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TransGas and SK E&C team on West Virginia coal-to-gasoline project

TransGas Development Systems, LLC announced an agreement with SK Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd (SKE&C) leading to engineering, procurement and construction of its first US coal-to-gasoline plant—Adams Fork Energy—to be located in Mingo County, West Virginia. (Earlier post.) SKE&C is the Engineering & Construction arm of South Korea-based SK Group.

The Adams Fork Energy project will convert regional coal into premium-grade gasoline, producing 18,000 barrels per day (756,000 gallons US, 2.86 million liters). When fully developed, the Adams Fork project will be the largest coal-to-gasoline project in the world, according to Adam Victor, President and CEO of TransGas Development Systems.

The project team has been issued a permit to construct by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and plans to begin work on the site during the second quarter of 2011.

The plant will have several process components. First, coal is gasified to produce synthesis gas, using Uhde PRENFLO PDQ gasifiers. The synthesis gas will then be cleaned to remove impurities, turning most into marketable byproducts. Next, the synthesis gas will be converted into methanol, which in turn will be converted into gasoline utilizing ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company’s (EMRE) MTG process. During the operation of the integrated facility, air emissions are expected to be so low that it will qualify as a minor source under US law.

SKE&C’s experience includes Korea’s largest oil refinery; the Cadereyta and Madero Refinery upgrades in Mexico; and full-scale refinery projects in Kuwait, UAE, Brazil and Ghana.



How does this transformation, cost and mine to wheel GHG, compare with todays fossil fuels?


I don't think the GHG is a significant consideration here. What IS a consideration, is energy independence - most Americans would probably much rather have gasoline from coal vs. gasoline from the middle east. Another consideration is prolonged chronic 10% U.S. unemployment when our president & the democratic party told us it wasn't going to get over 8%. I support U.S. energy, jobs and sound science.


From the article linked in the post: "Put in proper perspective, less than fifty Adams Fork facilities nationwide would eliminate 100% of America's need to import foreign gasoline, create over 150,000 US jobs and move the United States toward becoming a net exporter of gasoline."


Somebody can't do arithmetic. The USA burns about 9 million bbl/day of gasoline; it would take around 500 such plants to do the job.

Also, the use of W. Virginian coal means mountain-top removal mining. Only underground mines should be allowed, and return-to-contour mandated.


Coal mining is very destructive to the environment. Not only do they destroy mountains and watershed, when coal is processed, it pollutes the air and also leaves huge piles of poison ash residue. If we come to depend on coal to also power our ICE car, God help us!


If coal companies own land that includes mountaintops, why shouldn't they be able to mine it using mountaintop mining? If the government or anyone else wants to preserve the mountaintops, they should buy the land from the coal companies. There is already a vast amount of mountaintop land under government and non-coal company control --- they can simply buy more of it from the coal companies to preserve it. As for the other pollution - that can be minimized and mitigated. If we can replace all our imports with gasoline from coal, and create new jobs for our American brothers and sisters in West Virginia, I'm 100% in favor of it.


Yes, let us use mountain top coal mining, tar sands operation, shale gas and other destructive methods to get liquid fuel to feed our addiction for gas guzzlers.

Why shall we care about living things as long as as gas guzzlers are kept in operation.

This type of attitude could be included into INSIDE JOB.

We should know by now what uncontrolled deregulation can do. That was tried from 1980 and up to the 2008 meltdown. The worldwide damage exceeds $20T and we are not out of it yet. Rogue unregulated industries promote swindler activities and generate greed, fraud, speculation and shallow deals. Small investors and tax payers lost $20+T in the current financial bubble. Will we ever learn?


"Yes, let us use mountain top coal mining, tar sands operation, shale gas and other destructive methods to get liquid fuel to feed our addiction for gas guzzlers."

Gas guzzlers are LEGAL - if they are so dangerous horrible, BAN THEM. The problem is where we get the fuel (terrorist supporting regimes), not the vehicles themselves.

"Why shall we care about living things as long as as gas guzzlers are kept in operation."

????. If anything, big vehicles protect living things (human beings) better than little deathtraps.

"This type of attitude could be included into INSIDE JOB."

?????? I don't understand this comment.

"We should know by now what uncontrolled deregulation can do. That was tried from 1980 and up to the 2008 meltdown. The worldwide damage exceeds $20T and we are not out of it yet. Rogue unregulated industries promote swindler activities and generate greed, fraud, speculation and shallow deals. Small investors and tax payers lost $20+T in the current financial bubble. Will we ever learn?"

Who is proposing to deregulate anything? How is this rogue and unregulated? This is an awesome project that needs to be developed further.


This method has its limits, we would need to double coal production to even begin to make a difference. Trading one fossil fuel for another might reduce imported oil, but it is NOT sustainable.

Henry Gibson

The exporting of massive amounts of money from the US for liquid automobile fuel was the major trigger for the credit crunch that destroyed the world economy. Just put a tax of 1 dollar a gallon on imported crude and the coal to gasoline market will survive quite well, and the price of gasoline will be quite low. Cities with increased housing subdivisions permanently destroy much more useful open ground than coal mines.

