Synthesis gas from biomass can be produced and utilized in different ways. Conversion of biomass to synthesis gas can be done either in fluidized bed or entrained flow reactors. As gasification agent oxygen, steam, or mixtures are used. The most common use of biomass gasification in the last decades has been for heat and/or power production. Nowadays, the importance of transportation fuels from renewables is increased due to environmental aspects and growing fossil fuels prices. That is why the production of Fischer–Tropsch (FT) liquids, methanol, mixed alcohols, substitute natural gas (SNG), and hydrogen from biomass is now in focus of view. The most innovative and interesting ways of synthesis gas utilization and projects, BioTfueL or GoBiGas, BioLiq, Choren, etc. are discussed here. Further the microchannel technology by Oxford Catalysts and distributed production of SNG in decentral small scale are presented. The synthesis platform in Güssing, Austria is also presented. The FT liquids, hydrogen production, mixed alcohols, and BioSNG, these are the projects associated with the FICFB gasification plant in Güssing. Also the principle and examples of sorption-enhanced reforming to adjust H2/CO ratio in product gas during the gasification is described. Finally, in the conclusion also an outlook for the thermochemical pathway to transportation fuels is given. WIREs Energy Environ 2014, 3:343–362. doi: 10.1002/wene.97
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