|The JOGMEC GTL process streamlines syngas production, removing O2 plant, CO2 removal, and conditioning.|
A group of Japanese companies intent on making gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuels a commercially viable overseas business by 2011 (earlier post) plans to start building a trial GTL plant in Niigata Prefecture in fiscal 2006, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
The ¥36 billion (US$306 million) facility is targeted to begin operation in 2008 with a daily output capacity of about 500 barrels per day (21,000 gallons) of synthetic fuels and chemicals using natural gas that Japan Petroleum Exploration produces from the Iwafuneoki gas field off the coast of Niigata.
The partners include Nippon Oil, Nippon Steel, Japan Petroleum Exploration, Inpex, Cosmo Oil, Chiyoda and the government-owned Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC), along with support from the Ministry for Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). METI has requested ¥1.8 billion (US$15.3 million) in the 2006 budget in support of this project.
JOGMEC has been researching GTL technology since 1998, with an emphasis on the efficient production of the syngas used in the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process that actually produces the end products. (The syngas production systems can represent some 60% of the total capital cost in a conventional GTL plant.)
Working in partnership with Chiyoda (which developed the catalyst), JOGMEC is developing a GTL process that eliminates the need for three units usually found the syngas section of a conventional GTL operation, thereby potentially significantly reducing the cost:
CO2 removal unit. The JOGMEC process instead uses CO2 in syngas production.
Oxygen plant. JOGMEC (like Syntroleum) does not use oxygen as an input into syngas production.
Syngas conditioning unit. The JOGMEC process produces syngas suitable for the FT process in a single pass.
The JOGMEC process has only been tested in very low production pilots (7 bpd). This trial is designed to help perfect in support of building an overseas plant (likely in Indonesia) with a production capacity of 15,000 barrels per day.
METI FY 2006 Economic and Industrial Policy: Key Points