Thermochemical processing is the use of heat to promote chemical transformations of biomass into energy and chemical products. This is the down cycling of organic compounds. This in contrast to fossil fuels, thermochemical platforms have significant environmental advantages. In the world that we live in, we need to recover resources from non-conventional sources, so that we can ease the energy crisis and slow down environmental degradation. This will also help reduce the percentage of land-filled waste.
There are different thermo-chemical conversion routs. These aredependant of the type and quality of waste feedstock, the desired form of energy and several other standards that need to be met. Thermochemical processing can easily be seen as the simplest to adapt to current energy infrastructures and to tackle the inherent diversity in some pieces of waste. The first is combustion with is associated with the creation of carbon oxides and other organic compounds. This method isn’t the most efficient when it comes to producing energy that creates less pollution. The second is gasification which involves partial oxidation. Lastly, there is pyrolysis which involves thermal degradation without the use of oxygen. This process yet still under development leads to the production of energy-dense products that can be used in several applications.
Thermochemical processes transform biomass into synthesis gas or oil. The conversion is highly complex and uses several components and operating conditions one would typically see in petroleum refining. This form of refinery although still in its early stages of development can greatly impact different environments and communities.