Millions of tons of forest residues, agricultural residues, and municipal solid waste are generated in Latin America (LATAM) each year. Regularly, municipal solid waste is diverted to landfills or dumpsites. Meanwhile, forest and agricultural residues end up decomposing in the open air or burnt, releasing greenhouse gases. Those residues can be transformed into a set of energy vectors and organic/chemical products through thermochemical conversion processes, such as pyrolysis and gasification. This book chapter provides information on current examples of gasification on large scale in the world, which typically operate at 700°C, atmospheric pressure, and in a fluidized bed reactor. The produced gas is used for heat and energy generation. Whereas pyrolysis at a large scale operates around 500°C, atmospheric pressure, and in an inert atmosphere, using a fluidized bed reactor. The produced combustible liquid is used for heat and energy generation. The decision of using any of these technologies will depend on the nature and availability of residues, energy carries, techno-socio-economic aspects, and the local interest. In this regard, the particular situation of Brazil and Mexico is analyzed to implement these technologies. Its implementation could reduce the utilization of fossil fuels, generate extra income for small farmers or regions, and reduce the problem derived from the accumulation of residues. However, it is concluded that it is more convenient to use decentralized gasification and pyrolysis stations than full-scale processes, which could be an intermediate step to a large-scale process. The capabilities of numerical models to describe these processes are also provided to assess the potential composition of a gas produced from some biomass species available in these countries.
Part of the book: Gasification