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US Fuels acquires coal-to-diesel IP for scalable plants near mine sites
22 August 2012
Startup US Fuel Corporation (USF), which plans to design, build, own and operate scalable facilities near coal mine sites to convert coal into synthetic fuels, will acquire coal-to-diesel intellectual property (IP) that USF co-developed with an executive team consisting of Paul Adams and Steve Luck. The acquisition will be underwritten by Global Private Funding Inc. (Global), a private equity lender, by way of their Business Incubation Program.
USF is planning a first facility located near Central City in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. The plant will be designed to process 148 tons of coal per day to produce approximately 8,500 gallons of high grade, low-sulfur diesel. Upon completion of this first facility, US Fuel intends to replicate its proprietary process in multiple, larger scaled commercial facilities.
Other coal to diesel projects have failed in large part, USF suggests, because they were of a scale where the financial and environmental risks were unacceptable. By using a proprietary combination of scalable proven processes technologies, US Fuel intends not only to mitigate project investment risk but also position the company rapidly to replicate its model by building additional facilities where the coal feedstock is already located.
USFF’s model attracted the attention of GPF Real Estate & Financing Corporation (Global REFCo), a subsidiary of Global Private Funding, Inc. (Global), who will provide debt based financing to support the equity-based investments.
Andrew Halarewicz, Sr. Vice President at Global, says that USF’s on-site coal-to-diesel plants will extend predictability and sustainability enabling coal mining plants to operate more efficiently.
Paul Adams and Steve Luck will join the executive management of USF and work alongside Global engineers and the complete USF project team to oversee facility and coal-to-diesel process development.
USF envisions a modified Fischer-Tropsch process. For the conversion of coal to syngas, US Fuel will utilize slow pyrolysis. This process includes a recirculation process to gasify oil and tars more completely, producing a cleaner syngas, fewer environmentally-problematic emissions and reducing the maintenance costs normally associated with oil and tar contamination of system components.
For the conversion of syngas to diesel, US Fuel will integrate a modified, more efficient Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) process. The conventional F-T GTL process is not particularly energy efficient, USF says, does not scale down economically and only converts up to 50% of its feedstock into diesel.
The facility process will use a scalable, more efficient process that is capable of converting up to 85% of its feedstock into diesel. USF says that the process will produce CO as a by-product as opposed to methane; the recapture and reuse of the CO improves the overall process efficiency.
USF says that, as planned, the CTL facilities will meet federal, state and local emissions standards; they will produce a near zero discharge of both carbon dioxide and wastewater.
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