TransGas Development Systems to Build $3B CTL Plant in West Virginia; 6.5M Barrels of Gasoline Per Year

Flow diagram of the PRENFLO gasification process with direct quench (PDQ) to be used in the TransGas plant. Click to enlarge. TransGas Development Systems LLC (TGDS) plans to build a $3B coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant in Mingo County, West Virginia, according to company announcement made during the West Virginia Energy Summit.... Read more →

Synthesis Energy Systems Enters JV with YIMA for Coal Gasification in China; Financing Key, as SES Halts Synthetic Gasoline Project in US

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES), a gasification company, entered into a primary joint venture agreement with YIMA Coal Croup, a China integrated coal company, for the development of a coal gasification plant which will provide syngas feedstock for the downstream production of transportation fuels and chemicals intermediates in Henan Province,... Read more →

Researchers Propose Dual-Bed Configuration to Increase Efficiency and Reduce Emissions from Coal Gasification

Scheme of the gasification process with air using two reactors. Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS Researchers in Italy are proposing a new dual-bed configuration for coal gasification that, in laboratory simulations of Coal-to-Liquids production, is 71.1% more energy efficient; increases the mass yield of synthetic fuel by 39.4%; and releases... Read more →

RAND Study Concludes Oil Sands Synthetic Crude Can Be Cost-Competitive with Conventional Petroleum Even Over a Wide Range of CO2 Prices

Estimated unit costs of SCO from steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) with upgrading, with and without CCS, and of conventional crude oil in 2025, versus different costs of CO2 emissions. Click to enlarge. Source: RAND A new report from RAND concludes that in 2025, synthetic crude oil (SCO) produced from oil... Read more →

Synthesis Energy Systems Options Up to 15 Methanol-to-Gasoline Technology Licenses for Coal-to-Gasoline Projects

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES), a gasification company, has entered into an agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company that provides SES the option to execute up to 15 Methanol-to-Gasoline (MTG) technology (earlier post) licenses at its U-GAS coal gasification plants globally. MTG is one of several pathways for converting... Read more →

New Life-Cycle Analysis Concludes Neither GTL or CTL a “Reasonable Path” for Energy Security With Reduced GHG Emissions

High- and low-GHG emissions scenario for FT fuels. Click to enlarge. A new life-cycle study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) concludes that the use of either coal- (CTL) or natural gas-based (GTL) Fischer-Tropsch (FT) liquids will likely lead to significant increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to... Read more →

DARPA Soliciting Research Proposals for Zero CO2, Lower-Water CTL Technologies

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) soliciting research proposals for new technologies for the conversion of coal to liquid (CTL) hydrocarbon fuels that are more environmentally friendly and cost-competitive with petroleum-based fuels. Specifically, DARPA is looking for processes that generate no... Read more →

Altona Resources Signs MOU with CNOOC on Arckaringa CTL Project in South Australia

The Arckaringa CTL and cogen project is situated close to a major rail line and highway, and is targeting exports to Asia as well as domestic use. Click to enlarge. Altona Resources Plc, an Australia-based energy company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CNOOC (Beijing) Energy Investment Co.,... Read more →

Crow Nation Signs Agreement for CTL Project in Montana

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, a proponent of coal-to-liquids projects, joined tribal leaders of the Crow Nation as well as executives from Australian-American Energy Company (AAEC) in announcing that the tribe and company have formed a partnership to move forward on a coal-to-liquid facility and a new mine to be located... Read more →

CONSOL Energy and Synthesis Energy Systems Form JV for Coal-to-Liquids Plant to Produce Methanol and Gasoline

Conceptual rendering of the Benwood CTL plant. Click to enlarge. CONSOL Energy Inc., the US’ largest producer of bituminous coal, and Synthesis Energy Systems Inc. (SES) have formed a joint venture—Northern Appalachia Fuel LLC (NAF)—to develop their first US coal gasification and liquefaction plant to be located near Benwood, West... Read more →

Alter NRG Proposing Canada’s First Coal-to-Liquids Project

Cross-section of the WPC Plasma Gasification Reactor. Click to enlarge. Alter NRG Corp. is proposing a Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) project that will use the company’s coal reserves in the Fox Creek Area of Alberta, Canada as a feedstock to produce synthetic diesel fuel and naphtha. The project, with a targeted production... Read more →

UDRI, AFRL to Open Research-Scale Facility to Develop Synthetic Jet Fuel From Coal and Biomass

With a $10-million seed grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) will collaborate with AFRL to construct and operate the country’s first federal research facility designed to create jet fuel from coal and biomass in a program aimed at creating a viable... Read more →

Senators Introduce Bill to Increase Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Production; Coal-Derived Fuel Mandate

US Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced the American Energy Production Act of 2008 (S.2958) to increase domestic production of oil and natural gas and to fund the development of oil shale and coal-to-liquids technology. Eighteen other senators co-sponsored. Included in... Read more →

BP Reinforces Commitment to China With Series of Agreements; Coal Conversion, Wind, Acetic Acid

BP has signed a series of agreements in China involving the strategic integration and commercialization of coal conversion technologies; wind power generation; and world-class acetic acid production. The British Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown and the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, as well as officials from both the British... Read more →

DKRW Selects ExxonMobil’s Methanol-to-Gasoline (MTG) Technology for Coal-to-Liquids Project

MTG is one of the pathways for converting syngas to transportation fuel. Both the Fischer-Tropsch and MTG processes are 3-step processes. Thermal efficiencies are essentially governed by the thermal efficiencies of the syngas production process and feed. Click to enlarge. Source: ExxonMobil and Uhde DKRW Advanced Fuels (DKRW) has selected... Read more →

Coal-to-Liquids Producer Forms JV for Algae Bioreactor for CO2 Conversion

Linc Energy Ltd, the Australian company developing the Chinchilla Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) to Gas to Liquids (GTL) facility (earlier post and earlier post), has formed a joint venture with BioCleanCoal Pty Ltd to develop an algae bioreactor for the conversion of process CO2 into oxygen and biomass. The joint... Read more →

US Task Force on Unconventional Fuels Completes Plan; Calls Situation Urgent and Targets 7M Barrels Per Day by 2035

Unconventional fuels objectives for 2035. Click to enlarge. The Task Force on Strategic Unconventional Fuels, established by the Secretary of Energy under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, has completed an integrated strategy and program plan to coordinate and accelerate the commercial development of strategic unconventional fuels within the United... Read more →

NetJets Launches Climate Initiative, Funding for Low Net GHG Synthetic Jet Fuel Project

Petroleum-based jet fuel is a mixture comprising approximately 20% n-paraffins, 40% iso-paraffins, 20% naphthenes (cycloparaffins), and 20% aromatics. Click to enlarge. Source: Air Force Research Laboratory NetJets, a private aviation company serving the US and Europe, has launched a multi-faceted initiative to reduce the environmental impact of aviation, including funding... Read more →

House Hearing Explores Potential of Coal-to-Liquids Fuels

Conventional oil and alternative fuel supplies under four global warming emission limitation scenarios produced by Battelle. Restrictions on greenhouse gases push the mix away from coal and more to biomass. Click to enlarge. Source: Hawkins testimony. Members of the US House of Representatives’ Science & Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy... Read more →

NETL and USAF Release Study for Conceptual Coal+Biomass-to-Liquids Facility; Offers Lower Carbon Footprint than Petroleum Refining

Block flow diagram for the corn stover scenario. The study analyzes the use of three biomass feedstocks: stover, switchgrass, and woody biomass. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL) and the US Air Force have released a study that concludes that a facility capable... Read more →

US Senator Outlines Four-Point Plan for Accelerating Coal-to-Liquids

At a recent conference in West Virginia on prospects for coal-to-liquids convened by the Coal-to-Liquids Coalition (CTLC), US Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) outlined a four-point plan for “realizing the full potential” of CTL. The CTLC includes coal producers, technology developers, labor unions and a range of potential consumers and other... Read more →

Researchers Exploring New Refinery-Based Coal-to-Liquids Pathways for Jet Fuel and Other Products

Researchers at Penn State University are investigating several coal-to-liquid processes that differ from traditional direct (Bergius) and indirect (Fischer-Tropsch) liquefaction. The new pathways could introduce coal-derived chemicals or coal into existing oil refinery operations for the production of end products including jet fuel, gasoline, diesel, heating oil and carbon anodes.... Read more →

US Air Force Certifies 50% Blend of Fischer-Tropsch and JP-8 Fuel for all B-52H Aircraft; All Airframes to be Certified by 2011

The US Air Force has certified a 50:50 blend of Fischer-Tropsch synthetic fuel and JP-8 for use on all B-52H aircraft. The announcement by Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne marked the formal conclusion of testing on this aircraft. The Air Force plans to test and certify every... Read more →

BP and LLNL Sign Technical Cooperation Agreement on Underground Coal Gasification for Fuels Production

Layout of a UCG well for the LLNL CRIP process. Click to enlarge. BP and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have signed a technical agreement to work cooperatively on the development of underground coal gasification (UCG) technology for the in-situ conversion of coal deposits into fuels and other products. At... Read more →

Update on the US Senate Energy Bill, Part 3; 44 Billion Gallon RFS, $10.2 Billion for Lower GHG Coal Projects

The conventional and advanced biofuels portions of the original language and the new Coleman amendment. Click to enlarge. Although the volume of new amendments introduced to the energy bill under discussion on the Senate floor decreased on Friday, there were several major proposals. An amendment (SA 1612) by Senator Norm... Read more →

