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Syngas Engages Rentech and GE for Clinton Coal and Biomass to Liquids Project in Australia

Overview of CBTL process. Source: Syngas. Click to enlarge.

Australia’s Syngas Limited has engaged Rentech to provide Fischer-Tropsch fuels production preliminary engineering services for Syngas’ proposed commercial scale coal and biomass to liquids (CBTL) fuels facility in Southern Australia, known as the Clinton Project. This work builds on the Clinton Project Pre-Feasibility Study outcomes released in April 2009 by Syngas.

The Clinton Project is a large-scale coal-to-liquid (CTL) project with non-food carbon neutral biomass providing supplementary feed (CBTL) as part of the Company’s carbon management plan. The Clinton Project involves a fully integrated diesel production process, comprising onsite coal and biomass gasification; onsite power generation to meet process requirements; and Premium Diesel production, using Fischer-Tropsch technology. Access to five core proven technologies underpins the commercial scale development of the Clinton Project:

  1. Gasification (Syngas production);
  2. Power Generation;
  3. Fischer Tropsch (Premium Diesel/liquid production);
  4. Dewatering/Drying; and
  5. Gas Conditioning.

Projected output of the Clinton Project is a maximum 13,000 barrels of diesel per day (15,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day or 5.3 million BOE per year); 62,000 tonnes per year of sulfur for industrial use; 350,000 tonnes per year of granular slag for use in road base/building products; up to 114MW of power during peak periods; and potentially potable water for local use.

Syngas projects about a 10% ROI at US$60/barrel of crude, which higher returns at higher oil prices.

The preliminary engineering services will review use of Rentech’s Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology for the production of ultra-clean synthetic transportation fuels from synthesis gas (syngas) derived from fossil and biomass resources by the Clinton Project.

The work to be performed by Rentech is expected to commence in the first quarter of calendar year 2010, and comprise more specifically of:

  • Heat and Material Balance (HMB) for the FT unit;
    • Battery limit stream data;
    • Utility requirements;
  • Block Flow Diagram;
  • Preliminary Plot Requirements; and
  • Budget Level Cost Estimates for the FT Unit.

Syngas says that the agreement with Rentech is a further step forward in terms of securing access to proven technology and could lead to a licensing agreement with Rentech for its FT technology. This agreement also underscores the Syngas strategy of developing key relationships with providers who have operational expertise to contribute in the development of the Clinton Project.

  • In October, Syngas signed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) with General Electric Company and General Electric International Inc (GE), covering how Syngas Limited will work exclusively with GE during the Clinton Project Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS), in relation to the shared objective of moving to a contract for supply of GE power plant technology for the power generation component.

  • In August, Siemens completed a Feasibility Engineering Study for Syngas that found that Clinton coal ash fusibility temperature is within Siemens gasification technology operating parameters. Additionally, the Clinton coal fluidizes well. Expectations are that there will be good suitability of the coal for pneumatic flow conveyance. Collectively, these results confirm the coal’s suitability for gasification by Siemens technology, as previously reported.

    Performance estimates conducted as part of the FES work indicated the syngas would comprise of approximately 85 vol.% (dry basis), returning a greater than expected gasifier capacity of 116,000 Nm3/hr.

    The foundations for Basis of Design (BoD) and integration across the two other core technologies, was firmly established allowing this work to commence. Syngas said it looked forward to continuing to work with Siemens well into the future, as the development of the Clinton Premium Diesel Project continues to gather pace and proceed.

The Project is located 120 km north west of Adelaide, in South Australia. It is in close proximity to well established infrastructure including the national electricity grid and rail network.



Alex Kovnat

The more biomass they use and the less coal, the better. Unless however, carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere isn't really a problem. I hope its not, but if it is I'm not enthusiastic about coal.


"Syngas projects about a 10% ROI at US$60/barrel of crude, which (with) higher returns at higher oil prices." sounds viable.


Coal / biomass gasification to CHP would be a better idea


I feel the same way as Alex, but then reality kicks back and hope is a much harder call.

In the final analysis we are - each - all we can trust

As a 'Babe in the woods' when it comes to climate sciences I bow to those whose work informs the rest of us.

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