Biomass gasification is in use in a number of pilot and demonstration plants but only in a few industrial larg- commercial scale and operational units. We present information from last IEA Bioenergy /Task 40) report (September 2013).
Gasification is a process that converts organic or fossil based carbonaceous materials into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This is achieved by reacting the material at high temperatures (>700 °C), without combustion, with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam.
The National Energy Technology Laboratory in the US published in 2010 a gasification database, where world gasifiers, both coal and biomass using, are listed. In addition to the plant and company information, gasifier location, technology, feedstock, product classification and capacity are available in the list.
In 2001, Spielthoff  listed 35 gasification applications, most of them demo- or semi-commercial plants. During this study, 15 operating gasifiers (at least 1 MWth) were found. The annual biomass gasification capacity can be estimated to be around 15 PJ. The largest operating biomass gasifiers found during this study are listed in Table 5-11. The actual biomass use in gasifiers at plant level was not evaluated as the global biomass gasification capacity is negligible. Gasifiers that use waste as feedstock have also been noticed in this list because of the small amount of operating large scale gasifiers. The ten largest gasifiers are all in quite a small area in Europe. Small facilities are in operation around the world, mainly in Europe, but also for example in the US and Japan.
The largest operational gasifiers use mainly wood-based feedstock, like forest residue, bark, waste wood and wood pellets. The status of gasification at country level depends on the background of industry and energy production in the country. In countries where gasification has been most used, there are typically widespread forest or pulp and paper industry and amply indigenous biomass. Gasifiers are currently used for co-firing purposes, for power production using gas engines and for fuel and chemicals production. There are ambitious plans for large scale (more than 100 MWth) facilities for renewable diesel, ethanol and SNG production.
The complete IEA Bioenergy – Task 40 report is available here.