Southern Research Institute wins $1.5M DOE award to test new coal-biomass-to-liquids method; seeking to reduce cost and environmental impact
Southern Research Institute has entered into a $1.5-million cooperative agreement with the US Department of Energy to test an innovative method for producing liquid transportation fuels from coal and biomass, thereby improving the economics and lifecycle impacts of coal-to-liquid (CTL) and coal-biomass-to-liquid (CBTL) processes.
The novel approach eliminates the conventional Fischer-Tropsch (FT) product upgrading and refining steps and enhances the ability of CTL and CBTL processes to compete with petroleum-based processes.
We hope the project will advance CTL and CBTL processes by demonstrating a cost-effective, novel FT catalyst that selectively converts syngas derived from the gasification of coal and coal-biomass mixtures predominantly to gasoline and diesel range hydrocarbons, thereby eliminating expensive upgrading operations.
We will evaluate the impact of adding moderate amounts of biomass to coal on CBTL products and process economics, and compare the carbon footprint of CBTL processes with petroleum-based fuel production processes.—Dr. Santosh K. Gangwal, Southern Research principal investigator
The Southern Research team includes research partners from Southern Company Services and Nexant Inc. The project will implement a full coal and coal-biomass to liquids bench-scale FT synthesis reactor system to produce liquid transportation fuels using a selective, wax-free FT catalyst provided by Chevron.
Gangwal says the research team will use an existing demonstration scale coal gasifier at the DOE’s National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) in Wilsonville, Ala.—an air-blown transport gasifier (also known as TRIG) operated by Southern Company Services—as the source of both coal and coal-biomass derived syngas.
Southern Research is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization conducting basic and applied research in Alabama, Maryland, and North Carolina in the areas of drug discovery, preclinical drug development, advanced engineering, and environmental protection.