A huge amount of waste oil is produced worldwide. Also substantial amount of virgin oils is available that are interesting candidates for upgrading into syngas. Supercritical water gasification (SCWG) can be considered as an aqueous phase reforming process to produce syngas from oils.
In this work, a variety of waste and virgin oils were gasified in a continuous down-flow autoclave reactor at supercritical conditions. Experiments were carried out at 430 °C and 660 °C, 25 MPa, with a residence time in the range 103-170 s, in order to investigate gasification and carbon efficiency, hydrogen yield and composition of the produced gas.
All the analysed feedstocks were suspended in water at various concentrations before gasification. Pyrolysis bio-oil showed a gasification efficiency of 74 % and 86 % for mixtures with 3 and 10 oil/water wt ratio, respectively. Waste motor oil, suspended in water at a concentration of 1 % wt thanks to the use of surfactants, was successfully gasified with a gasification efficiency of 73 %. Virgin motor oil gasification efficiency higher than 60% had been obtained for both analysed concentrations (5 % wt and 10 % wt of oil). Gasification of rapeseed oil at 5 % wt showed a gasification efficiency close to 88 %. On the contrary, the gasification of sunflower oil at 430 °C showed that this temperature is not high enough to obtain acceptable gasification efficiencies that varied from 20 % to 15 % for concentrations of oil from 2 % wt to 8 % wt, respectively. The analysis of the gas composition, in all the studied cases, showed that the obtained gas stream was rich in H2, CH4 and CO2, with variable quantities of light hydrocarbons (C2H4, C2H6 and C3H8).