Panasonic to boost Li-ion battery output in China; looking for reductions in manufacturing expenses
Effect of cloud-scattered sunlight on earth’s energy balance depends on wavelength of light

Groundbreaking set for TransGas Coal-to-Liquids project

The Mingo County Redevelopment Authority (MCRA) and its partner TransGas Development Systems, LLC will conduct a groundbreaking ceremony on 9 May 2011, to launch the construction phase of the Mingo County coal-to-liquids project, to be called Adams Fork Energy. (Earlier post.)

The Adams Fork Energy plant will convert regional coal into 18,000 barrels (756,000 gallons) per day of premium grade gasoline. The facility was permitted by the State of West Virginia’s DEP based on PRENFLO PDQ gasification technology provided by Uhde, a wholly owned company of the ThyssenKrupp Group.

For synthetic gasoline production, Uhde uses ExxonMobil’s Methanol-to-Gasoline (MTG) catalytic process. (Earlier post.) Methanol is produced from the syngas, and then converted to gasoline. The conversion of methanol to hydrocarbons and water is virtually complete, Uhde says, and essentially stoichiometric in the process.



CTL and GTL can begin the process and then go on to BTL. This is SO easy to do, just add money and presto. But there is the rub, getting the money.

Can you imagine an investment bank considering underwriting a stock or bond offering on an alternate fuels company? Then they get a call from Exxon headquarters in Houston asking what the heck they think that they are doing?

The bond business from Exxon is about to go to someone else, where the management decisions about business activity is more in keeping with Exxon's philosophies.


BTL is entirely possible & even likely at this plant...but long after the coal is gone at the nearby mine & the economics of transporting coal to the facility becomes less attractive than transporting in the biomass (like miscanthus pellets or something). However, the coal WILL run out eventually, with biomass you just replant & harvest year after year.


I have no problem with coal in West Virginia or Montana going to make fuels. If I were a coal company I would rather sell value added fuel at $3+ per gallon than coal at $40 per ton.

With biomass to methanol and MTG, gasoline can be made close to the biomass source. Timber companies and farmers can make a lot of money making fuel using smaller more modular plants.

Money is the big factor, not technology. Farmers can make as much money from the corn stalks to fuel as they can from selling the corn grain. But the farmers would have to band together in a cooperative and they tend to be an independent group.

Henry Gibson

The US could provide all of its gasoline and diesel for hundreds of years with its coal and even very bad coal can be used. Most people do not know that the basis of a thriving economy and sufficient food for people is cheap energy. ..HG..


Coal to Liquid might sounds like a good move for coal states like Wyoming, Pennsylvania or Georgia, the problem is that Fisher Tropsh reactors are very capital intensive and very expensive to run, they consume humongous amount of water and release twice as much CO2 in the atmosphere for every unit of gas produced compared to gas made from oil.

So the problem is that the oil price has to be steady above 100$ but if you start to produce significant amount of gas this way you start to put pressure on the gas price. So that's a delicate balance and explain why so far investors have been extremely cautious with this technology despite its proven track of record (in South Africa for example)

Alex Kovnat

I'm not overwhelmingly enthusiastic about coal, but I'd like to put in a suggestion: If there's lots of natural gas available from "fracking", then we should consider co-processing of natural gas and coal (along with biomass such as wood, if available) to produce liquid fuels. Natural gas is rich in hydrogen (being predominantly CH4), while coal is deficient in hydrogen. So if we co-process coal and natural gas in a syngas-producer, we may be able to get a CO-H2 mixture with the right proportion of H2 without using steam in the gasification process.

Another possibility is to reform natural gas to produce hydrogen, then use the hydrogen to hydrogenate coal.


Using coal with natural gas is a good way to go. IGCC plants supplemented with natural gas can generate huge amounts of electricity and lots of synthetic fuels.

Account Deleted

plants supplemented with natural gas can generate huge amounts of electricity and lots of synthetic fuels.

Opel Chevrolet Yedek Parça


Are you trying to be some kind of jerk? What is your problem?


CTL can be the most polluting way to get liquid fuel.


You have to watch the video at the Transgas website. If the project is built as proposed in the video, CO2 byproduct will be piped to the gulf region for enhanced oil recovery. It may be energy intensive but when you're sitting on some of the world's biggest coal deposits, it's not much of an issue (until the coal is gone obviously). In the end it's probably cleaner vs. imported fuel from the middle east and it's win-win for American energy.


The governor of Montana wants to turn coal into diesel and use the CO2 to get more oil out of older wells. You notice the price of this plant is $3 billion, that is not much for an oil company, but a lot for others.

The comments to this entry are closed.