|From: Dennis Roth||6/30/2011 10:12:21 AM|
|China’s Coal to Liquids Program Not Allowed in the United States|
Accelergy Unveils Pilot Plant and Signals Move Into Chinese Market
First-of-kind facility at the Beijing Research Institute for Coal Chemistry will test Chinese coals and certify coal-to-liquids projects in China
June 29, 2011 10:24 AM Eastern Daylight Time
HOUSTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Accelergy Corporation, a global leader in the production of clean, high-grade, distillate liquid fuels, announced today that it has begun fuel production at its pilot facility at the Beijing Research Institute for Coal Chemistry (BRICC). The BRICC unit produces liquids that will subsequently be upgraded to specification products using Accelergy’s proprietary Micro-catalytic Coal Liquefaction (MCL) process and Chinese coal. It will produce all of the process information needed to support the design of large-scale coal-to-liquids facilities on a wide range of Chinese coals.
“China Coal Research Institute is dedicated to cooperating with large international energy corporations to develop coal liquefaction technology. Our mission is to commercialize the technologies that will make a major impact on the world energy industry”
Working with BRICC, the pilot plant is the only testing facility that can certify Accelergy's large-scale coal-to-liquids projects for permitting by the Chinese government, and marks the company’s move into the Chinese market.
“There is an incredible market opportunity for Accelergy’s technology in China, and together with BRICC we have developed a coal-to-liquids production facility that offers world-class capabilities,” said Tim Vail, CEO of Accelergy. “We’ve combined the most advanced and experienced groups in the United States with their Chinese counterparts to commercialize high efficiency coal conversion technology. By working closely with BRICC, we’ll explore the best options for the deployment of Accelergy’s technology, and will look to collaborate with leading Chinese coal producers to develop future projects throughout the country.”
Accelergy funded the renovation of the BRICC plant, which has processing capabilities for a wide variety of coals and will produce gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuels, making the company well suited to meet rapidly increasing demand in China for these fuels. Accelergy will utilize BRICC’s extensive testing resources in order to certify its fuels and begin the permitting process, with Chinese partners, for large-scale production facilities. BRICC has long played a critical role in the Chinese coal industry through the introduction of new technologies.
The China Coal Research Institute (CCRI), which oversees BRICC, was formed in the early 1980s, and is known worldwide for its expertise in coal research. Recently, CCRI played an important role in the commercial operation of the world’s first megaton direct coal liquefaction demonstration plant.
“China Coal Research Institute is dedicated to cooperating with large international energy corporations to develop coal liquefaction technology. Our mission is to commercialize the technologies that will make a major impact on the world energy industry,” said Mr. Qu Sijian, director of the China Coal Research Institute.
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’s CTL 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. The result is cleaner fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as traditional sulfur, nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions.
In May, Accelergy hosted a delegation of Chinese coal majors in the United States to tour the company’s existing production facilities in Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Montana. The company is currently in discussion with selected large-scale Chinese partners to launch CTL projects in China, with the first announcement expected by the end of 2011.
About Accelergy Corp.:
Accelergy is a global leader in producing ultra-clean synthetic fuels, promoting energy security by using domestic resources. Our proprietary catalytic technology significantly increases the efficiency of the Coal-Biomass-to-liquid process (CBTL) while significantly reducing greenhouse emissions. Based in Houston, Texas, Accelergy has established an international presence in partnerships with some of the world's leading energy companies. For more information, please visit www.accelergy.com.
Antenna Group for Accelergy Corporation
Caitlin Cieslik-Miskimen, 415-977-1922
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|To: Dennis Roth who wrote (1620)||6/30/2011 2:00:33 PM|
|From: Dennis Roth|
|Multibillion-dollar plant for B.C. shale gas proposed|
Talisman Energy and South Africa's Sasol launch feasibility study
By Gordon Hamilton, Vancouver Sun June 30, 2011
South African energy giant Sasol and Talisman Energy have launched a feasibility study into a proposed natural gas-to-liquids plant in Western Canada that could have a price tag as high as $10 billion.
The technical study, to be done by global energy engineering firm Foster Wheeler, is to determine the actual cost and the location of a plant to unlock the value of the 44 trillion cubic feet of shale gas deposits in the partners' northeastern B.C. assets, said Talisman spokeswoman Phoebe Buckland.
Talisman has already held talks with the B.C. government on the proposed plant, the B.C. energy and mines ministry confirmed Wednesday.
"It's a big project," Buckland said, "All those sorts of conversations around where is most attractive to build the plant, what makes sense from a labour force and skilled workers point of view, will be worked out through the feasibility study."
Buckland described the project as "very early days," but confirmed that work is underway on it. The plant would likely be close to the gas deposits, Buckland said. A decision on the planned facility is expected in the second half of 2012.
Besides the gas-to-liquids joint venture, the two companies are 50/50 partners in two shale gas assets in B.C.'s Montney basin near Dawson Creek. They are considering two options for the gas-to-liquids plant: a smaller one producing 48,000 barrels of fuel a day at a cost of $3 billion to $5 billion and a larger plant, producing 96,000 barrels a day for $6 billion to $10 billion.
The B.C. energy ministry has confirmed that it has held talks with Talisman on locating the facility in this province.
Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman was not available Wednesday to comment on the Talisman-Sasol proposal but in an email response to The Sun, a ministry spokesman said a gasto-liquids (GTL) plant would be a boon to the B.C. economy.
"To date there have been some informal conversations between B.C. and Talisman regarding a GTL facility in B.C.," the spokesman said. "B.C. is an excellent business location and a GTL facility would be of great interest because it would add value to our abundant natural gas reserves."
Sasol is a world leader in converting coal and natural gas to liquid fuels -synthetic fuels that can replace conventional fuels. The proposed plant would convert natural gas to products like naphtha, diesel and liquefied petroleum using Sasol's gas-to-liquids technology.
