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Benefits of Black Liquor Gasification


An External Benefits Study of Black Liquor Gasification

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Research Theme: Community

Project Objective Statement: Assess the societal impact (on environment, local communities, labor force) if conventional recovery cycle were replaced with black liquor gasification and combined cycle power generation

Project summary: Black Liquor Gasification (BLG) is key to the pulp and paper industry's vision of economic competitiveness and fossil fuel independence. The American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) reports as a goal to have a commercially viable BLG system by 2008. Although more research is needed (and is under way), Black Liquor Gasification if accompanied by Combined Cycle (BLGCC) offers a significant advantage over the conventional black liquor chemical recovery process. The most immediate advantages include:

  • Increased Electricity Production
  • Increased Pulp Yields
  • Causticizing In Situ (within the gasifier)

Both the industry and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have devoted considerable resources to make the vision of BLG and BLGCC a fully viable and operational reality. Several evaluations to date indicate that the potential profitability of an accelerated research agenda to make BLGCC a reality is a worthwhile endeavor; yet financial risks to early adoption could delay a viable BLGCC process. If benefits beyond immediate profitability prevail, such as environmental benefits, energy security and economic stability in small communities, there is a compelling policy reason to assist firms to convert to BLGCC to reduce the risk of replacing a recovery boiler with a BLGCC system.

This project goes beyond direct estimates of firm profitability to estimate an expanded range of potential benefits.

The 3-year study progresses in three phases:
1. An Environmental Impact Statement of environmental benefits from BLGCC across the 190 sites where the technology is likely to be adopted
2. The net economic benefits (welfare surplus) of the non-marketed goods that BLG produces, largely the eased environmental pressures
3. A community economic development appraisal that explores the possible benefit of jobs saved from a profitable BLG technology and the possible wage increases to a more skilled work force.


Dr. Michael Farmer
Associate Professor
Dept. of Agricultural and Applied Economics,
Texas Tech University
P.O. Box 42132
Lubbock, Texas 79409 - 2132
Tel: 806 742-2017 ext. 251

Dr. Scott Sinquefield
Senior Research Engineer
Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Tech,
Georgia Institute of Technology
500 10th St., N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30332-0620
Tel: 404 385-0241


Planned Duration: 3 years, commenced summer 2002


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