Syntroleum Corporation and Sustec Industries have entered into a joint project development agreement to develop a nominal 3,000 barrel per day (bpd) Syntroleum Fischer-Tropsch (FT) and Synfining unit as the first phase of a possible 20,000 bpd project at Sustec’s Schwarze Pumpe industrial facility at Spreetal, Germany.
The 3,000 bpd Spreetal CTL plant is the first project under the Sustec-Syntroleum joint venture announced in January this year that provides for exclusive joint business development of projects integrating Sustec’s gasification technology (from its Future Energy GmbH portfolio company) with Syntroleum’s Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology. (Earlier post.)
Sustec’s project includes an expansion of their existing gasification capacity using the Future Energy GSP technology which was originally developed by Sustec and its predecessor companies and recently acquired by Siemens Company. Sustec also intends to expand its methanol production and power plant at Schwarze Pumpe following the installation by Siemens of new GSP gasification units totaling more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) capacity.
The Future Energy GSP gasification technology is an entrained-flow pressure gasification system that gasifies a stream of pulverized coal (or atomized liquid fuel or a fuel slurry) with oxygen. Different implementations of the gasifier technology can handle different feedstocks, such as biomass. The gasification reaction takes place under high temperature and pressure. The GSP method offers very high carbon conversion (greater than 99%), and produces a tar-free synthesis gas.
The Syntroleum FT unit will be a slurry reactor utilizing cobalt catalyst and will produce clean-burning synthetic diesel and specialty chemicals from synthesis gas made from lignite coal, municipal waste and biomass that currently are being gasified at the Schwarze Pumpe facility.
The existing Rectisol syngas and carbon adsorption units used for syngas clean-up processing will also be expanded as part of this initial FT project. The pre-FEED engineering work and feasibility study for the current project, named Spreetal CTL, are expected to be initiated by mid-summer with completion of this work expected by the end of this year. Final project sanction is expected to be decided by first quarter 2007.
Sustec has pledged significant initial equity in the Schwarze Pumpe expansion project including the 3,000 bpd CTL plant. This project has been pre-qualified for financial support from the Saxony (Sachsen) State Government and is currently eligible for over a €100 million (US$128 million) grant.
The project development agreement replaces the memorandum of understanding executed in January of this year. Sustec and Syntroleum will both hold a 50% interest in the project development agreement. The Spreetal CTL project will be the first commercial plant utilizing the Syntroleum technology.
Syntroleum Corporation owns a proprietary process for converting natural gas or synthesis gas derived from coal and other carbon-based feedstock into synthetic liquid hydrocarbons. Although originally targeting stranded gas field with its GTL technology, Syntroleum began testing CTL applications of its technology in 2005. (Earlier post.)
The company plans to use its technology to develop and participate in natural gas and coal monetization projects in a number of global locations. Syntroleum has operated an FT pilot plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, since the early 1990s and has been operating its 100-bpd Catoosa FT demonstration facility since 2004.
In May, the US Air Force announced that it will test fly a B-52 powered in part by Syntroleum GTL. The bomber will fly with two of its eight jet engines using a blend of conventional petroleum-derived JP-8 and Syntroleum Fischer-Tropsch jet fuel produced from natural gas. The experiment is part of the Department of Defense’s Assured Fuel Initiative.