CMU: Plug-in Hybrids “More Sensible” Use of Coal Than Coal-to-Liquids

Comparing life cycle CO2 emissions from plug-in hybrids, coal-to-liquids gasoline, and conventional gasoline. Click to enlarge. A study from the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center (CEIC) concludes that while enacting policies to subsidize the production of coal-to-liquids transportation fuel would enhance national security by lowering oil imports, encouraging plug-in hybrids... Read more →

Linc Energy and Shiv-Vani Sign MoU for Indian Underground Gasification and Coal-to-Liquids Projects

Australia’s Linc Energy Ltd. has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Shiv-Vani Oil & Gas Exploration Services Ltd. to establish joint ventures for the development of underground coal gasification (UCG) and coal-to-liquids (CTL) projects in India. Shiv-Vani is the single largest oil and gas upstream services provider in India.... Read more →

Defense Department Contracts for 315,000 Gallons of Fischer-Tropsch Jet Fuel; Air Force Targeting 50% Synfuel Use (Domestic) by 2016

The US Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) has awarded a contract for 315,000 gallons of synthetic jet fuel to Shell Oil Products. The estimated contract value is approximately $1.1 million and the period of delivery is 1-31 August 2007. This purchase supports the US Air Force Synthetic Fuel Initiative, which... Read more →

SES and Golden Concord Sign Joint Venture Contract to Build Coal Gasification, Methanol and DME Plant in China

Synthesis Energy Systems, a coal gasification company, and Inner Mongolia Golden Concord (Xilinhot) Energy Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Golden Concord Holdings Ltd., a private provider of electricity, steam and chilling water in China, have signed a co-operative joint venture contract to build an integrated coal gasification plant and methanol... Read more →

Federal Legislation Would Change Clean Air Act to Bar States from Setting Greenhouse Gas Standards for Vehicles

Legislation under discussion in the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce would, if eventually enacted, amend the language of the Federal Clean Air Act to block states from establishing standards to limit the emission of greenhouse gases from automobiles. The discussion draft of legislation submitted by Subcommittee on Energy... Read more →

Peabody and Rentech Enter Into Development and Coal Supply Agreements for First Commercial US Coal-to-Liquids Facility

Peabody Energy has entered into agreements with Rentech, Inc. to fund up to $10 million of engineering and development costs for Rentech’s planned coal-to-liquids project in Illinois and to supply the facility with nearly 1 million tons of coal annually. As part of the agreements, Peabody has an option to... Read more →

DOE Releases Feasibility Study for Conceptual Coal-to-Liquids Facility in Midwest

Process diagram for the CTL plant. Click to enlarge. The US DOE Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has issued a report that examines the feasibility of a commercial 50,000 barrel per day coal-to-liquids (CTL) facility in the Illinois coal basin. The report, Baseline Technical and Economic... Read more →

US Representatives Introduce Coal-to-Liquids Legislation; CO2 Restrictions Part of the Proposal

Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), Chairman of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee, and Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), this past week introduced a bill to promote the use of coal-to-liquids (CTL) transportation fuels. The legislation would establish price certainty to provide incentive for investment in CTL facilities. The legislation introduced by... Read more →

SES and YIMA Sign Agreement for Coal-to-DME Plant in China

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES), a coal gasification company, and Yima Coal Industry Group Co., Ltd. (YIMA), a large Chinese integrated coal company, have signed a preliminary agreement to establish a joint venture company to build and operate a new integrated coal gasification to methanol to Dimethyl Ether (DME) plant.... Read more →

Sasol Outlines its Process for Fischer-Tropsch US Military Fuel

Comparison of synthetic BUFF fractions for Sasol and Syntroleum JP-5 products. Click to enlarge. Source: Sasol The Office of the US Secretary of Defense (OSD) has been working on an Assured Fuels Initiative since 2001, the goal of which is to catalyze commercial industry to produce cleaner-burning fuels for the... Read more →

GAO Peak Oil Report Highlights Challenges in Transportation Sector

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has published a report examining peak oil, exploring (1) when oil production could peak, (2) federal agency efforts that could reduce uncertainty about the timing of peak oil production or mitigate the consequences, and (3) the potential for transportation technologies to mitigate the consequences... Read more →

MIT Blueprint for Coal Identifies Carbon Capture and Sequestration as Essential

Process flow diagram for coal-to-liquids production with associated carbon dioxide emissions. Click to enlarge. Leading academics from an interdisciplinary MIT panel issued a report last week that examines how the world can continue to use coal in a way that mitigates, instead of worsens, the global warming crisis. Led by... Read more →

Researchers Propose Hydrogen-Augmented Fischer-Tropsch Processes; More Product, No CO2

