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Rentech in New Coal-to-Liquids Fuels Project in West Virginia

Rentech uses a proprietary iron catalyst well-suited to CTL projects. Click to enlarge.

The Mingo County Redevelopment Authority (MCRA), Williamson, West Virginia and Rentech, Inc. have entered into a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) for the development of a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) fuels plant to be located in Mingo County (the Mingo Project).

Located in the lower portion of southwestern West Virginia, the Mingo Project would utilize Rentech’s Fischer-Tropsch technology to convert synthesis gas, a combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide produced from the West Virginia coal, into transportation fuels to be used in the Mingo County region.

The parties intend to cooperate to develop, finance, own and operate the project which could produce approximately 10,000 to 30,000 barrels per day of the ultra-clean fuels.

The initial phase of the project will entail a 60-day due diligence period to be initiated within the first week of January 2007. Providing the due diligence phase indicates that the project is viable, Rentech and the MRCA will continue to evaluate the project in stages by determining the scope and feasibility of the project.

After successful completion of these initial stages, Rentech and MCRA expect to establish a project entity and then move forward with engineering, financing, and the construction of the facility. Initially, the parties will share the costs of any third party development expenses and have equal interests in the project.

Rentech is also involved in emerging CTL projects in Montana and Wyoming. (Earlier post.)

Rentech uses a proprietary iron-based catalyst in its Fischer-Tropsch reactors. According to the company, the qualities of the iron-based catalyst make it very flexible, and able to convert economically the synthesis gas made from the widest range of hydrocarbon feedstocks.

Specific to CTL projects, the iron catalyst can tolerate low levels of sulfur contamination and ammonia compounds present in the syngas and still maintain economic levels of conversion. By contrast, cobalt compounds have little or no resistance to such poisons in the syngas.



I sure hope they can sequester the extra CO2 produced by this process.

Paul Dietz

I sure bet they won't.


As more and more of such projects come online, a carbon cap-and-trade system looks like a no-brainer.


Putting LipStick on a pig.


CTL can be one of the sources in the future. Montana has lots of coal and they want to use the CO2 for oil wells. If they can sequester the CO2 in old NG wells, great. We need to think in terms of all solutions together to meet the needs of tomorrow. No one solution will work on its own.


As you may remember Montana is already piping CO2 to Saskatchewan from the Great plains CTL plant.

Paul Dietz

That's North Dakota, and it's a coal-to-methane plant, not CTL.


I stand corrected - Great Plains Synfuels makes NG in North Dakota - the CO2 goes to Saskatchewan for EOR (I knew there was liquid involved somewhere in the scheme)


See how much we learn and forget on this site! :-)) When you process coal you end up with lots of for something useful to use it for.


A CTL plant is the last thing in the world that Mingo County needs. If you go there and meet the people, it will be clear. Decades of underground coal slurry injection into the abandonned mine works in Mingo County (the most in WV) have poisoned the water table and for instance, the Forgotten Communities of Rawl, Lick Creek, Sprigg and Merrimack are all dying from using the poisoned water, which only came to light in the recent years. West Virginia is turning into one giant brownfields--we must move on from coal immediately and that means curbing consumption, investing in public transportation, focusing less on profit and truly investing in renewable, clean energy sources like wind and solar.

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