California-based Carbon Sciences, Inc. says it plans to act as the project developer for a US-based gas-to-liquids plant that will use ExxonMobil’s proprietary methanol to gasoline (MTG) process to convert methane into gasoline.
Carbon Sciences says it will design its plant to produce gasoline cost-effectively from the thousands of available small- and medium-size natural gas fields. The first generation GTL solution integrates proven technologies, including the ExxonMobil MTG process. The company says it is also developing a proprietary technology to enable a second-generation GTL solution that will produce even cleaner gasoline by using captured CO2or low-value, high-CO2 content natural gas as part of the process.
Our first project must be absolutely ‘bankable’ to obtain the necessary project financing. This means selecting proven technologies, processes, engineering firms and suppliers to build a highly predictable operation for the production of gasoline.
While we will be using ExxonMobil’s MTG process for the last stage, the first and most expensive stage of transforming natural gas into synthesis gas (syngas) and then into methanol is every bit as important. There are a number of world-class providers available to assist us with that part of the project, including Air Liquide. They offer the Lurgi MegaMethanol process, an advanced technology for converting natural gas to methanol at low cost in large quantities. The syngas production section accounts for more than 50% of the capital cost of a methanol plant. Optimization of this section will yield significant cost benefits.
We are continuing to develop our proprietary CO2-based technology to enable a second generation GTL solution that will produce even cleaner gasoline by using captured CO2 or low value, high CO2 content natural gas as part of the process. Our first GTL project will allow us an opportunity to test our technology, which can then be used in subsequent projects.—Byron Elton, CEO
Carbon Sciences said it is considering various options for the supply of natural gas, including selecting a natural gas resource holder to partner in the venture. Determining the actual site of the production plant will be a function of the location of the natural gas supply, as well as local interest in a project that will create a substantial number of new jobs.