Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coal to Syngas; Syngas to Methanol; Methanol to Gasoline

Synthetic fuels from coal, natural gas, biomass etc. will compose a larger share of the transportation fuels market over the next few decades. This will come about due to more economical processes for coal to liquids (CTL), gas to liquids (GTL), biomass to liquids (BTL), etc. combined with a long term trend of rising oil prices.
Ambre Coal to Liquids

The methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) process is the prime competitor to the Fischer Tropsch (FT) process, in the conversion of carbonaceous mass to liquid fuels. Ambre Energy of Australia is involved in the clean conversion of low quality coal to high quality liquid fuels, using the Exxon-Mobil methanol-to-gasoline process (PDF).
Methanol is usually synthesised from syngas, a mixture of H2, CO, CO2, methane, etc. Syngas can be produced via gasification of coal, natural gas, biomass, or any other carbonaceous material.

Methanol is used as a feedstock to produce fuels or other chemicals. Methanol can also be used as a fuel itself, or as a fuel additive. Methanol is also finding greater use in methanol fuel cells -- a market that is expected to grow very rapidly over the next several years.

Ambre CTL process
PDF description of Ambre CTL
Ambre is involved in a technical study agreement with Synthesis Energy Systems to develop an improved coal to liquids project which will produce both synthetic gasoline and LPG from methanol.

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