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China’s Yitai Group CTL Plant Produces Diesel and Naptha in Trail Run

China’s Yitai Group’s 160,000 tonne/year coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has produced qualified diesel oil and naphtha in its trial run.

Construction of this indirect coal liquefaction project started in 2006 with a combined investment of near 2.7 billion yuan (US$395 million). Zhang Shuangwang, chairman of Inner Mongolia Yitai Group, said that the company plans to put this facility into full operation this year.

Inner Mongolia Yitai Group plans to upgrade the facility and apply advanced technologies and extend its annual production capacity to 600,000 tons with ultimate capacity of five million tons. It is estimated that China will have 30 million to 50 million tons of CTL production capacity by 2020.

The cost of product oil from indirect coal liquefaction stands at around US$50 per barrel with the cost to be reduced to $40 per barrel through economies of scale, improvement of catalysts and deployment of stepwise liquefaction technologies.

Technology supplier Synfuels China is working on advanced Fischer-Tropsch synthesis featured by partial hydrogenation of slurry at mild condition with 24-ton/day of pilot plant to see trial operation by the end of 2009.

Jointly founded in 2005 by the Institute of Coal Chemistry, Inner Mongolia Yitai Group, Shenhua Group, Lu’an Group, Xuzhou Mining Group and Lianshun Energy Co., Ltd., Synfuels China developed indirect coal liquefaction technologies and has provided technologies to three CTL demonstration plants in China.




If projections that China is near or past peak coal are correct, moving to CTL just makes China more vulnerable to disruptions of imports.  China's use of trucks rather than rail to move coal to powerplants is another weak point; a major upset could take China's energy systems down hard.

Maybe this is what the Tibetan protests should be aiming at.

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