New catalyst opens door to CO2 capture in coal-to-liquids process

World energy consumption projections expect coal to stay one of the world’s main energy sources in the coming decades, and a growing share of it will be used in CT—the conversion of coal to liquid fuels (CTL). Researchers from the National Institute of Clean-and-Low-Carbon Energy in Beijing and Eindhoven University... Details →


Air Products to acquire Shell’s coal gasification technology business and patent portfolio for liquids (residue) gasification; coal-to-fuels in China

Air Products will acquire Royal Dutch Shell’s Coal Gasification Technology business as well as Shell’s patent portfolio for Liquids (Residue) Gasification. Financial terms are not being disclosed, and the acquisition is expected to close in the coming months. As a leading industrial gas company, Air Products has extended its onsite... Details →


The EMS (Earth and Mineral Science) Energy Institute at Penn State has developed a conceptual novel process configuration for producing clean middle-distillate fuels from coal with some algal input with minimal emissions. The Institute was involved for about 20 years in a project intended to develop a coal-derived jet fuel;... Details →


Kyoto team develops two-stage process for direct liquefaction of low-rank coal and biomass under mild conditions

Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan have proposed a novel two-stage process to convert low-rank coals or biomass wastes under mild conditions to high-quality liquid fuel. A paper describing the process, which combines a degradative solvent extraction method they had developed earlier with the liquefaction of the resulting soluble, appears... Details →


China’s shift toward alternative fuels in order to cut its reliance on imported oil is creating large opportunities, notably in natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and in the conversion of coal to ethanol, according to a new report from Lux Research. China is seeking to reduce its imports of oil from... Details →


Simplified flowsheet of the proposed solar hybridized coal- to-liquids (SCTL) process with the proposed solar hybridized dual fluidized bed (SDFB) gasifier. Credit: ACS, Guo et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Adelaide (Australia) are proposing a novel configuration of a hybridized concentrated solar thermal (CST) dual fluidized... Details →


DOE awarding about $16M to four projects for advanced gasification systems; focus on coal

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected four projects to receive funding for next-generation gasification systems. Awardees will receive approximately $16 million to advance the gasification process, which converts carbon-based materials such as coal into syngas for use as power, chemicals, hydrogen, and transportation fuels. Gasification plants have the... Details →


DOE soliciting projects in advanced coal gasification for high carbon-capture power production and/or liquid fuels

The US DOE is soliciting (DE-FOA-0001051) projects for up to $10 million in awards to target technological advancements to lower the cost of producing hydrogen and/or high-hydrogen syngas from coal for use in 90% carbon capture power generation and/or gasification-based liquid (transportation) fuel production: methanol or diesel. Liquid fuel production... Details →


Sasol, GE develop new anaerobic microbial technology for cleaning of Fischer-Tropsch waste water; boosting gas-to-liquids (GTL) value proposition

Sasol and General Electric (GE: NYSE)’s GE Power & Water have together developed new technology that will clean waste water from Fischer-Tropsch plants used to produce synthetic fuels and chemicals, while also providing biogas as a by-product for power generation. The new Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor Technology (AnMBR) will be further... Details →


DOE and Air Force issue RFI on Mil-Spec jet fuel production using coal-to-liquid technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE) in partnership with the US Air Force has issued a request for information (RFI)—DE-FOA-0000981—on research & development aimed at greenhouse gas emissions reductions and cost competitiveness of Mil-Spec jet fuel production using coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel technologies. The DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), on... Details →


World energy consumption by fuel type, 2010-2040. Source: IEO2013. Click to enlarge. The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013) projects that world energy consumption will grow by 56% between 2010 and 2040, from 524 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) to 820 quadrillion Btu. Most of this... Details →


China-US team develops new platinum-cobalt nanocatalysts for low-temperature aqueous phase Fischer-Tropsch synthesis

Researchers from China and the US have developed Pt−Co nanoparticles (NPs) which proved to be effective and efficient catalysts for aqueous-phase Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) at 433 K (160 °C)—a lower operational temperature than can be achieved with conventional catalysts. A report on their work is published in the Journal of... Details →


Researchers develop new Fischer-Tropsch catalyst and production method; Total patents both

