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ZeoGas licenses ExxonMobil Methanol-to-Gasoline technology for Gulf Coast plant

ZeoGas LLC (ZeoGas), a developer of natural gas-to-gasoline projects, has entered into a license agreement to use ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company’s (ExxonMobil) methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) technology in the development of a natural gas-to-gasoline plant on the US Gulf Coast.

The conversion of methanol to hydrocarbons and water is virtually complete and essentially stoichiometric in the MTG process. The reaction is exothermic with the reaction heat managed by splitting the conversion in two parts. In the first part, methanol is converted to an equilibrium mixture of methanol, dimethyl ether (DME), and water. In the second part, the equilibrium mixture is mixed with recycle gas and passed over a shape-selective catalyst to form hydrocarbons and water.

Most of the hydrocarbon product boils in the gasoline boiling range. The low-sulfur, low-benzene gasoline product from the process is a premium quality clean gasoline and can be blended with refinery gasoline directly or sold separately.

ZeoGas is developing a portfolio of projects to convert natural gas to gasoline to take advantage of the abundant and relatively low cost of natural gas in North America. Coupled with the 5,000 tons-per-day of planned methanol production, ZeoGas will produce more than 16,000 barrels per day of ASTM-spec, 87 Octane gasoline with zero sulfur and about 50% less benzene than allowable standards.

ExxonMobil’s proven methanol-to-gasoline technology is a critical element of our strategy to use only market-proven, production-scale component technologies, thereby eliminating the technology risk associated with many gas-to-liquids projects.

—Timothy D. Belton, founder and chief executive officer of ZeoGas

ExxonMobil’s methanol-to-gasoline technology was first commercialized in 1985 by New Zealand Synfuels, a 14,500 barrel per day gas-to-gasoline plant in New Zealand.

ZeoGas is developing a portfolio of plants to convert natural gas into gasoline, employing proven component technologies like ExxonMobil’s MTG and Air Liquide’s MegaMethanol technology.



What this apparently means is that the roughly 3:1 to 4:1 ratio of hydrogen to carbon of the MeOH/DME becomes closer to 2:1 as gasoline is produced. The excess hydrogen is split off from the feedstock at some cost in energy, but the free hydrogen more than makes up for the energy requirements of gasoline formation, plus additional system requirements (compression, flow, filtration) by the time it is oxidized. So what is new about this process? Suppression of benzene formation is not necessarily new or surprising, given the difficulty of forming it in the first place.


k: I first heard about this process several years ago when one of the "clean coal" projects was being pitched in TX. One of the project participants was proposing licensing this technology. XOM still touts the EMRE MTG process at their site with the slogan "Clean Gasoline from Coal". I have to admit I was only looking at it from the perspective of potential vessel fabrication business for my client; I cannot speak intelligently about it except to parrot advantages over F-T.


There have been several variations by other companies. Haldor has a process, TOTAL has a direct methane to DME and Oberon has the DME to synthetic gasoline.

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