|Process flow chart for the Hydro-Max/Velocys portable Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) fuels plant. Click to enlarge.|
Diversified Energy Corporation (DEC), developers of the HydroMax gasification process (earlier post), and Velocys Inc., a Battelle subsidiary specializing in microchannel reactor technology (earlier post), have been selected by the US Department of Defense (DoD) to design a portable synthetic fuel production system based on DEC’s HydroMax gasification technology and Velocys’ advanced Fischer-Tropsch approach.
The goal of the DoD funded effort is to develop a transportable system that can convert waste products generated at military installations into 50-500 barrels per day of high-performance synthetic fuels such as diesel and aviation fuel.
DoD is the single largest fuel consumer in the country, with an annual fuel budget of approximately $9 billion and rising. Forward operating military bases generate scores of waste material and have an enormous demand for fuel products. As a result, an opportunity exists to incorporate advanced energy conversion technologies that can utilize waste materials to generate high performance fuels, thereby reducing the logistical burden of fuel transportation for military operations.
DEC’s HydroMax gasification technology, under license from Alchemix Corporation, will be used to convert waste products (biomass, solid-waste, etc.) into a synthetic gas (syngas). The Velocys fuel synthesis technology will then convert the syngas from HydroMax into diesel and jet fuel that can be utilized for a wide variety of military applications.
The HydroMax process begins with a molten iron/tin (FeSn) bath heated to 1,300°C. Steam is injected into the bath, and is then thermochemically split resulting in H2 gas (released) and oxidized iron. In the second step, after the iron is oxidized, steam injection ceases and a carbon source (here, the waste) is injected into the reactor. Carbon has a high affinity to oxygen and reduces the oxidation of Fe to its pure form and produces a CO-rich syngas which is released for use.
Diversified Energy says that the HydroMax technique can deliver gasification systems at up to 50% the cost of traditional systems and with 80+% efficiency.
Velocys chemical processors are characterized by parallel arrays of microchannels, with typical dimensions in the 0.01 to 0.20 inch range. Processes are intensified by decreasing transfer resistances between process fluids and channel walls. This structure allows use of more active catalysts than conventional systems, greatly increasing the throughput per unit volume. Overall system volumes can be reduced by ten to one hundred fold compared to conventional hardware.
This DOD Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I project will include bench-scale test data analysis, conceptual design of a transportable fuel production system, economic analysis, and a detailed assessment of system modularity and transportability. At the conclusion of the Phase I SBIR effort, the Diversified Energy/Velocys team will compete for a Phase II project that will fund development of a prototype integrated fuel production system.
HydroMax: Breakthrough Molten-Metal Coal Gasification Technology (DEC presentation)
Synthetic Fuels: Deployment Challenges & Solutions (Velocys presentation )