A team of researchers led by University of Amsterdam (UvA) chemists has developed new Fischer-Tropsch catalysts—consisting of ultra-thin cobalt shells surrounding inexpensive iron oxide cores—that can be used to produce synthetic fuels from natural gas and biomass. The method used to produce the catalysts is based on an approach previously... Details →


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... Details →


Functional elements of the GEM*STAR reactor. Source: Muons, Inc. Click to enlarge. Muons, Inc., a private-sector high-energy accelerator physics firm, and ADNA (Accelerator-Driven Neutron Applications) Corp., are proposing using spent nuclear fuel (SNF), natural uranium, or excess weapons-grade plutonium (W-Pu) in a proposed GEM*STAR accelerator-driven subcritical reactor (ADSR) to provide... Details →


EC awards €1.2B from NER300 “Robin Hood” mechanism for 23 renewable energy projects; 5 advanced biofuel projects targeted for €516.8M

The European Commission awarded more than €1.2 billion (US$1.6 billion) funding to 23 highly renewable energy demonstration projects—including five advanced biofuels projects with maximum combined funding of €516.8 million (US$687 million), or 43% of the total—under the first call for proposals for the NER300 program. Funding for the program comes... Details →


Using Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthetic fuel or blend can significantly reduce gaseous particulate matter and gaseous emissions compared to standard military jet (JP-8) fuel when used in a T63 gas-turbine helicopter engine, according to a new study by a team from the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies, Carnegie Mellon University and... Details →


RAND reports suggest US DoD use less petroleum fuel to deal with high prices, not count on alternatives

According to three new reports on “Promoting International Energy Security” issued by the RAND Corporation, because the energy purchases made by the US Department of Defense are not large enough to influence world oil prices—despite DoD requiring considerable amounts of fuel to function—cutting fuel use is the only effective choice... Details →


Updated NETL study provides more detailed economic and environmental assessment of coal-to-liquids and CTL with modest biomass

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has released a follow-on study to its 2009 evaluation of the economic and environmental performance of Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) and CTL with modest amounts of biomass mixed in (15% by weight) for the production of zero-sulfure diesel fuel. (Earlier post.) The new study expands upon... Details →


US DOE to award up to $3M for coal-biomass-to-liquid projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to a total of $3 million to projects (1) to develop and to test novel technologies for the economical and environmentally-sustainable conversion of coal-biomass feedstocks to liquid transportation fuels (CBTL) and (2) to assess concepts and evaluate the feasibility of building... Details →


Top: Conventional F-T process. Bottom: SRI process. Click to enlarge. Researchers from SRI International (SRI) are developing a methane-and-coal-to-liquids process that consumes negligible amounts of water and does not generate carbon dioxide. Based on data from bench-scale tests, SRI engineers estimate that the capital cost for a full-scale plant using... Details →


Pathways for producing liquid fuels from coal. The Accelergy/Yanjuang plant would combine the indirect (F-T) and direct pathways. Source: EMRE. Click to enlarge. Accelergy Corporation (earlier post) is partnering with the Yankuang Group, one of the largest coal companies in China, on a feasibility study for a joint, large-scale, low-carbon,... Details →


The top graph depicts CTL in a no policy scenario; the bottom graph, for CTL in a world climate policy scenario. Credit: Chen et al., 2011 Click to enlarge. A new assessment of the viability of coal-to-liquids (CTL) technology by researchers from the MIT Joint Program on the Science and... Details →


BP and Davy select 3 leading EPC contractors for BP/Davy Fischer-Tropsch commercial deployment

BP and Davy Process Technology announced collaborations with three EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractors to promote the commercialization of the BP/Davy Fischer-Tropsch (FT) Process. The BP/Davy fixed-bed FT process produces diesel, jet fuel (JP8) and naphtha from natural gas, biomass- or coal-derived syngas. CB&I Lummus UK Limited, Jacobs Engineering... Details →


Linc Energy taking stake in aboveground gasification company; potential CTL introduction in US

Australia’s Linc Energy, a developer of underground coal gasification and synthetic fuels projects, has signed an exclusive agreement with PowerHouse Energy Inc, a provider of onsite energy systems that uses fossil and renewable fuels to generate electricity and synthetic gas via the Pyromex ultra high temperature above-ground gasification (UHTG) process.... Details →


