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Gasification Company Exploring Biofuels Production

10 May 2006

Pystr_1
The basic PyStR hydrogen production process. Click to enlarge.

Syngas International Corp., the provider of a gasification technology targeted at hydrogen production for use in upgrading oil sands syncrude among other applications, has begun researching the possibility of using gases produced from its M2 modular fluidized bed gasifier and PyStR (Pyrolysis Steam Reforming) process to produce synthetic liquid biofuels.

The first two liquid biofuels under investigation are ethanol and methanol. The company will initially focus on catalytic conversion processes such as the Sabatier (conversion of CO and hydrogen to methane over a catalyst) and Fischer-Tropsch processes.

(Another approach to ethanol production from syngas is being taken by BRI Energy, which combines gasification with fermentation. (Earlier post.) Alchemix is another gasification company taking a catalytic conversion approach to the production of biofuels from syngas via its Hydromax process. (Earlier post.))

The company. Syngas International is the new name, adopted in January 2006, for Fairchild International Corp., an oil and gas company that had been participating in a number of oil and gas wells.

In 2005, the company restructured, sold off its non-producing oil and gas properties, and acquired Syngas Energy Corp., a developer of integrated gasification technologies. In November 2005, Fairchild acquired the PyStR (Pyrolysis Steam Reformer) technology and began putting the two together.

The new name—Syngas International—reflects the Company’s core technologies: converting carboniferous materials to hydrogen and/or synthetic methane (synthetic natural gas). Syngas Energy Corp. is the company’s main operating unit.

PyStr. The PyStR process converts synthesis gas produced by the gasification unit using a range of carbon-bearing feedstocks (biomass, tire waste, petroleum coke and so on) into hydrogen or methane by reacting the CO- and hydrogen-rich syngas with steam and calcium oxide (lime).

The reaction creates CaO3 as a byproduct, which is then transformed back into calcium oxide and carbon dioxide. The CO2 is partially reintroduced into the hydrogen production process, or can be captured and used or sequestered.

The company currently has three commercialization projects for the process on the table:

  • Alberta Tar Sands Hydrogen Gas plant. The plant, budgeted with a total capital cost of US$13 million, is forecast to be profitable in its first year of operation. It will use shredded tires or petroleum coke as a feedstock and produce hydrogen gas for use in the oil sands facilities.

  • Enoch Hydrogen gas plant, Alberta. This $US13 million plant will use wood waste as its input, and output hydrogen and synthetic natural gas. The project will qualify as a green project.

  • Medical waste plant, Alberta. This US$7.1 million plant will convert medical waste into heat energy.

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May 10, 2006 in Ethanol, Gasification | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

This may solve one of the pressing problems of oil/tar sands to syncrude conversion: an abundant cheap reliable source of hydrogen/methane. Now, how to solve the waste (solid, gaseous, liquid) problem, and the issues of land and water degredation. Will the energy companies abandon the region to environmental catastrophe and economic burden once the economically viable resource is extracted like so many resource extraction operations aroound the world, from Nevada and Montana, to Indonesia and Ghana?

Do not be so pessimistic. Exploration of fossil fuels in developed countries are subject to incredibly stringent environmental legislation, and part of it is remediation of exploration sites to “green lawn” condition after exploration is seized.

It was just a question to put out there. I know there are companies that do take steps to mitigate their presence. An example would be ChevronTexaco in Papua New Guinea.

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