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Linc Energy Begins Producing GTL Liquids from Underground Gasification Syngas

Australia-based Linc Energy has successfully produced the first hydrocarbon liquids from its Chinchilla demonstration facility which introduces underground coal gasification (UCG) synthesis gas into a Fischer-Tropsch reactor that produces high quality synthetic fuel. (Earlier post.) Linc’s stock rose on the news, closing up more than 10% on the day of the announcement.

The aboveground Chinchilla demonstration plant that uses the syngas from UCG to produce fuels. Click to enlarge.

Linc Energy says it will continue to operate its GTL demonstration facility and use the experience gained to assist with finalizing the engineering scope for the company’s proposed 20,000 barrels per day commercial facility that is planned for commencement of construction in the next 12 months.

Linc also announced completion of a A$17 million (US$12 million) placement.

A few days prior, Linc Energy, the Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) and the Marubeni Corporation of Japan (Marubeni) executed a Business Cooperation Contract to undertake Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) and GTL fuel production in the Red River Delta adjacent to Hanoi in Vietnam.

Vinacomin has the rights to develop Vietnam’s coal assets in the Red River Delta area, which has an estimated 30 billion tonnes of coal based on exploration undertaken to date.

Under the Business Cooperation Contract, the companies agreed to undertake a four-stage project to verify the feasibility of exploiting the coal assets via UCG for both power generation and Gas to Liquids (GTL) production. Following the finalization of local approvals and initial civil works by Vinacomin, Linc Energy expects to commence construction of a UCG field in the Red River Delta area in the second quarter of 2009.



Will be interesting to see how U.S. firms respond to this. An impressive feat considering that many other firms are struggling with CTL

BTW, with CTL we're talking about a phenomenally low EROEI.


I agree that using air-driven syngas to produce synfuels is impressive indeed. But, I think that the EROEI with UCG might be a little better than usual CTL processes.

Just for comparison sakes, 20,000 bbl/d liquids approximately is equivalent to 7-8 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE)/year.
Exxon Mobil's production last year was ~1600 MMBOE whereas Sasol's synthetic liquids production was ~60 MMBOE.


If the Aussies can succeed in scaling up UCG from this demonstration facility to commercial scale, it could have a dramatic impact on the Australian economy.

30-something large 20,000 bbl/day facilities could replace all Australia's expensive imported crude oil with local synfuel estimated at $17 to $50 per barrel.

UCG used to fire modern CCGT electricity generating plant could also reduce Australia's CO2 emissions by improving thermal efficiency compared to old power stations.

Extract from wikipedia entry:
"Underground coal gasification allow access to more coal resources than economically recoverable by traditional technologies. By some estimates it will increase economically recoverable reserves by 600 billion tonnes[9]. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory estimates that using UCG could increase recoverable coal reserves in the USA by 300%. According to Linc Energy, the capital and operating costs of the underground coal gasification are lower than in traditional mining.[3].
UCG product gas is optimally used to fire Combined cycle Gas Turbine(CCGT) powerplants, with some studies suggesting power island efficiences of up to 55%, with a combined UCG / CCGT process efficiency rate of up to 43%. CCGT power plants using UCG product gas instead of Natural Gas(NG) can achieve much higher outputs. In particular, this increase in efficiency over pulverised-coal-fired power stations (and associated upstream processes) results in a large decrease in GHG emissions.
UCG product gas can also be used for synthesis of liquid fuels at a predicted cost equivalent to US$17/bbl"


Interesting point about the efficiency of the UCG/CCGT combo. The wiki article does not have any references supporting the 17 $/bbl claim on liquid fuels from UCG. If we consider CO2 sequestration as well ($30/T CO2), the costs do not add up. Do you happen to know of any references?

At a recent coal conference I was at, folks from LLNL seem to think that any new UCG project in North America will probably need to have a CO2 sequestration strategy in place to go through the permitting process.

Henry Gibson

Australia produces and sells both coal and uranium to foreign buyers. There is no question that nuclear reactors produce less CO2 per unit energy released than any other fuel based unit. If CO2 release is taxed, then Nuclear energy is the cheapest for almost all purposes.

The perjorative phrase "addicted to oil" actualy must be expanded to be addicted to energy. Australia is merely a "drug" pusher if it continues to not use nuclear energy to reduce its own CO2 production, but sells uranium abroad. At least Australia should buy two or three CANDU reactors from its relative Canada.

With only "one!" major reactor accident ever and total "used" fuel amounts that could fit into a single large tanker, nuclear power produces less damage to the environment than any other power source including wind and solar.

There are economically sufficiently safe ways of limiting damage to humans from used fuel radio-activity. Motorcycles are not required to be armoured with a ton of steel. There is no way of eliminating exposure to radio-activity. It has been proven relatively very unsafe in terms of human life, to use the oil and coal that we use. The airplane industry has proven to be far more dangerous than nuclear as have passenger ships.

It is not widely known that humans must eat radio-active food to survive and expose other humans and animals to their own radioactivity. Every kilo of human mass has about fifty nuclear explosions in it every second right next to the DNA.

If a Chernobyl type reactor had been built five hundred feet below Wall Street, the explosion would have not required the stock market to stop trading and there would have been no fire.

Nuclear reactors can supply heat at far less cost than they can supply electricity because very high pressures are not needed. They should be buried below every major city for the equivalent of geothermal energy. No big cooling towers are needed nor are large quantities of cooling water used. All heat is sent up to be used for both heating and adsorbtion air-conditioning. The whole city becomes the "cooling tower". They can be quite small.

Only the desire for highest steam turbine efficiency requires both large turbines and the requisite large reactor. In many cases the large turbine has proved to be false economy because a failure may cause a total service interruption for more than a year.

Small reactors can be made that will operate un attended for years if not for decades.

Reactors should be used to supply heat for any liquid fuel manufacturing facility.

All talk about energy return on energy investment, EROEI, is rendered null and void by the refusal of many highly advanced nations to use nuclear energy that has the highest EROEI of any heat source including solar. The end cost to the consumer is what is important. The burning of natural gas at the oil well head that continues in some place to this very day causes that oil has a very low EROEI. The massive fields of gas flares are mostly a thing of the past but if it is added up over the years including past years it would make the EROEI of oil over the years far worse than "dirty coal" delivered to power plants.

The speculatively high price of oil that world govenments allowed to happen, is the major cause of the economic crisis. Cheap energy is needed for an advanced civilization economy.


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