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.