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Wits COMPS and Golden Nest Commission China F-T Plant

The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa (Wits) COMPS (Centre of Materials and Process Synthesis) and Golden Nest recently commissioned and began operations of the Baodan Liquid Fuels Plant in Baoji, ShaanXi Province China. The plant will produce liquid fuels, such as diesel and gasoline, using a Fischer-Tropsch process fed by syngas from coal gasification.

The COMPS Golden Nest project was initiated in September 2004, and the construction of the plant was completed in January 2008. The plant uses advanced Fischer-Tropsch technology developed by Wits COMPS. The COMPS team has also developed a pilot plant for Linc Energy in Australia.

The Wits COMP F-T technology, which relies on a combination of a fixed bed catalytic system and an interconnection of units implementing a one-pass process, is modular and scaleable, and offers a lower capital cost than traditional F-T plants, with lower requirements for water and approximately 30% less CO2 output.

The ability to implement a one-pass process eliminates the need for equipment required for the conventional recycle-based systems, such as upstream air separation for gasifications, reformers for recycling methane from the tail gas and gas separation for the recycle process.

In September, Canada-based G4G Resources formed a wholly owned subsidiary—Alternative Fuels Corporation (AFC)—to produce synthetic fuels from municipal waste and stranded natural gas using the Wits COMPS F-T technology.

G4G says that it is working towards an exclusive agreement to implement the Wits COMPS technology throughout the world.



This new modular technology means that smaller, more efficient plants can be built to use smaller resources, such as municipal waste sites.
Wits uses the analogy of the transition from mainframe computers to personal computers.

Quote from the Wits website:
"The plant is based on novel technology developed by COMPS at the University of the Witwatersrand. This novel modular technology has the potential to significantly reduce the CO2 emissions from processes that make synthetic fuel. The process also uses less water than other competing technologies. The exciting new technology also reduces the capital and operating costs of the plant. The COMPS technology can be used for syngas derived from any source including coal, natural gas, biomass, shale oil and even municipal waste.

When computers were first introduced, the first generation in general use were mainframes, while today most computing is distributed and being done with personal computers. Chemical plants have traditionally been built as mega plants (mainframes), and what we are pioneering through this pilot plant is the personal computer equivalent of a chemical plant.

This means that smaller, more efficient plants can be built to use smaller resources, such as municipal waste sites, and avoid concentrated sources of pollution and the energy losses inherent in large distribution networks for the products to the consumers."


I'm a bit mystified as to how the CO2 emissions can be reduced by 20% - the Alternative Fuels Corporation website has this explanation:

"How does this technology compare to the Conventional Fischer Tropsch Synthesis Technology?
Conventional Fischer Tropsch technologies make use of a pure oxygen feed with a large process recycle. This requires the inclusion of such capital intensive items such as cryogenic air separation and reformer units. These impact on, not only the capital and operating costs of the process, but also increase the CO2 emissions of the process. The elimination of this equipment permits a significant cost saving as well as a reduction in the CO2 emissions by as much as 20 %.
The only difference between pilot fixed bed reactors and full scale reactors is the number of tubes in the reactor shell."

Henry Gibson

It is good that such a unit is built. Such things cannot be built in the US to protect the ethanol producers. A large number of such units that make methanol are needed to protect the US people from US government incited and allowed speculation on gasoline prices.

The peole who complain bitterly about the increase of CO2 caused by the process as compared to oil do not really know how much CO2 is released in the pumping, processing and transporting of oil. These people are seldom found filing lawsuits against GM for selling SUVs or home builders for building very large homes.

Nuclear reactors can supply the electricity, and the coal, that is no longer burned, can supply the rest of the fuel needs for plug in hybrid vehicles. ZEBRA batteries have already been shown satisfactory for PHEVs and it can be done well even with cheap lead. ..HG..

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