WTW total energy and fossil energy use. Credit: ACS, Xie et al. Click to enlarge. A new study by Michael Wang and Jeongwoo Han at Argonne National Laboratory and Xiaomin Xie at Shanghai Jiao Tong University assesses the effects of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and cellulosic biomass and... Details →


RAND study concludes use of alternative fuels by US military would convey no direct military benefit; recommends energy efficiency instead

If the US military increases its use of alternative jet and naval fuels that can be produced from coal or various renewable resources, including seed oils, waste oils and algae, there will be no direct benefit to the nation’s armed forces, according to a new RAND Corporation study. Any benefits... Details →


Fuel provisions in the Tax Relief bill

US President Barack Obama on Friday signed H.R. 4853, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (“Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010”). The bill, among its other provisions, contains a number of provisions related to energy (Title VII, Subtitle A) and within that, provisions... Details →


Greenhouse has (GHG) index (top) and GHG avoided values for all 16 Fischer-Tropsch liquids systems analyzed along with those for ethanol (with and without CCS). GHGI of 1 is equivalent to fossil-fuel products. Credit: ACS, Liu et al. Click to enlarge. A detailed study by researchers from China and the... Details →


Comparison of coal consumption and CO2 emissions for co-production and separate production of liquids and power. The liquids output capacity of CTL plants is 50,000 barrels/day. Source: Mantripragada and Rubin. Click to enlarge. A study comparing the performance, greenhouse gas emissions and costs of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) coal-to-liquids (CTL) processes using... Details →


Reactor system process and instrumentation. Inset shows more detail on the reactor vessel. Source: Purdue University. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Purdue University have developed a facility aimed at learning the chemical kinetic processes in coal and biomass gasification to improve thermodynamic efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of the... Details →


Sasol and University of Pretoria Collaborating on Synthetic Fuel Research

A research collaboration between South Africa-based Sasol and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Pretoria (UP) has led to the commissioning of high-tech equipment to gain better insights into the properties and performance of synthetic diesel fuels. The new LECO Pegasus 4 GCxGC-TOFMS (comprehensive two-dimensional... Details →


Successful Engineering Validation Flight of US Commercial Jet Using 40:60 Synthetic Jet Fuel Blend

United Airlines has conducted a successful engineering validation flight using Rentech’s certified synthetic jet fuel (RenJet). The validation flight was conducted using a 40:60 mix of Rentech’s synthetic jet fuel with conventional Jet A fuel in one of two engines on an Airbus 319 aircraft. The aircraft departed Denver International... Details →


NETL Soliciting R&D Projects for Co-Production of Power, Fuels, and Chemicals via Coal/Biomass Mixtures

The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has issued a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) soliciting research projects that will address key challenges related to the utilization of coal-biomass mixtures for co-production of power and hydrogen, fuels, and/or chemicals. NETL estimates total program funding for the cooperative... Details →


Accelergy Begins Production of Synthetic Jet Fuel from Coal and Biomass; USAF to Evaluate for 100% Synthetic Fuel Use

Accelergy Corporation has begun production of a synthetic fuel from coal and biomass, to be evaluated by the United States Air Force (USAF) as the industry benchmark for 100% synthetic jet fuel. To date, biomass-derived synthetic paraffinic kerosenes (SPK) have required blending with petroleum feedstocks on a 50% basis to... Details →


Headwaters direct coal liquefaction process. Source: Headwaters. Click to enlarge. Headwaters Inc and Axens are forming a strategic alliance to provide a single-source solution for producing synthetic fuels by direct coal liquefaction (DCL) alone or in combination with refinery residues or biomass. The two companies will combine their technologies and... Details →


15 Air Carriers Sign Non-Binding MOUs on Synthetic Jet Fuel Purchases with Two Providers: AltAir and RenTech

A core group of 15 commercial airlines has signed non-binding memoranda of understanding (MOUs) for negotiating purchases from two different producers of synthetic jet fuel: AltAir Fuels LLC and RenTech Inc. These alternative fuels will be more environmentally friendly, on a life cycle basis, than today’s petroleum-based jet fuels. The... Details →


