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Progress on Oxford Catalysts, SGCE Demo BTL Plant with Microchannel FT Reactor Skid

A biomass-to-liquids (BTL) demonstration plant jointly operated by the Oxford Catalysts Group and the Portuguese incorporated holding company, SGC Energia (SGCE), for the small scale distributed production of biofuels has achieved some significant commissioning milestones, according to Oxford.

The demonstration facility, which is mechanically complete and undergoing start up at the biomass gasification facility in the pioneering eco-town, Güssing, Austria, includes a gas conditioning unit supplied by SGCE and a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) microchannel reactor skid developed by the US-based member of the Oxford Catalysts Group, Velocys, Inc.

The plant, with full length process and coolant channels, will use gasified woodchips from the existing Güssing gasifier as a feedstock. SGCE is responsible for the overall project management and demonstration plants activities, as well as the full costs.

The gas conditioning unit which purifies the syngas coming out of the gasifier has now been fully installed and pre-commissioned—with the required checks, system adjustment, equipment and system activation necessary to prepare the facility for operation now complete.

The next stages will include tests to confirm the stability of the coupled operation of the gas conditioning unit and the FT microchannel reactor. During the final phase, which is expected to begin in the summer, the performance of the integrated gas conditioning unit and FT microchannel reactor will be evaluated under a wide range of operating conditions. This will be followed by an extended steady-state run of at least three months.

SGCE says it intends to place its first commercial order with the Oxford Catalysts Group following a successful demonstration at Güssing.


Henry Gibson

They also should do tests on gas produced from natural gas methane. This would be a compact way of converting flared natural gas to liquid fuels and also the methane from landfills and digesters.

During WWII, a Swedish man developed an automatic very efficient gasifier for charcoal which has been mostly forgotten. Several such units could be used for making gas for a FT unit. His unit could be started in a few seconds and automatically adjusted to a wide range of load and incorporated tar destruction and ash separation. It the modern world it could even be started with an alloy coil similar to the heaters in some diesel engines.

Every bit of a cornfield crop could be fed into a gasifier and then into the FT unit for a liqid output. This liquid can actually be burnt without futher processing in large piston diesel engines. The gases fom the FT process are just recycled through the gasifier.

Many such gassifiers and FT units should be built at the opencast and other mines of the US and China to convert the waste coal first to gas and then to liquids to reduce the expense of crude oil imports. ..HG..


When you have a consistent input, gasifiers can be run cost effectively with less maintenance. Make methane, methanol, ethanol, gasoline, kerosene or diesel...your choice.

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