Sasol became involved in B.C. when it paid $1.05 billion in March for a 50-per-cent stake in Talisman Energy's Farrell Creek shale gas assets and on June 10 completed a second deal worth $1.03 billion for a 50-per-cent stake in Talisman's Cypress A gas assets. Both are in the Montney basin.
The sheer size of the shale gas reserves in B.C. requires domestic companies like Talisman to seek out joint venture partners.
Sasol was brought in to "help us to unlock the upstream value that's held in the Montney assets," Buckland said. "We are looking at an estimated 44 trillion cubic feet of net contingent resource there."
Natural gas prices have plummeted in the last few years with the development of shale gas, which is locked as tiny bubbles in shale formations. It is collected by using water pressure to fracture the shale. The gas then migrates to collection points.
Shale gas deposits are found throughout North America and have turned natural gas from a domestic resource into a global commodity. The overflowing supplies have forced prices down domestically. Prices are now hovering at $4.20 per million British thermal units, down from $13 in mid-2008. The price in Asia is significantly higher, averaging $11.60 per million BTUs in May.
Besides the Sasol-Talisman GTL proposal, there are at least three separate plans by other companies with a stake in B.C. shale gas to build liquid natural gas terminals on the West Coast to develop markets in Asian economies.
By converting natural gas into transportation fuels like diesel and jet fuel, the value of natural gas would be more inclined to track oil prices.
Gas-to-liquids technology was first developed in Germany in the 1920s and was used by the Germans during the Second World War to convert coal to synthetic fuel.
Sasol is the global leader in gas-to-liquids technology, but other energy companies are entering the field. Royal Dutch Shell just completed construction of a gas-to-liquids plant in Qatar at a cost of $19 billion.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
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|To: Dennis Roth who wrote (1657)||7/5/2011 11:48:21 AM|
|From: Dennis Roth|
|Airlines Intend to Purchase and Use Biomass Fuel For Their Fleets|
June 5, 2011
Seven airlines have signed an agreement with Solena Fuels LLC for the future supply and use of jet fuel taken exclusively from biomass to be produced in California.
Solena Fules Green Sky California biomass liquids facility in northern California will use post recycled urban and agricultural wastes to make up to 16 million gallons of jet fuel per year by 2015. The project is projected take approximately 550,000 metric tons of trash, that would otherwise end up in a land fill, and convert it to jet fuel with low emissions of greenhouse gasses. That is a double green whammy of recycling trash and reducing emissions.
The Solena Group uses its own patented plasma technology to convert all forms of biomass into clean renewable energy. Solena’s systems convert virtually any type of organic materials, including waste, into energy. Solena uses its patented plasma technology to license efficient, waste-to-energy plants around the world producing zero emissions.
The core of Solena’s three-step solution is the company’s patented Solena Plasma Gasification (SPG) technology. This patented technology is capable of producing a synthetic fuel gas (BioSynGas) from the thermal conversion of bio-based hydrocarbons. During the second step of the overall process, Solena uses the Fischer-Tropsch reaction to transform the syngas into light FT liquids and FT wax. The third step upgrades the FT products into jet fuel.
The Solena Group is not only operating within the limits of The Unites States. In 2010 British Airways announced that they were in a partnership with the group to establish Europe’s first plant for sustainable fuel. The idea being that the plant would be a first step in British Airways adopting and using alternative fuel in part of its fleet by 2014.
The seven airlines partnering with Solena Group are American Airlines, United Continental Holdings, Alaska Airlines, FedEx, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and US Airways. Additionally, Air Canada has expressed interest in Solena Group as well as Frontier Airlines and Lufthansa German Airlines.
Source: Gas 2.0 (http://s.tt/12MQl)
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|From: Dennis Roth||7/9/2011 9:14:15 AM|
|Development of IGCC plant holding NOx emissions below 70 ppm|
Jul. 08, 2011
TOKYO --Hitachi, Ltd. announced July 4 that it had developed a combustor for reduction of emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) from integrated coal gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants and for stable combustion of fuels containing high concentrations of hydrogen. By applying independently developed technology, the new combustor reduced NOx emissions to the regulatory standard of no more than 70 ppm. It also enables a reduction in emissions of CO2 by about 20% as compared to the case of conventional coal-fired plants.
Hitachi is hoping to commercialize the newly developed combustor by fiscal 2012, and to apply it in an IGCC demonstration plant by around the end of fiscal 2016. It intends to continue the development work with a view to assuring levels of performance and cost competitiveness even in plants on large scales.
Hitachi has adopted an oxygen-blown type of IGCC plant. This type facilitates CO2 separation and capture, and also makes it possible to manufacture synthetic fuel and chemical materials from the combustion product gas. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and certain other companies are developing an air-blown type of IGCC plant. Activity aimed at the commercialization of both types is gathering momentum.
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|From: Dennis Roth||8/4/2011 7:34:02 AM|
|The Future Of Cheap Energy: Underground Coal Gasification |
The Oil Drum | Aug. 3, 2011, 5:20 AM | 1,625 | 3
(This guest post by Rembrant appeared at The Oil Drum. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 U.S. License.)
Between 2000 and 2010 world energy use increased by 2.6 billion metric tons of oil equivalent per year. Of this increase, a little over half came from coal, and 72% of the coal increase came from China. The vast exploitation of Chinese coal, the cheapest source of electricity in the world, enabled western nations to benefit from both cheaper goods and outsourcing environmental issues, and for China to benefit from increasing goods exports and rising domestic consumption. Substantial doubt has risen, however, about the possible duration of this economic miracle since China now produces 48% of global coal and consumes around 3% of its reserves every year. How long will Chinese coal last?
