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Accelergy and Yankuang Group to conduct feasibility study for large-scale hybrid coal-to-liquids plant in China; targeting 68,000 barrels of fuel per day

Pathways for producing liquid fuels from coal. The Accelergy/Yanjuang plant would combine the indirect (F-T) and direct pathways. Source: EMRE. Click to enlarge.

Accelergy Corporation (earlier post) is partnering with the Yankuang Group, one of the largest coal companies in China, on a feasibility study for a joint, large-scale, low-carbon, hybrid—i.e., incorporating both direct and indirect liquefaction technologies—coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant. The plant will produce approximately 68,000 barrels of fuel per day; construction of the project is intended to start as soon as feasible.

The facility, located in Erdos in China’s Inner Mongolia Province, will utilize a hybrid configuration of Accelergy’s direct Micro-catalytic Coal Liquefaction (MCL) system (licensed from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company) and Yankuang’s proprietary Fischer-Tropsch indirect liquefaction.

In indirect liquefaction, coal is first gasified to form syngas, which is then converted to liquids by means of a catalyst and Fischer Tropsch (FT) chemistry. By contrast, direct liquefaction uses pressure, heat and a catalyst to crack the coal to make liquids. In a 2009 presentation to NETL, John Winslow and Ed Schmetz of Leonardo Technologies called direct liquefaction the “sledge hammer approach”, as opposed to the “engineered” approach of indirect liquefaction.

They also noted that direct liquefaction efficiency may be higher than indirect technology and that direct liquefaction may have a better carbon footprint than indirect technology.

By incorporating Accelergy’s TerraSync terrestrial sequestration system—a carbon capture and recycle process—the integrated project will achieve a thermal efficiency in excess of 60% and achieve a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions, according to Accelergy.

In the TerraSync process, produced CO2 passes through a photobioreactor that is growing concentrated algae. The algae is derived from locally available cyanobacteria, harvested from soils adjacent to the facility. Once the growth cycle is complete, the algae is blended with proprietary additives to produce a bio-fertilizer which is then distributed on crops, continuing to capture CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows.

The facility—Accelergy’s first commercial coal-to-liquids facility in China—will produce a mixture of distillate fuels including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Accelergy recently began fuel production at its pilot facility at the Beijing Research Institute for Coal Chemistry (BRICC), which is the only testing facility that can certify coals for Accelergy’s large-scale coal-to-liquids projects.

Yankuang Group will be leading the feasibility study effort. The company is engaged in various sectors, but focuses its coal operations on production, sales and coal-to-chemicals. Its subsidiary company, Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited, is listed on New York Stock Exchange, Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange.

We aim to increase coal utilization efficiency, reduce CO2 emission and add to the development of an integrated circular economy.

—Zhang Minglin, vice general manager of Yankuang Group Company Limited

Currently the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, China’s output for coal-to-liquids is expected to jump from 1.5 million tons in 2010 to 30 million tons in 2020, according to a recent report on the global CTL market from Market Avenue.

Accelergy says that its Direct Liquefaction process offers China a solution that produces less carbon dioxide than traditional petroleum refining and has a significantly higher overall efficiency than conventional CTL technologies.


Account Deleted

Coal to liquids is the most CO2 intensive way of fuel making. Just as coal for electricity production emits twice as much CO2 per kWh produced when compared to using natural gas. China is already consuming 50% of the world’s coal because it is a big economy and because it chooses coal over less polluting alternatives. 80% of China’s electricity is made from coal.

China’s energy policy is totally irresponsibly and unacceptable because it is leading to dangerous levels of global warming and destruction of ecosystems everywhere on the planet. China’s energy policies are on track to cause severe droughts and desertification all over the planet.

To be sure, China is already the worst CO2 emitter on the planet when measured as CO2 emissions per unit of their gross domestic product. China is also on track to emit more CO2 per capita than the EU average (no later than 2013) even though China’s economy per capita is still only 20% of EU’s per capita. However, China is the world’s second largest economy and they can easily afford to pursue a more responsible energy policy that replaces coal with less polluting alternatives such as natural gas and wind power.

EU should tell China but also the US at every international meeting from now on that their energy policies endangers the world and its ecosystems. In terms of the global environment these two nations and in particular China has become a liability instead of an asset for our common planet.

Source for coal burning in China see page 32.

Source for global CO2 emissions by country

Source for GDP per capita for China and EU see

Alex Kovnat

Henrik: China deserves our gratitude for not abandoning nuclear power, as Germany has decided to do. Nuclear power plants cannot be built as rapidly as coal-fired power plants, so given the understandable aspirations of the Chinese people for a better life than they had under Mao, China will be burning a lot of coal for a while. Hopefully some of their coal-fired power plants will in time be replaced by nuclear power.

Account Deleted


The welfare of China’s people is very much on my mind as I care equally for citizens all over the world. However, China’s reliance on coal is not good for its people or the rest of the world. Coal mining in China causes thousands of death in the coal mines every year and tens of thousands of Chinese are diagnosed by cancer each year caused by breathing smog from coal burning power plants. Change that to natural gas and wind power and China could become a much better country for its citizens and save the rest of the world from a climate catastrophe.

Nuclear is unfortunately not safe enough as witnessed by the Chernobyl and the Fukushima events. Did you know that Fukushima was very close to run completely out of control and that this worst case scenario would have required the evacuation of 30 million Japanese. If this scenario had happened the global economy would experience a new Great Depression on par with the one in the 1929 to 1933. Moreover, nuclear power leaves mountains of radioactive waste that future generations for thousands of years to come will have no choice but to spend a lot of money to safeguard. In other words, nuclear power in its current form is also totally irresponsible and unacceptable as it endangers people on a massive scale. I think we need to develop nuclear fusion technology before nuclear power becomes a viable energy source and that will take at least 50 more years of R&D. Meanwhile it has to be wind power, biofuels and natural gas.


Source for mass evacuation in Japan

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