If natural gas is available in large quantities at a cheap price, it can also be converted into gasoline at the same factory with lower carbon impact than crude oil. Cars with a small compressed natural gas tank but a large gasoline tank are one of the best CO2 saving hybrids.

By the time coal is in short supply in a hundred years or more, people will have discovered that an infinitely large supply of gasoline can be made with the use of nuclear energy and recycled CO2 and water. France already is testing the production of hydrogen with excess night electricity, but this would be better used in Duron sodium car batteries from GE.

Even now, Very Cheap nuclear reactors without generators can be used to supply much of the heat needed to convert coal into gasoline or recover bitumen from sand or oil from shale.

People, trees and all other live things have always been naturally radioactive, so live cells have repair mechanisms that already repair much more damage from oxygen. Be afraid of oxygen not depleted uranium. A Coke can will hold all of the uranium and more for all of the energy needed for your divided share of the energy used on earth, and there is already a functioning waste depository in the US that is fully legally approved. It is not mentioned because the oposition to YUCCA mountain needs to be used for getting more votes.

WIPP can store even the most highly energetic nuclear materials from the military reactors, and a duplicate or expansion could be used for storing fuel rods for a few decades until the 95 percent remaining energy is needed.

The Carter imposed nuclear fuel use if applied to gasoline would have you pour 19 gallons out of twenty on the ground. This increases the volume of fuel rods and other fuel remnants to be 35 times the volume needed. All of this can be used in known reactor types and many to be invented ones, including the Rubbia reactor. The fuel in used US fuel rods it so energy rich that it has to be diluted to be used in CANDU reactors as the chinese are now testing. ..HG..


synthesis gas is produced by reacting coal with steam, resulting in synthesisgas + pure CO2 (and some SO2 but no N2). Thus, the CO2 can relatively easily be compressed and stored somewhere. If this is done, this fuel will be less carbon-intensive than petroleum-based fuel.
Adding renewable hydrogen could increase fuel production per amount of coal, but wouldn't even improve the carbon intensity (since eventually every fuel-carbon atom will end into the atmosphere). But that's of course only if the do sequestrate the CO2.
However, it's much cheaper to store this CO2 than to capture the CO2 of conventional coal plants.

Moreover, these fuel-plants could equally be fed with biomass, which could eventually make the fuel carbon-negative. Economical rules dictate that the only thing the government must do for this, is to make biomass cheaper than coal.
The government could easily mandate that a certain percentage of the feed is biomass, and could increase this percentage yearly according to the availability of biomass.
If at the same time they do capture the (already concentrated) CO2, the plants could earn carbon credits !

This could be very good or bad. The politicians can decide.


Longtime fossil liquid fuel over use is one (but by no mean all) of the critical inbred problems afflicting the US economy. Resistance to change, to lighter more frugal and/or electrified vehicles, will have to be resolved before significant reduction in liquid fuel consumption is realized. That may take 2 to 4 decades.

Meanwhile, more and more (made in USA) INSIDE JOBS will continue to undermine USA's economy. With an extended downward economy, the real value of the US $ will continue to go down, Imported fossil fuel will cost more (in US $) in the near, mid and long term future.

Alternative local liquid production of up to 9 million barrels/day, special with food crops, is not a good sustainable solution.

Progressive but accelerated electrification is a far better solution.

Doubling the current nuclear power generation may be justified in the next 20 years. Doubling it again in the following 20 years may also be justified. Modular, transportable, smaller units could be an important part of the program.


Alain that's a great point about mixing in biomass. There is a basic schematic of their process here ...go to the 7th slide. Miscanthus pellets might be a good option. About a year ago I read about tobacco farmers switching to miscanthus to eventually turn into pellets to sell to power plants - the land is suitable for it where it's not so good for other crops, and they can use the same equipment they used to plant tobacco to plant the miscanthus. The story I read is about a year old so they are still working on it.


People seem to forget that this process needs syngas, removing coal via mtn top is only one way to get syngas the cheapest way is to use underground coal gasification, after you extract all the coal bed methane of course.

Most of the Coal in North America is too deep to mine economically but is ideally suited for UCG. The Soviets and now Uzbekistan have used UCG since the 1970's 85% of the coal that is unmineable is endemically suited for UCG on the order of 1.2 Trillion Tons let that number sink in trillion with a capital T at the current production rate of 1.2~1.5 barrels of refined products per ton of coal this is over 100+ years of US energy needs even as the sole source of USA liquid fuels, the coal bed methane is also a significant source of energy as well small scale microchannel FT reactors can monetize these remote stranded CBM and subsequent syngas sources.

Supply of water is not an issue as the FT process generates sterile fresh water as a byproduct, and the CBM dewatering process generates brine that can be flashed to steam for use in the hydrogasification of the coal at depth to produce the syngas product. The FT process is itself exothermic and generates significant quantities of steam the processes are synergistic.

We lack the will as a nation to use our natural resources to there full potential it could be because the Saudi's have financial controlling in interest in all 6 major media networks. If the Greens would get out of the way we have sufficient reserves for hundreds of years of use here under our feet that technology is just now opening up for economic consumption. Tomorrow's election will usher in the adults again and progress will move forward on our energy situation, we need to before China calls our debt in and forces a debasement of our currency in a bidding war for oil on the world market that the Saudis will be all to happy to profit from.

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