The reserve limits for coal, for China as well as the rest of the world, can be postponed for several generations if the technology to gasify coal underground can be commercialized. Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) enables the access of deeper coal layers hitherto unavailable through conventional mining. Several modern pilot projects have been successfully completed in recent years and commercial projects are underway. This article gives an overview of present developments, the technology of the process, costs to produce electricity and liquid fuels from the syngas, and discusses environmental concerns. The article is informed by the excellent presentation given at the ASPO 9 presentation given by Marc Mostade, Technical Director of Clean Coal, and advisor to the UCG Association. The slides of that presentation can be downloaded here, and the video is available here.
The History and present Underground Coal Gasification activities
The technology of UCG is quite old as it was already developed in the 1920s and 1930s in the former Soviet Union. These activities resulted in several pilot plants and five industrial sized UCG plants in the 1960s, but efforts were abandoned as large natural gas discoveries made the process uneconomical. Today of these only the Yerostigaz plant owned by the Australian Linc Energy in Uzbekistan remains. Several trials were also undertaken in this period in Europe, documented in detail at the website of the UCG Association.
Figure 1 – An overview of UCG trials over time and their depth. Slide from a presentation given at the ASPO 9 Conference by Marc Mostade, Technical Director of Clean Coal, and advisor to the UCG Association.
The technology has gained substantial interest in the last ten years as fossil fuel prices increased and concerns over rising fossil fuel imports in Europe have grown. There are now over 30 pilot projects either operating or in the planning stage in more than 25 countries, including the U.K., Australia, the U.S., South Africa, and China. Of special importance are:
• The 1 km deep 5 MW coal pilot carried out by ENN in China that ran for 26 months. The Chinese government last month signed a 1.5 billion USD commercial partnership with the UK government for commercial development of the technology to be deployed in Inner Mongolia.
• The Swan Hills project supported by the government of Alberta in Canada that should start in 2012 and become operational in 2015. The 300 MW syngas electricity plant is intended to be equipped with a carbon capture and storage facility. The commercial project follows a trial project in the region which successfully gasified coal in-situ at 1.4 km’s of depth.
• The Chinchilla project in Australia operated by Linc Energy which since 2008 was combined with a Gas-to-Liquids plant to produce 20 barrels per day from the UCG syngas. The company is presently finalizing the engineering aspects to begin construction of a 20.000 barrels of oil equivalent per day UCG-GTL plant in 2012. Linc Energy claims it can commercially produce a barrel of oil equivalent at a price of 30 dollars.
The Technology of Underground Coal Gasification
The latest standard of the technology incorporates horizontal directional drilling. To obtain the gas two wells are drilled, an injection well which brings steam and oxygen or air underground to ignite the coal seam and maintain the process, and a production well which pumps out the raw syngas. Previously vertical wells were used which are difficult to connect and limit control over the formation of the underground cavity as they cannot be steered. Today's horizontal wells can be connected using a magnetic target and detector positioned in the tip of the wells. The injection well is retracted along the borehole to gasify the coal which flows to the production well. The process is monitored above ground based on measurements of pressure, temperature, gas flow rates, gas composition at the wells. These are informed by simulations carried out to model the process. The control of the process comes from the injection of the oxidant, as too low or a halting of flows will stop the process.
The produced syngas varies in composition depending on the coal quality and for a standard horizontal two well retractable injection point technique (CRIP) includes hydrogen (11-35%), carbon monoxide (2-16%), methane (1-8%), carbon dioxide (12-28%) and other smaller components. Specific alteration of the gasification system can also result in a variance of the syngas composition. Yang et al. (2008) published about a field test to manufacture hydrogen using a two stage gasification process with multiple steam injection points to raise the temperature. In the test syngas was succesfully produced with on average 50%+ hydrogen content with a range between 40% to 73%, and both CO and CH4 contents of over 6%.
Figure 2 – The Controlled Retracting Injection Point technique. Slide from a presentation given at the ASPO 9 Conference by Marc Mostade, Technical Director of Clean Coal, and advisor to the UCG Association
The process itself takes place in a coal seam normally saturated with water at hydrostatic pressure. There several processes take place including evaporation, pyrolysis, steam gasification, CO2 gasification, and direct hydrogenation, depicted in figure 3. To prevent the “reactor” from collapsing the process needs to take place in modules at a specified length, width, and depth, shown in figure 3. Thereby sufficient structural support is created both via the rock between the modules and by the under burden and overburden, similar to a large extent as the pillars created in room-and-pillar wall mining. Since the reactor is dynamic and its physical conditions depend on the type of coal and surrounding rocks these determine the possible size of a “module”.
Figure 3 – Qualitative description of phenomena occurring at the UCG cavity wall. Reproduced from Perkins (2005)
More information about the process can be found in a post written early 2010 by Heading Out at The Oil Drum.
The economics of Underground Coal Gasification
Several estimates have been made of the cost of an electricity plant based on UCG syngas. The main physical variables are the quality of the coal, depth and thickness of the coal seam, linking distance of the injection and production well, distance between the cavities, and sweep efficiency. The calculations based on theoretical and actual operations point to a cost range of 1 to 8 USD per GJ of produced syngas. The main cost variation is the usage of air or enriched oxygen for injection, the thickness of the coal seam, and the depth of drilling. The later two factors determine the number of wells that need to be drilled and their required length. Oxygen-blown gasification is preferred in case of adding Carbon Capture and Storage technology.
• The estimate of Marc Mostade of Clean Coal is a production cost of 2.5 to 4.5 USD per GJ of syngas, based on a 800 meter deep 500 MW thermal size UCG plant and a coal seam of 4 to 6 meters thickness at 800 meters of depth. The difference is caused by the usage of air-blown or oxygen-blown syngas. Information about the variables underlying his calculation can be found in his ASPO 9 presentation.
• Based on the Chinese ENN Pilot a total cost of 0.9 to 1.7 USD cents per cubic meters of syngas was documented, which translates into 1 to 1.9 USD per GJ of syngas assuming a higher heating value of 9 MJ/Nm3
• In 2007 GasTech carried out an analysis of costs based on coal in the US Powder River Basin using air-blown and oxygen-blown gasification. These were estimated at a cost of 1.5 to 2.4 USD per GJ of syngas.
