China Targeting 8% GDP Growth with 4% Cut in Energy Consumption for 2006
Renault Introduces New Diesel Particulate Filter with Post-Injection

Canadian Coal Company Seeking Fischer-Tropsch Partner and Sites for CTL

Cash Minerals, an emerging energy company with a base of coal and uranium assets in the Yukon, is evaluating different coal sites in the Yukon and China for their suitability to support Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) projects using the Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) process.

This initiative follows high level meetings in South Africa and China between Cash Minerals and senior government officials and potential joint venture partners in technology and mining. Cash Minerals is also seeking F-T technology partners.

Cash Minerals will use the following Technology Partner selection criteria, according to its President and CEO Basil Botha:

  • Commercial experience in coal liquefaction.
  • Expertise enabling the set up of a running plant.
  • Expertise in marketing Fischer-Tropsch derived fuels.
  • Project profitability.

From the meetings, Cash Minerals has a list of criteria for selecting suitable project sites. The Company will immediately begin determining site suitability according to each criterion. A top priority on the list is a substantial coal resource to support the long term production of Fischer-Tropsch liquids.

We have already committed $1 million to 2006 coal exploration with the view to expand our coal resources in the Yukon, and are prepared to conduct additional exploration in order to confirm that a suitable resource exists for a Coal to Liquids project.

—Basil Botha


tom deplume

The Great Klondike Coal Rush.


I'm sure I will get a call to go build this plant. But I think they will need eskimo's and very hungry people. Maybe they can look at the prison population as well. Working outside at -45 is just crazy.


I met plenty of people willing to work in all sorts of climates and conditions while I was up at Prudhoe Bay a few years ago. Not all of them are crazy. If there's good work with good pay, they'll get the laborers.

I'm still not certain how "green" a process Fischer-Tropsch is -- how much energy input it takes per unit of synthetic-diesel output, relative to the energy it takes to pump, transport and refine petroleum into diesel, or grow biomass and convert it into diesel.

Similarly, I don't know how much pollution, in the form of CO2 and other emissions, are created by the F-T process over the entire lifecycle of the fuel -- from the mine to the tailpipe. One issue is that even if the overall levels of emissions are the same, the geographical distribution might be different. If a significant amount of PM or smog-forming compounds are released in an isolated area, instead of in a big city, the impacts on human health might be reduced, however the environmental impacts might be enlarged if the area is particularly sensitive to such emissions.

I am assuming that if a company is moving to commercialize this process in a petroleum-rich economy like Canada's, the economics works out. But while price measures a lot of things, dollars are not a very good proxy for environmental impact.

I wonder if there is an authoritative report out there which answers these questions about the modern incarnation of the Fischer-Tropsch process.

An Engineer

See the SYNBIO Conference site for some papers on the work done in Europe.

You might be interested in Operational experiences of Carbo-V(R) process for FTD production, by Matthias Rudloff
"High peformance, efficiency of conversion >80%"

The comments to this entry are closed.