One of the possible configurations of the proposed H2CAR process. Click to enlarge. Purdue University chemical engineers have proposed a modification to the conventional biomass- or coal-to-liquids Fischer-Tropsch process that could, by their calculations, produce sufficient fuel for the entire US transportation sector. Their process, however, relies on an abundant... Read more →

Chinese Academy of Sciences Makes Recommendations for Non-Petroleum Energy Sources; Focus on Electric Transportation and Substitute Fuels

A panel of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Academic Divisions recently issued a report recommending medium- and long-term development strategies for energy sources that can supplement or substitute for petroleum in China. The report gauges the future development trends of energy sources both in China and the world, making... Read more →

US Air Force Plans to Certify All B-52s for GTL-Blend Use by End of Year; On the Ground, More Electric Vehicles

If detailed analysis of flight test data and physical inspection prove out, the US Air Force plans to certify its entire B-52 bomber fleet for use of a GTL-JP8 blend by the end of the year. The Air Force recently concluded its flight and ground tests of the 50-50 GTL... Read more →

Headwaters and CONSOL Energy Form Alliance to Explore Coal-to-Liquids Developments

Headwaters Incorporated has formed an alliance with CONSOL Energy, Inc. to investigate development of coal-to-liquids (CTL) plants utilizing CONSOL Energy’s eastern and western coal reserves. Headwaters’ proprietary Fischer-Tropsch catalyst can be used in an indirect coal liquefaction plant to convert coal-derived syngas into synthetic diesel and other fuels. The company... Read more →

Sinopec and Syntroleum Announce Joint Technology Development Plan for GTL/CTL in China

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) and Syntroleum Corporation (Syntroleum) announced more details on their recently-signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on the development and marketing of Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) and Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) technology in China. (Earlier post.) The MoU establishes a joint technology development effort to advance GTL and... Read more →

South African Researchers Planning Coal-to-Liquids Plant in China

Researchers from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Centre of Material and Process Synthesis (COMPS) are planning to build a pilot coal-to-liquids (CTL) project in the Shaanxi province in China. The R75-million (US$10.5-million) pilot project is expected to be 30% more efficient than the current technology and will consist... Read more →

Syntroleum and Sinopec Sign MoU for GTL and CTL Plants in China; $100 Million to Flow to Syntroleum

Syntroleum and Sinopec have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to advance Fischer Tropsch (FT) technology in China, based on Syntroleum’s proprietary nitrogen-diluted synthesis gas conversion technology. Syntroleum CEO Jack Holmes made the announcement during the fourth-quarter earnings conference call. The deal would see the construction of a commercial-scale Gas-to-Liquids... Read more →

Siemens to Supply Coal Gasification Technology to Shenhua Group for DME Project; Shenhua Expanding Direct Coal Liquefaction Plant

Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd. (SNCG) in China has awarded Siemens Power Generation (PG) a €30 million (US$39 million) contract for two entrained-flow gasifiers with a thermal capacity of 500 MW each and further key equipment for a coal gasification plant. SNCG is a subsidiary of the state-owned... Read more →

Syntroleum and Marathon Execute New Agreement for Coal to Liquids

Syntroleum’s FT reactor is indifferent to the source of syngas. Click to enlarge. Syntroleum Corporation and Marathon Oil Company have struck a new definitive license agreement that replaces the original Master Preferred License Agreement for Syntroleum’s gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology, and it establishes a limited master license for Syntroleum’s coal-to-liquids (CTL)... Read more →

CTL Producer Enters into Long-Term Contract for Fischer-Tropsch Diesel Sales with Sinclair Oil

Medicine Bow Fuel & Power LLC, a subsidiary of DKRW Advanced Fuels LLC, has entered into a long-term contract to sell 100% of the ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel from its planned coal-to-liquids (CTL) facility in Medicine Bow, Wyoming, to Sinclair Oil Corporation, which will market the fuel in the Rocky Mountain... Read more →

BNSF Railway Considering Coal-to-Liquids Plant in Montana

The Billings Gazette reports that the head of BNSF Railway Co. has sent an engineering team to Montana to analyze a possible coal-to-liquids project. In September 2006, BNSF and Tenaska, an independent energy developer, announced they were conducting a joint feasibility study including the exploration of multiple locations for the... Read more →

BASF and Toyo Partner in Marketing Coal Syngas Purification System

Toyo Engineering Corporation and BASF have entered into a cooperative agreement to market and sell a gas purification technology specifically designed to purify synthesis gas streams for use in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plants or for processing for chemical and fuel products. The technology, which will be marketed... Read more →

Senators Re-Introduce Coal-to-Liquids Legislation

US Senators Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) have re-introduced a piece of legislation that would help create the infrastructure needed for large-scale production of Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) fuel in the US. The proposed “Coal-To-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007” is based on the bill first introduced by Senators Bunning... Read more →