Friday, September 12, 2008

Gasification Hits the Real World

High temperature, oxygen-controlled gasification turns carbon sources such as coal or biomass mostly into gaseous H2 and CO (syngas). These two gases can be converted via either chemical or biological means into a wide range of fuels--including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol, methanol, etc etc. These carbon-to-fuel processes can be made very clean, with virtually no toxic byproducts remaining after the conversion process. Brian Westenhaus reports on progress coming directly from the long work of the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) in Illinois.
The GTI has been researching gasification for over 50 years and now has extensive experience in designing, constructing and operating gasification systems. Two systems are patented, and licensed now. One is coal gasification and the other is biomass gasification. Multifuel plants that combine the two are now commercialized and built and building in Finland and China for a world total of 4 industrial sized gasification units. These actually work with tens of millions of dollars behind the projects and serious production coming to consumer markets..... _NewEnergyandFuel
Brian goes on to describe several gasification ventures, and their various ongoing commercial projects. A very nice summary update.

Canadian company Nexterra is a subcontractor for a gasification plant at Oak Ridge National Laboratories in the US.
The Nexterra system will replace ORNL's existing natural gas steam plant by converting locally sourced woody biomass into clean burning syngas. The syngas will produce 60,000 lbs/hr of saturated steam to displace 75 MMBtu/hr of fossil fuel traditionally used to heat the campus. Once operational, the system will reduce campus fossil fuel consumption by 80 per cent.

Nexterra is supplying the complete gasification system from fuel handling and storage through to the exhaust stack. Engineering design is underway and the system will be delivered in late 2009. _Biotech
As Brian relates above, gasification projects are being built around the world, at accelerating rates. Coal gasification to liquid fuel provides the option of producing the full range of liquid fuels.

Small gasification and refining plants located at the coal mines themselves, provide a much more economical and clean way of turning low-grade coal into cleaner, more versatile fuels. It will take time to build the infrastructure, but expect significant (around 5%) displacement of petroleum by gasification within 5 years. As experience builds and technology improves, the growth rate should accelerate.

Coal deposits exist to provide hundreds of years of production. Biomass production is essentially limitless, when taking into account marginal lands and coastal onshore and offshore biomass production.

Previously published at Al Fin

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