• In 2011 the School of Public and Environmental Affairs of Indiana University calculated the production costs for air-fired syngas via UCG in the state of Indiana in the US at 4.6 to 7.7 USD per GJ of syngas for respectively syngas produced via enriched or air, assuming a coal seam thickness of 2 to 3.5 meters at 200 meters of depth or more.
These cost levels are when averaged equal to or below the present day price of natural gas in the US, EU and Asian markets, as shown in figure 4 below. The lower cost range is on par with today’s coal price on a GJ energy basis.
Figure 4 – Natural Gas Prices, European CIF, UK heren NBP Index, US Henry Hub and Canada Alberta from 1996 to 2010 based on figures from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, viewed against a rough 1 to 8 USD cents minimum and maximum UCG cost per GJ (in the figure translated into BTUs).
The costs of electricity produced with UCG based syngas were estimated in the study of the university of Indiana, shown to be highly sensitive to seam thickness as shown in table 1 below. The cost for a seam with 5 meters thickness was estimated at 5.2 to 6.4 USD cents per kWh, and a seam with 2.5 meters thickness at 6.4 to 8.6 USD cents per kWh, the lower and higher value caused by air or oxygen enriched injection. The average cost of electricity production in 2010 in the state of Indiana according to the report was 5.7 cents per kWh, which at present makes exploitation of UCG in Indiana economically difficult since only seams up to 3.5 meters thick are available at depths greater than 200 meters.
Table 1 - Sensitivity analysis of UCG based electricity with and without carbon capture and storage for Indiana. Source: Indiana University
The potential expansion of coal reserves from UCG
There are only preliminary and hence incomplete studies available of how much coal would become available if UCG becomes a commercial technology. The World Energy Council (WEC) estimates that total coal reserves in 2010 amounted to 860 billion including anthracite, bituminous, sub-bituminous and lignite coal. In 2007 the WEC released a coal reserve estimate based on studies from a number of countries including USA, Russia, China, India, South Africa, Australia as well as Europe. These countries and regions combined were estimated to have a potential of 565 billion tonnes of coal accessible by UCG, 52% of today's coal reserves.
These estimates are highly dependent on a number of variables especially the maximum depth of the coal seams extracted using UCG and whether offshore coal is included. For instance, a GasTech study of the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana included only coal reserves at a depth between 152 and 610 meters, and coal seams thicker than 10 meters. In the study it was assumed that deeper extraction below 610 meters and thinner seams would make the process uneconomical. In assuming a 65% recovery factor the study came to 200 billion tons of coal recoverable in the Powder River Basin, a substantially higher figure than the 138 billion estimated for the entire USA by the World Energy Council.
The figures become even more uncertain if also offshore coal comes into the picture which theoretically can be extracted easily with UCG. In the United Kingdom offshore UCG is taking a leap with five conditional licenses granted to Clean Coal Ltd by the UK coal authority in 2009 to investigate the potential for offshore UCG. These could turn into commercial operations by 2014/2015 giving access to 1 billion tons of offshore coal. At this stage the licenses are for relatively shallow offshore sites where the operating plant would be stationed just onshore and directional drilling takes place offshore, but there is no reason for deeper operations not to work unless the cost of the coal becomes too high. If UCG will prove to be economic in a couple of decades a large share of the estimated 3000 billion tons of coal that lie near Norway's coastline could be gasified. After their natural gas reserves are depleted Norway may still remain a gas exporting nation, but then via underground coal gasification.
The problem of carbon dioxide emissions
The major downside to UCG is that by prolonging the age of fossil fuels substantially it would cause human caused emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to continue, unless measures are taken to capture greenhouse gasses emitted from UCG syngas combustion. The costs of carbon capture and storage (CCS) from the UCG syngas are expected to be comparable to that of CCS of above ground gasification of coal in an integrated gasification combined cycle or IGCC power plant (Friedmann et al. 2009).
In an earlier post I discussed the IPCC special report on carbon dioxide capture and storage which estimated an additional 0.9 to 2.2 USD cents per kWh of electricity to install CCS at such an IGCC plant. This cost range is similar to an estimate of the University of Indiana which resulted in a cost range of 1.7 to 2.2 USD cents per kWh to add carbon capture and storage to a power plant run with UCG syngas, as shown in table 1 above. The additional costs are plausibly affordable for coal sites with a high seam thickness in comparison to non-CCS based gas power plants, especially in markets with high natural gas electricity costs such as Europe. Therefore adopting CCS would mean a restriction to use UCG at the most economic sites, reducing but not eliminating the potential adoption of Underground Coal Gasification.
Environmental concerns – groundwater contamination
In contrast to conventional mining there is no discharge of tailings, sulfur emissions are much reduced as well as the discharge of ash, mercury and tar as there is no handling of coal involved. There is one important problem that UCG has in comparison to conventional coal mining which is the hazard of groundwater contamination. Due to a lack of sufficiently high temperatures across the underground cavity there will be formation of carcinogenic coal tar. In above ground gasification of coal the temperature can be controlled in the reactor and is kept at high temperatures uniformly to prevent coal tar formation. If the underground cavity pressure is too high it can force some of the syngas and tar into the surrounding formation, thereby contaminating the groundwater. In case of a pilot in Hoe Creek north-eastern Wyoming groundwater contamination occurred due to the collapse of the cavity roof due to which water from a nearby freshwater aquifer mixed with the tar and rock ( Bell et al. 2011). Possible suggested solutions are to select coal seams not hydrogeologically connected to surface waters or wells, pumping contaminated water out for surface disposal, re-mediation after gasification, and/or lowering of the gasification pressure were possible:
“Water contamination issues can be reduced by gasifying at slightly less than the hydrostatic pressure. Water will tend to ?ow into the gasi?cation cavity, and ?ush coal tars into the gasi?cation zone and towards the production well. This strategy has been successfully demonstrated at the Chinchilla test burn in Australia. A low seep rate will provide steam to help gasify the coal. If the pressure is too low, the water ?ow rate will be excessive; and the heat required to evaporate this excess water will reduce the thermal ef?ciency of gasi?cation (Bell et al. 2011, p. 107).”
