed analysis of the industry, list of companies provided, details of markets and growth rates, as well as the technical information that the report provides.

The approach has been to discuss matters avoiding technical jargon as much as possible so that readers from other segments of the industry can make use of the information in a meaningful manner.
The energy markets worldwide comprise a large industry, and the information provided in this report about this industry is a means to understanding how it shapes the growth and stagnation of the gasifier markets and will be useful for readers interested in the energy markets as well.

The timelines involved in the planning, design, construction, launch and regular operations of the gasifiers are long, often spanning decades, especially for the large sized gasifiers used in the coal industry. Decisions are made with a longer-term view, with both financial and societal impacts being taken into consideration. The discussions on government policies and strategies in various countries, along with the data on energy market trends will be useful to those involved in such decision making process.

The timelines involved in the biomass-to-energy markets are short, with payback periods as short as eight months. However, the lack of the dissemination of data and information relative to the biomass-to-energy markets has hindered these markets. The same is true for the waste-to-energy market, where incineration is much more widely used, which we feel is partly due to the lack of information available on the environmental benefits that gasifier technology can provide in comparison. The report also covers these aspects in detail for those who are considering gasifier technologies for local use, such as municipality or city or state level BTE installations or waste handling.

Matters covered in this report will be helpful to university, government and institutional energy, fossil fuel, biomass, forestry and forestry products, and agricultural research staff. Technical details covered in the chapter on patents will be especially of interest to those readers and to smaller manufacturers that might be considering adopting similar technologies for their product developments.

Government regulators and legislators, international funding agencies, think tanks, large NGOs and other nonprofit organizations that help shape the policies that affect these markets will benefit immensely from the market details provided and the insights on how certain technologies available today can be implemented, as execution of ideas is often the most difficult step in making large-scale changes within a society.

Vijay Subramanian has a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Cincinnati, and extensive experience in the field of materials and their global markets. He worked for more than a decade in the automotive industry in the U.S., and later in India, and owns several U.S. patents. Dr. Subramanian has authored reports for BCC Research since 2012. Other recent reports by the author include AVM033C Abrasive Materials, Products, Applications and Global Markets; AVM049D Metal and Ceramic Injection Molding; AVM098A Precious Metals: Global Markets; and CHM046C Global Markets for Catalysts: Focus on Catalyst Regeneration.

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