Overview of CBTL process. Source: Syngas. Click to enlarge. Australia’s Syngas Limited has engaged Rentech to provide Fischer-Tropsch fuels production preliminary engineering services for Syngas’ proposed commercial scale coal and biomass to liquids (CBTL) fuels facility in Southern Australia, known as the Clinton Project. This work builds on the Clinton... Details →


Normalized well-to-wake GHG emissions for low-, baseline- and high-emission cases for jet fuel pathways under different land use change scenarios. From Hileman et al. Click to enlarge. A joint MIT/RAND study of the near-term commercial feasibility of alternative jet fuels has concluded that three types of alternative jet fuels may... Details →


Accelergy’s Integrated Coal to Liquids platform is the basis for the Integrated Carbon to Liquids initiative. Source: Accelergy. Click to enlarge. Accelergy Corporation, an advanced coal-to-liquids company, and A2BE Carbon Capture LLC, an algae photobioreactor company, have formed the Carbon Cycle Technology Alliance to commercialize a platform for Integrated Carbon... Details →


Shell Coal Gasification Process. Source: Shell. Click to enlarge. Shell (China) Limited and Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Co. Ltd. (Shenhua) have agreed to seek opportunities for conducting joint research and development in advanced coal technology. Additionally, Shell Global Solutions International B.V. (Shell) also qualified three Chinese companies for... Details →


Estimates of potential for gasoline consumption reduction in the US light duty fleet in 2020 and 2035 relative to 2007. Projected consumption assumes efficiency improvements in powertrain and vehicle are offset by increases in performance, size and weight. Improvements result from an optimistic scenario achieving doubling of new vehicle fuel... Details →


The RTI/Eastman syngas cleanup technology platform. Click to enlarge. Extending a relationship of more than a decade, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International will collaborate on a project designed to advance the development of coal power plants with near-zero emissions by reducing the cost... Details →


Ignite Energy Resources supercritical water process diagram. Source: IER. Click to enlarge. Ignite Energy Resources (IER), developer of a supercritical water technology, and TRUenergy have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a commercial demonstration plant that will apply IER’s direct coal-to-oil and upgraded dry coal process to... Details →


The Chinchilla Demonstration Facility combines UCG and GTL technologies Click to enlarge. During the first half of 2009, the Linc Energy Limited Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) to Liquids demonstration plant at Chinchilla (earlier post) ran four major production campaigns each of which has seen further improvements in plant performance, according... Details →


Process flow sketch for UCTL demonstration unit. Click to enlarge. Australia-based Regal Resources has secured commitments to raise A$5.2 million (US$3.7 million) via a placement of 148.2 million new shares at 3.5 cents to fund the pilot test of a novel Underground Coal to Liquids (UCTL) process near Melbourne. Regal... Details →


The proposed CO2 and H2 pathway (bottom) rather than the traditional CO and H2 pathway (top) can improve efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by 15%. Credit: Adapted by P. Huey/Science. Click to enlarge. Researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa and Rutgers University are proposing new Fischer-Tropsch... Details →


NETL Report Concludes CTL Plus Carbon Capture Results in Fuel with 5-12% Less Lifecycle GHG Than Petroleum Diesel; Modest Biomass Additions Lower GHG Further

Lifecycle GHG emissions of CTL/CBTL/BTL compared to 2005 petroleum diesel baseline. Background colors of the cells represent the crude oil price required for economic feasibility. Tarka et al. (2009) Click to enlarge. A new report from the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) concludes that coupling... Details →


NASA and Partners Testing Coal and Gas F-T Synthetic Jet Fuels at 100% and 50% Blend

Sampling tubing and instrumentation control cables laid out on the pavement beside NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory in between synthetic fuels emission and engine performance tests at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. Credit: Tom Tschida, NASA. Click to enlarge. The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and 11... Details →


Sasol to Build Coal-to-Liquids Facilities in Indonesia with 1.1M Barrels per Day Capacity

Sasol will build coal-to-liquids plants in Indonesia with a targeted combined capacity of 1.1 million barrels per day. Production is expected to begin in 2015, according to Indonesia’s Department of Energy and Mineral Resources. Feasibility studies are currently underway. Although a member of OPEC since 1962, Indonesia became a net... Details →