Such measures cannot fully remove all water contamination unfortunately since when the process is finished a cavity will fill up with ground water which mixes with remaining tar. This is not that much of a problem as it is a contained spill according to Bell et al. (2011) because the unburned coal can absorb compounds from contaminated water and inorganic rocks will buffer inorganic contamination via ion-exchange. That the problem is taken seriously can be understood from problems with the Cougar Energy project in Australia. The project was permanently suspended by the department of environment and resource management of Queensland in 2011. In March 2010 a well blocked and ruptured at the Cougar site resulting in the release of chemicals. By May 2010 elevated benzene and toluene levels were measured in two of the Cougar Energy groundwater measurement holes. Platts reports that this amounted to 2 parts per billion of benzene. In a response Cougar has stated it has since tested over 300 water samples which did not show any detection which exceeded drinking water guidelines. Two other UCG companies with projects in Australia, Carbon Energy and Linc Energy, are also under close inspection of the Queensland State Government. Linc Energy was found to fully comply with environmental regulations but Carbon has been charged for two incidents. One of the Carbon Energy incidents related to the spill of process water to a creek; the other related to unauthorized use of process water for irrigation. Neither relate to direct contamination of groundwater, but illustrate the need for government to scrutinize companies on their environmental standards.
The technology of underground coal gasification has been technically proven to work at numerous locations and different depths ranging from several hundred kilometres up to 1.4 km of depth. So far the economics look promising with costs competitive to natural gas markets and possibly also coal markets. Furthermore, a combination with gas-to-liquids technology would enable the production of fairly cheap synthetic diesel. These possibilities together with the potential to unlock vast new coal seams unavailable via conventional mining make UCG an important technology that could substantially extend the era of cheap energy. There are justified concerns over groundwater contamination which needs continuous attention of both companies and regulators. Finally, the technology does not solve the issue of carbon dioxide emissions as it provides only a marginal improvement over standard coal mining, unless implemented together with carbon capture and storage technologies.
Bell, D., Towler, B.F., Fan, M., 2011. Coal Gasification and its Applications. Elsevier
Friedmann et al., 2009. Prospects for underground coal gasification in carbon-costrained world. Energy Procedia 1. p. 4551-4557.
Yang et al., 2008. Field test of large-scale hydrogen manufacturing from underground coal gasification (UCG). International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 33. p. 1275-1285.
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|From: Dennis Roth||8/18/2011 7:49:17 PM|
|Sinopec and Syntroleum Announce Grand Opening of Coal to Liquids Demonstration Plant |
Aug. 1, 2011, 8:01 a.em. EDT
80 Barrel Per Day Plant Fully Operational
TULSA, Okla., Aug 1, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) /quotes/zigman/269314/quotes/nls/snp SNP -3.14% and Syntroleum Corporation /quotes/zigman/74066/quotes/nls/synm SYNM -9.01% announced today the grand opening of the Sinopec/Syntroleum Demonstration Facility (SDF) located in Zhenhai, China. SDF is an 80 barrel per day facility utilizing the Syntroleum-Sinopec Fischer Tropsch technology for the conversion of coal, asphalt and petroleum coke into high value synthetic petrochemical feedstocks.
Sinopec and Syntroleum entered into a technology transfer agreement in 2009. As part of the agreement, Sinopec relocated Syntroleum's natural gas fed Catoosa Demonstration Facility to the Zhenhai Refining and Petrochemical Complex in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province in China for joint technology demonstration and development. Upon successful completion of the Zhenhai program, Sinopec intends to build commercial scale coal and petroleum coke based Fischer Tropsch facilities using the Syntroleum-Sinopec technology.
"We are pleased to be working with Sinopec on the SDF," said Gary Roth, President and Chief Executive Officer of Syntroleum. "This facility will make a significant contribution to the global endeavor to pursue alternative feedstocks for growing economies."
China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) is the first Chinese company that has been listed in Hong Kong, New York, London and Shanghai. The Company is an integrated energy and chemical company with upstream, midstream and downstream operations. The principal operations of Sinopec and its subsidiaries include: exploring, developing, producing and trading crude oil and natural gas; processing crude oil into refined oil products; producing, trading, transporting, distributing and marketing refined oil products; and producing and distributing chemical products. Based on 2010 turnover, Sinopec is the largest listed company in China. The Company is one of the largest crude oil and petrochemical companies in China and Asia. It is also one of the largest gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and other major chemical products producers and distributors in China and Asia.
For additional information about Sinopec, please visit the Company's website at sinopec.com .
Syntroleum Corporation owns the Syntroleum(R) Process for Fischer-Tropsch (FT) conversion of synthesis gas derived from biomass, coal, natural gas and other carbon-based feedstocks into liquid hydrocarbons, the Synfining(R) Process for upgrading FT liquid hydrocarbons into middle distillate products such as synthetic diesel and jet fuels, and the Bio-Synfining(TM) technology for converting animal fat and vegetable oil feedstocks into middle distillate products such as renewable diesel and jet fuel using inedible fats and greases as feedstock. The 50/50 venture -- known as Dynamic Fuels -- was formed to construct and operate multiple renewable synthetic fuels facilities, with production on the first site beginning in 2010. The Company plans to use its portfolio of technologies to develop and participate in synthetic and renewable fuel projects. For additional information, visit the Company's web site at www.syntroleum.com .
