Updraft gasification of salmon processing waste

J Food Sci. 2009 Oct;74(8):E426-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2009.01312.x.


The purpose of this study was to judge the feasibility of gasification for the disposal of waste streams generated through salmon harvesting. Gasification is the process of converting carbonaceous materials into combustible "syngas" in a high temperature (above 700 degrees C), oxygen deficient environment. Syngas can be combusted to generate power, which recycles energy from waste products. At 66% to 79% moisture, raw salmon waste streams are too wet to undergo pyrolysis and combustion. Ground raw or de-oiled salmon whole fish, heads, viscera, or frames were therefore "dried" by mixing with wood pellets to a final moisture content of 20%. Ground whole salmon with moisture reduced to 12% moisture was gasified without a drying agent. Gasification tests were performed in a small-scale, fixed-bed, updraft gasifer. After an initial start-up period, the gasifier was loaded with 1.5 kg of biomass. Temperature was recorded at 6 points in the gasifier. Syngas was collected during the short steady-state period during each gasifier run and analyzed. Percentages of each type of gas in the syngas were used to calculate syngas heating value. High heating value (HHV) ranged from 1.45 to 1.98 MJ/kg. Bomb calorimetry determined maximum heating value for the salmon by-products. Comparing heating values shows the efficiency of gasification. Cold gas efficiencies of 13.6% to 26% were obtained from the various samples gasified. Though research of gasification as a means of salmon waste disposal and energy production is ongoing, it can be concluded that pre-dried salmon or relatively low moisture content mixtures of waste with wood are gasifiable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biofuels / supply & distribution*
  • Calorimetry
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Food-Processing Industry / economics*
  • Gases / chemical synthesis*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Industrial Waste* / analysis
  • Industrial Waste* / economics
  • Refuse Disposal / economics
  • Refuse Disposal / instrumentation
  • Salmon*
  • Seafood* / economics
  • Water / analysis
  • Wood / chemistry


  • Biofuels
  • Gases
  • Industrial Waste
  • Water