Hydrogen as a Transportation Fuel Produced from Thermal Gasification of Municipal Solid Waste: An Examination of Two Integrated Technologies
Innovative technologies are required to offset increasing consumption and declining stocks of non-renewable resources. This study examines a possible enhancement of waste management and transportation by integrating two emerging technologies: municipal solid waste (MSW) gasification and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), by fueling FCVs with hydrogen produced from gasified MSW. Material and energy flows were modeled in four MSW management scenarios (incineration, landfill, gasification, gasification with recycling) and four transportation scenarios (hybrid gasoline-electric, methanol FCVs, hydrogen FCVs using hydrogen from natural gas or municipal solid waste). Technological performance deemed feasible within 2010 -2020 was assumed. Greenhouse gas emissions and non-renewable energy use were used to assess overall system performance.
Gasification with hydrogen production performs as efficiently as incineration, but is advantageous compared to landfilling. Taking into account additional environmental criteria, the model suggests that hydrogen from MSW gasification for FCVs may provide benefits over conventional MSW treatment and transportation systems.