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|From: Dennis Roth||8/18/2011 8:27:48 PM|
|Diesel from CTL with carbon capture at a cost of $53 / barrel |
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 in Feature Articles
UK company Altona Energy believes it can supply vehicle ready diesel at $53 a barrel (33¢ a litre), with a coal to liquids plant, incorporating carbon capture for underground carbon storage, with financial support from China. It has a site for a coal mine 800km North of Adelaide where the conversion of coal to liquids plant will also be located
Altona Energy of the UK has plans to develop a coal mine, coal to liquids plant, carbon storage and electricity generating plant on a site 800km North of Adelaide, Australia.
With financial support from China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), it believes it can provide road ready diesel at $0.33 a litre.
The coal to liquids process is often considered a dirty way to create vehicle fuels, because carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere both in the coal processing plant and from the vehicle.
But if the carbon dioxide from the coal processing plant is sequestered (buried underground), then the overall carbon emissions are just the same as for traditional motor fuels, but with the added benefit of much lower emissions of other pollutants (SOX, NOX, particulates), because they are removed in the processing plant, rather than coming out of the vehicle's exhaust.
So far, Altona has conducted an initial, or 'pre-feasibility' study, by engineering giant Jacobs Engineering. Now, at CNOOC's expense, it has embarked on a far more comprehensive study, known as a 'bankable feasibility study', or in other words a study so thorough a bank can lend money on the results. This study will cost Aus$440m (US$415m) and will be primarily completed in 2012 or early 2013.
Coal to liquids
In the coal gasification process, coal is reacted with oxygen and steam. The carbon in the coal is oxidised, ending up with a mixture of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapour and hydrogen.
The carbon dioxide is separated out, dehydrated, compressed and is ready to be sent to the carbon storage system. The hydrogen and carbon monoxide are sent to the Fischer Tropsch plant, where they are processed to form a liquid hydrocarbon which is then refined to produce diesel naptha.
If carbon storage is incorporated, running vehicles from synthetic fuels is arguably more environmentally friendly than conventional transport fuels. The carbon emissions from the vehicle itself are the same, but all of the impurities (for example sulphur) can be removed in the processing plant, not through the vehicle's exhaust. There are lower particulates in the emissions (small particles of unburnt carbon / soot), and less NOX emissions and also zero aromatics such as benzene.
Synthetic fuels are also 10 per cent lighter (in mass per kilojoule) than conventional fuels for the same energy content. This makes a big difference when putting them in aeroplanes - because it means that the plane can go 10 per cent further distance for the same mass of fuel.
The process to converting coal to liquid fuels on an industrial scale was first done in Germany, to provide liquid fuels for German equipment in World War 2. It was then further developed by SASOL in South Africa to provide liquid fuels during the apartheid era, when sanctions prevented delivery of oil tankers.
Currently coal-to-liquids is enjoying a resurgence due to high oil prices, the need to create a diversity of supply, and reduce risk of supply concerns. There are coal gasification projects underway in the US, UK, China, South Africa and South Korea.
Jet fuels produced by the coal-to-liquids process have been provided to airlines refuelling at Johannesburg and Cape Town since 1998, in a 50:50 mix (synthetic and kerosene).
In 2008, 100 per cent synthetic fuel was approved for aviation, and has been used since 2009 by Qatar Airways on its London to Doha route, sourced from Shell's Pearl gas to liquids project in Qatar, for the production of synfuels using Sasol technology.
In 2010, total worldwide synthetic fuels plants in operation exceeded 330,000 barrels per day, with an extra 270,000 barrels of oil per day plants expected to be operational in 2011, with US Air Force expected to complete 100 per cent certification of its whole fleet to use synthetic fuels blend, Altona says.
By 2030, the US Department of Energy has predicted that synthetic fuels consumption will be over 3m bopd, if sour crude oil price is over $57 a barrel.
It is therefore possible that coal to liquids could create a more viable financial pathway for carbon capture, or 'clean coal', than just using coal to make electricity.
If coal is used to make electricity, then investors and the public are faced with a simple charge for the carbon capture - do they want to pay around 20% more for electricity or not? Since many people care far more about their bank balances than they do about their carbon emissions, this could be a tough sell. (However the risk of price escalation of LNG, which is used in thermal power stations, as a lower carbon alternative to coal, is eliminated).
But if the coal is used to make a liquid fuel, then the public gets the option of liquid fuels for their vehicles which are cleaner and cheaper than conventional fuels. If the carbon dioxide from the coal processing is sequestered, then there are no objections about use of synfuels produced from coal.
Altona's project in the state of South Australia is known as the 'Arckaringa' project, because Arckaringa is the name of the coal basin.
The amount of mine-able coal in the basin has been estimated at 7.8bn tonnes, and this has already been verified as part of a detailed AU$440m study of the project, currently being conducted by CNOOC (see below).
The coal basin has been studied by geologists for decades, although previously there has not been any mine on the site due to techno-economics. Altona Energy has acquired rights to build an open cast mine on the site.
A railway line has been built in the past few years which passes through the basin, connecting Adelaide with Darwin, which could be used to transport coal or liquid fuels from the region.
Altona plans to mine 15m tonnes of coal a year. If the total resource is 7.8bn tonnes, this means the mine can operate for 520 years.
It will build a coal to liquids plant which will convert this coal to 10m barrels of diesel a year (equivalent to a 27,000 barrels of oil per day well).
It will also build a power station to provide the power necessary to operate the facilities as well as being able to export 560 MW into the grid.
The power supply will come in handy - South Australia currently has 2 power stations with total output of 750mW, and the region actually uses 3.5 gigawatts. There is an estimated electricity deficit of 1 GW for the region being forecast, says Altona's finance director Anthony Samaha. Being able to supply baseload power has helped get the Australian government's support for the project, he says.
Once the plant is built, the syngas production (hydrogen and carbon monoxide mixture) can be varied to the electricity generating plant, or the coal to liquids plant, according to the demands (and pricing) of the day.
