Saturday, January 31, 2009

Coal liquifaction & gasification roundup for Feb 1, 2009

Coal, it's this phrase that stuck in my head since nearly 20 years of living in Kentucky, it's Kentucky's Ace in the Hole. Coal is this very dirty fuel, it's rock that can be burned. It's plentiful however, and cheap, and it's one of the core causes of the greenhouse gas emissions which is leading us to an environmental disaster.

Air Force drops plan to make fuel from coal in Montana: Apparently the Air Firce has been planning to build a coal-to-liquid plant at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. They want to source liquid fuels other than fossil oil. There is an obvious geopolitical gamble going on in that the U.S. Military is dependent on liquid fuels to maintain U.S. hegemony over the world, and increasingly the source for those liquid fuels is in countries that ahem are not exactly friendly to the U.S. Hence how can the U.S. maintain hegemony over the world if we can no longer access liquid fuels used to drive our war machines?

In WWII the German Army also faced the same problem. They did not have access to liquid fuels and their scientists had fortuitously developed a coal liquifaction process, Fischer-Tropsch, and were able to convert their abundant coal into liquid fuel that ran their war machines and made them dangerous to the rest of the world.

The Air Force has a goal to certify that all aircraft could fly on a 50-50 blend of coal liquifaction fuel by 2011. It's been purchasing fuel made from coal from Sasol of South Africa, most recently 300,000 gallons, said Air Force spokesman Gary Strasburg.

Liquid fuel from coal produces more than twice the greenhouse gas emissions as conventional petroleum-based fuel.

Top 10 alternative fuel breakthroughs in 2008: Goes into various alternative energy sources being investigated by the military. Such as "ASTM International moved on 7 December to allow any qualified fuel company to sell synthetic jet fuel, with its industry standards-setting committee proposing to amend ASTM D1655 and allow Fischer-Tropsch-processed fuels to power aircraft in 2009." Likewise in the U.K. "The Aviation Fuels Committee and UK Ministry of Defence amended DEFSTAN 91-91" to approve use of coal-to-liquids fuel from Sasol.

US Air Force completes F-22 synthetic fuel trials: The US Air Force has concluded analysis of the effects of using a natural gas-based synthetic fuel with its Lockheed Martin F-22, as work to trial the technology accelerates through its trainer, transport and fighter fleets.

Fairbanks Considering a Coal-to-Liquids Plant: The Fairbanks Economic Development Council (FEDC) is encouraging local business leaders to consider the benefits of a coal-to-liquid plant. The Interior Issues Council, Cost of Energy Taskforce, spent several months identifying possible energy solutions that could help mitigate the crippling high energy cost. The goals of the task force were to identify solutions that reduce the cost of energy, create a sustainable fuel supply, reduce particulate (PM2.5), reduce CO2 and sulfur emissions, and address local solid waste disposal issues. Proponents tout benefits of coal-to-liquids facility: More discussion in Alaska to build a coal-to-liquids plant.

Ohio River Clean Fuels Receives Final Air Permit: The Ohio EPA awarded the final air permit for the Ohio River Clean Fuels project to Baard Energy. The Ohio River Clean Fuels LLC (ORCF) project is a 53,000 barrel alternative fuels coal-to-liquids project that will be located near Wellsville, Ohio. The estimated cost of the plant is $5 billion. ... The facility will have three Fischer-Tropsch trains and produce 50,000 barrels per day of ultra-clean diesel and jet fuel, 3,000 barrels per day of LPGs and 250 MW electricity. Baard’s presentation at the Coal Gasification Technology conference in 2005 referenced Rentech’s Fischer-Tropsch technology, but this has not been confirmed with a news release. The CO2 will be removed using the Linde Rectisol process. Once the CO2 is removed it will be used for injection into existing oilfields for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Baard has had discussions with Marathon Oil regarding an offtake agreement for the CO2. There are oil fields in production within 20 miles of the plant site that can utilize the CO2 for EOR.

Biosyncrude Gasification Process Could Produce Motor Fuel at Cost of Around $3/gallon The Bioliq biosyncrude gasification process (earlier post) used in a large plant with a capacity of > 1 Mt/a can produce biosynfuel for about €1.04 per kg or €0.8 per liter (US$3.08/gallon US), according to an analysis by researchers at Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Germany, which is co-developing the process with Lurgi....

Idaho National Lab Developing Highly Carbon-Efficient Biomass-to-Liquids Process Combining High Temperature Steam Electrolysis and Biomass Gasification: Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) are developing a process—Bio-Syntrolysis—that combines high temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE) and biomass gasification to produce syngas for subsequent conversion into synthetic fuels and chemicals. The process results in the highly efficient conversion of biomass carbon to syngas (>90%). Given the efficiencies of a typical Fischer-Tropsch process, Bio-Syntrolysis would thus convert about 90% of the carbon in biomass to liquid synthetic fuel, INL says. By comparison, INL notes, conventional biomass or coal gasification to liquid fuels converts only ~35% of the carbon to liquid fuel. Likewise, conventional biological routes for ethanol production convert only ~35% of biomass carbon to liquid fuel....

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