To illustrate the importance of the project, the Arckaringa UEJV (Unincorporated Evaluation Joint Venture Agreement) - signed in June 21 2010 in Canberra, in the presence of the VP of China Xi Jinping, prime minister of Australia Kevin Rudd, President of CNOOC Fu Chengyu and Minister for Trade and industry South Australia Tom Koutsantonis.
"Arckaringa is a project as important to South Australia as North Dome (the world's largest gas field) is to Qatar,' says Peter Fagiano, executive director of Altona. Arckaringa has been described as 'one of the world's largest untapped energy banks,' he says.
Altona also plans to build a plant which will react carbon dioxide with hydrogen to form fuel grade methanol, which can be added to the local gasoline pool.
The gasification technology can be used to gasify biomass (for example, wood) as well as coal. This means that you could build a system which can actually take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and make electricity or liquid fuels at the same time. You grow trees to absorb the carbon dioxide, gasifying the biomass, and separating the resulting hydrogen and carbon dioxide, sequestering the carbon dioxide and using the hydrogen to make electricity or liquid fuels.
It can also gasify black liquor, a by-product from the paper and pulp industry - as well as sewage and municipal waste.
The gasification processing technology can make a range of plastics as well as liquid fuels, by the conversion of syngas into methanol, which can then be converted into olefins and finally polypropylene.
The plan is to store the carbon in an underground aquifer near the site, about 150km away, so the carbon dioxide can be transported by pipeline to the site.
The region is very low population (desert), so the company does not anticipate public concerns about underground carbon storage, as there have been in other countries which are densely populated.
So far a 2008 'pre-feasibility' study of the project has been made by US engineering giant Jacobs Engineering, which developed the design of the coal to liquids plant, which is estimated to have a refinery gate cost of $0.33¢ per litre (or $53/barrel) for diesel.
The $53 per barrel includes the cost of capital expenditure. Operating costs only are $38 per barrel.
According to the initial 'pre-feasibility' study, the plant (including coal gasification, coal to liquids plant, IGCC power plant and carbon storage) will cost $3bn to build, and the coal mine $500m.
Now, CNOOC is financing a full scale feasibility study into the project, with a cost of AU$440m (US$ 415m), and has been given a 51 per cent stake in Arckaringa coal asset in return.
Currently a CNOOC team based in Adelaide is looking at the mine and CNOOC in Beijing is looking at coal to liquids plant development.
The study is known as a 'bankable feasibility study' - in other words, the level of detail should be sufficient enough for a commercial bank to lend money based on the results.
Altona's full scale financial evaluation is based on costs of the 4th quarter of 2010. The re-evaluation of the coal resource by CNOOC and Chinese institutions was completed in Q1 2011, including the quantity and quality of coal. Now CNOOC's consultants are evaluating the plant project design.
Altona Energy has been listed on the UK's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) since 2006.
Altona Energy is 20.1 per cent owned by Tonjiang International Energy Co Ltd, a company whose CEO is Zheng Qiang, previously management at China Economic Commission, China Rare Earth office of the State Council Rare Earth Leading Group of the State Planning Commission. Mr Zheng introduced Altona to CNOOC and is also a non executive director of Altona.
UK investment company Investco Perpetual has a 17 per cent stake in Altona.
If the coal to liquids plant goes ahead, CNOOC can increase its interest in the overall project up to 70 per cent, with Altona owning 30 per cent. (CNOOC owns half of Arckaringa project licenses, so CNOOC would effectively own 85 per cent of the project). CNOOC would also provide debt finance for the whole project, including its own equity, leaving Altona needing to raise 15 per cent of the project costs.
Peter Fagiano, executive director of Altona, was previously director of operations for the process and technology division at Jacobs Engineering UK Limited. Parent company Jacobs Engineering is one of the world's largest project engineering firms. Mr Fagiano was also previously managing director of ABB Global Engineering UK & International Oil and Engineering Division.
Altona is the only coal to liquid company on the UK's Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
By buying a stake in Altona Energy, you also get a share of other projects the company might get involved with, with lots of possibilities for projects within China itself, says Altona's finance director Anthony Samaha.
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|To: Dennis Roth who wrote (1655)||8/22/2011 12:48:21 PM|
|From: Dennis Roth|
| National Geographic Features Carbon Sciences Company's Breakthrough Technology Viewed as the Key to National Energy Security |
Aug. 22, 2011, 11:19 a.m. EDT
SANTA BARBARA, CA, Aug 22, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Carbon Sciences Inc. /quotes/zigman/5345038 CABN -0.22% , the developer of a breakthrough technology to make gasoline and other fuels from natural gas and carbon dioxide, has been the focus of extensive media coverage by National Geographic and other prominent media outlets as the subject of natural gas as a potential source of transportation fuels increasingly captures the media's attention.
The use of natural gas to produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel offers the prospect of freeing the United States from its costly dependence on foreign oil. Carbon Sciences' breakthrough technology produces a "drop-in" substitute for gasoline and other transportation fuels, meaning that, unlike biofuels or compressed natural gas (CNG), it requires no costly engine modifications or changes to the fuel delivery infrastructure.
Moreover, natural gas, the raw material for producing transportation fuels through Carbon Sciences' technology, is abundant domestically: the United States has some of the world's largest reserves even without resorting to the controversial "fracking" drilling technology. The Carbon Sciences technology also uses CO2, the major constituent of greenhouse gases, as a feedstock, thus ridding the atmosphere of a harmful pollutant.
In an August feature in National Geographic -- "Carbon Recycling: Mining The Air For Fuel" -- Carbon Sciences makes the point that its process -- the CO2 reforming, or "dry reforming," of natural gas -- is a "game changer" because it consumes waste CO2: "We believe our approach will be the key to cost-effective transformation of greenhouse gases to fuel on a global scale," Carbon Sciences CEO Byron Elton is quoted as saying in the article.
"Our breakthrough catalyst continues to set new records," Elton continued in the article in the influential publication. "During our current run of tests in a commercial facility, we are experiencing conversion efficiency rates that are better than what we observed in the laboratory. The importance of this achievement cannot be overestimated as a high-performance catalyst is absolutely essential for making gasoline from natural gas."
In a recent AOL Energy op-ed, Elton addressed the U.S. supply of natural gas: "We have more than 2,000 trillion cubic feet of known reserves -- enough to meet the gasoline demand for decades using Carbon Sciences' technology without competing with current natural gas consumption. The supply of CO2 -- the other feedstock used in the process -- is virtually inexhaustible; the world is expected to produce more than 42 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030."
These are just two of the recent articles in which Carbon Sciences has been featured as the press increasingly turns its gaze on natural gas as a viable substitute for gasoline and other transportation fuels. Carbon Sciences is in the process of developing fuel for demonstration purposes and expects to license its technology to a strategic partner by the end of the year, with the goal of producing fuel on a commercial basis by 2013.
"The world is finally waking up to the fact that the era of cheap, easy oil is over," Elton said. "While we can eventually look to the development of renewables, the media attention that Carbon Sciences is receiving is a form of acknowledgement that our technology offers the cheapest, most efficient means of meeting fuel needs in the short term while also contributing to the improvement of the environment through the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere."
To learn more about Carbon Sciences' breakthrough technology of transforming greenhouse gases into gasoline, please visit www.carbonsciences.com .
About Carbon Sciences Inc. Carbon Sciences has developed a proprietary technology to make gasoline and other fuels from natural gas. We believe our technology will enable nations of the world to reduce their dependence on petroleum by cost-effectively using natural gas to produce cleaner and greener liquid fuels for immediate use in the existing transportation infrastructure. Although found in abundant supply at affordable prices in the U.S. and throughout the world, natural gas cannot be used directly in cars, trucks, trains and planes without a massive overhaul of the existing transportation infrastructure. Innovating at the forefront of chemical engineering, Carbon Sciences is developing a highly scalable, clean-tech process to transform natural gas into liquid transportation fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The key to this cost-effective process is a proprietary methane dry reforming catalyst that consumes carbon dioxide. To learn more about Carbon Sciences' breakthrough technology, please visit www.carbonsciences.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com and Facebook at facebook.com .
Safe Harbor Statement Matters discussed in this press release contain statements that look forward within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this press release, the words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "may," "intend," "expect" and similar expressions identify such statements that look forward. Actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those contemplated, expressed or implied by the statements that look forward contained herein, and while expected, there is no guarantee that we will attain the aforementioned anticipated developmental milestones. These statements that look forward are based largely on the expectations of the Company and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. These include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties associated with: the impact of economic, competitive and other factors affecting the Company and its operations, markets, product, and distributor performance, the impact on the national and local economies resulting from terrorist actions, and U.S. actions subsequently; and other factors detailed in reports filed by the Company.
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Hackensack, New Jersey 07601
Office: (201) 465-8020
SOURCE: Carbon Sciences Inc.
Copyright 2011 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.
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|To: grayfish who wrote (1647)||8/30/2011 1:25:49 PM|
|From: Dennis Roth|
|Tech minnow a buy for the brave |
29 Aug 2011 | 07:00
Simon Scott-White of Charles Stanley says Oxford Catalysts is worth a punt for those with the nerve.
Oxford Catalysts is a leading technology innovator for clean synthetic fuel production from waste gas, stranded gas, renewable sources and coal.
The company, whose shares are listed on AIM, has premises in the UK and the US and is valued at £56m.
Oxford Catalysts, which was spun out of the University of Oxford, was formed in 2004 and listed on AIM in 2006. A significant development for the company came in 2008 when it acquired Velocys in the US. This acquisition resulted in Oxford Catalysts Group becoming a leading catalysts innovator in micro-channel reactor technology.
Oxford Catalysts and Velocys together own or hold exclusive licences to over 750 patents and filed applications. With Brent Oil trading at over $100 per barrel and concern over deep water or fragile environmental oil extraction, Oxford Catalysts’ technology looks well placed in today’s economic and environmental climate.
The company’s technology has been awarded a number of awards over the past 15 years, recently overtaking Shell, Sasol and Statoil in the field of gas-to-liquid technology.
The gas-to-liquid market would include those oil fields that potentially could be developed in environmentally sensitive areas, where historically gas flaring or reinjection is the only alternative to an environmentally sensitive problem. The World Bank estimates that 134 billion cubic metres of gas was flared worldwide in 2010, equivalent to almost five trillion cubic feet. If converted to liquid, it would equate to about 500 million barrels each year.
The other significant area of the business that has potential is the bio-gas conversion business. This is where methane from bio waste is converted into gas, which in turn can be used to make liquid fuels. This technology clearly needs to be demonstrated through a scale-up in operations, and naturally this will present a number of challenges for the company.
In 2009 Oxford Catalysts Group signed a joint agreement with SGC Energia to demonstrate and to commercialise a Fischer-Tropsch reactor in Austria. In August 2010 it reported this plant was producing high quality liquid fuel, which was extremely encouraging. As a result of this, SGC Energia placed its first commercial order for a reactor in December 2010.
The group’s revenues for 2010 were down compared to 2009, clearly reflecting a shift of activity from research and development to commercialisation. However, the next commercial stage offers investors an interesting opportunity. The company has just completed conditional placing in the market, raising £21m from existing and new institutional holders at 80p per share. With the shares trading at 59p, currently at a 52-week low, and well off the high of 98p, I would suggest a buy recommendation on this stock.
However, we have categorised shares in Oxford Catalysts Group as high risk due to the size of its market capitalisation and the fact it is trading on the AIM market.
Simon Scott-White, branch manager, Charles Stanley, Oxford
Disclosure: I don't have a position in or opinion of Oxford Catalysts. I just remembered your
interest in it when I saw this story. Dennis
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