WV Coal Member Meeting 2024 1240x200 1 1

Welcome to Sasol Chevron's GTL Challenge


The obligatory excerpt:

"Sasol is an integrated oil and gas company with substantial chemical interests. Based in South Africa and operating worldwide, Sasol is listed on the NYSE and JSE stock exchanges. We are the leading provider of liquid fuels in South Africa and a major international producer of chemicals. Sasol uses proprietary Fischer-Tropsch technologies for the commercial production of synthetic fuels and chemicals from low-grade coal and natural gas. We manufacture more than 200 fuel and chemical products that are sold worldwide. In South Africa we also operate coal mines to provide feedstock for our synthetic fuels plants. Sasol operates the only inland crude oil refinery in South Africa. The group produces crude oil in offshore Gabon, supplies Mozambican natural gas to end-user customers and petrochemical plants in South Africa, and with partners is developing gas-to-liquids fuel joint ventures in Qatar and Nigeria. Internet address: http://www.sasol.com ."

In Sasol-Chevron's JV web site, they talk a lot about converting gas to liquid fuels and chemicals via their proprietary version of Fischer-Tropsch technology. Not so clearly stated, though, is that the gas can be natural gas, or synthesis gas generated from coal, coal wastes or biological/cellulose sources.

Called 'em, yet?


Solid to Liquid Can Be a Gas (Grist - News - 08 Aug 2008)


Please note our copy list. Our old friend, Mike Myer, is copied in. He once expressed interest in our CTL research and, with Chris, might be able to fill in some of the "blanks" in our early reportage. We have also urged him to visit WVU and follow up on their efforts in CTL, and provided him with a contact name there.
As we noted, much of our original research and reportage on CTL has been, temporarily at least, "lost" in cyberspace.
However, one of the CTL projects we reported on was the Crow tribe's planned unit in Montana.
In fact, Montana's governor attended, we believe, a conference in Pittsburgh to report on it last year.
We think, but haven't yet been able to connect the dots, that the Crow effort, in Montana, is tied in with the US Air Force, at Malstrom base, CTL efforts, which they are undertaking with the help of the University of North Dakota.
An important fact to note with all of that is the three efforts are focused on the use of low-BTU, relative to WV bituminous, lignite - which might not compare unfavorably with stuff we used to separate out and pile up as waste in WV.
The fact that coal wastes can have value is illustrated especially by PA's planned Schuylkill coal waste-liquids project.

Iron Aerogel & Xerogel Catalysts for Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis of Diesle Fuel - Energy & Fuels (ACS Publications)


The Abstract:

"Iron aerogels, potassium-doped iron aerogels, and potassium-doped iron xerogels have been synthesized and characterized and their catalytic activity in the Fischer−Tropsch (F-T) reaction has been studied. Iron aerogels and xerogels were synthesized by polycondensation of an ethanolic solution of iron(III) chloride hexahydrate with propylene oxide which acts as a proton scavenger for the initiation of hydrolysis and polycondensation. Potassium was incorporated in the iron aerogel and iron xerogel by adding aqueous K2CO3 to the ethanolic solutions of the Fe(III) precursor prior to addition of propylene oxide. Fischer−Tropsch activities of the catalysts were tested in a fixed bed reactor at a pressure of 100 psi with a H2:CO ratio of 2:1. Iron aerogels were found to be active for F-T synthesis, and their F-T activities increased on addition of a K containing promoter. Mo╠łssbauer spectroscopic data are consistent with an open, nonrigid iron(III) aerogel structure progressing to an iron carbide/metallic iron catalyst via agglomeration as the F-T synthesis proceeds in the course of a 35 h fixed bed reaction test."

We're just sending this along to you, as we have with some other quite technical publications from scholastic and professional journals, to verify that coal conversion to liquids (i.e. Fischer-Tropsch), is a quite real technology that is taken seriously by credible researchers - to the point of refining catalyst technologies for the process.

We had earlier reported that abundant Canadian nickel looked to be the most effective catalyst for converting coal-derived gasses into liquid fuels, via Fisher-Tropsch, but these academic researchers (from the University of Utah, for Pete's sake - what about WVU?) seem to think preparations made with iron might work better.

Pretty detailed stuff for a technology most people, in light of the failed Benwood CTL project, and others, seem to think doesn't really exist.


Hydroprocessing Euro 4-Type Diesel from High-Temperature Fischer-Tropsch Vacuum Gas Oils - Energy & Fuels (ACS Publications)

Dieter Leckel*
Fischer−Tropsch Refinery Catalysis, Sasol Technology Research and Development, Post Office Box 1, Sasolburg 1947, South Africa
The abstract:
"Various configurations were studied to hydroprocess high-temperature Fischer−Tropsch (HTFT) vacuum gas oils to diesel fuel in compliance with EN590/Euro 4 fuel specifications. Conventional hydroprocessing generates a distillate not conforming to the fuel specifications; however, addition of an isomerization function and extra hydrotreating capacity markedly improved density and cold-flow properties. Hydrocracking the heavy part of the HTFT vacuum gas oil proved to be a viable alternative to generate a HTFT diesel with higher density and good cold-flow properties. Complementary blending studies confirmed that Euro 4 diesel fuel specifications are achievable by blending isomerized hydrotreated HTFT light distillate with HTFT heavy distillates and coal-pyrolysis-derived distillate fractions."
What they're not making clear is that you can derive the HTFT distillates from different sources - thus, the "light" and "heavy" designations. So, whether you get it from coal, coal waste, oil/oily shale, or cellulose (i.e. tree trunks, some crop wastes, old News-Registers, etc.) - which you can - the "pyrolysis" gas can be fiddled with one way or another to get all kinds of stuff we can pump into the tanks of our Fords and Chevies.
And, note again the participation of Sasol. You called 'em, yet?
Joe the Miner

Sulfur Behavior in the Sasol-Lurgi Fixed-Bed Dry-Bottom Gasification Process - Energy & Fuels (ACS Publications)

M. Pat Skhonde*, R. Henry Matjie, J. Reginald Bunt, A. Christien Strydom and Herold Schobert§
Sasol Technology R&D, 1 Klasie Havenga Avenue, PO Box 1, Sasolburg, 1947, School of Chemistry, North West University, Potchefstroom Campus, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom 2520, and Department of Energy & Mineral Engineering, Penn State University, 204 Res. East, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802-5000
Energy Fuels, 2009, 23 (1), pp 229–235
DOI: 10.1021/ef800613s
Publication Date (Web): December 5, 2008
Copyright © 2008 American Chemical Society
The abstract:

"This article reports on the findings of a study regarding the sulfur behavior across a Sasol−Lurgi gasifier. This was undertaken to understand the behavior of the various sulfur-bearing components in the coal, as they are exposed to the conditions in the gasifier. In this study, conventional characterization techniques were employed to monitor the behavior of sulfur-bearing mineral matter across the gasifier. It was observed from the study that the sulfur-bearing mineral (pyrite) in the coal structure undergoes various changes with pyrite being transformed to pyrrhotite and then to various oxides of iron with the subsequent loss of sulfur to form H2S. A low proportion of the sulfur species including the organically associated sulfur was encapsulated by a melt that was formed by the interaction between kaolinite and fluxing minerals (pyrite, calcite, and dolomite/ankerite) present in the coal at elevated temperatures and pressure, thereby ending up in the ash. The remaining small proportions of sulfur-bearing mineral matter including pyrite and organically bound sulfur in the unburned carbon in the carbonaceous shales also report to the ash."

We're sending this one along for a couple of reasons.

First, note that one of the authors is credentialed by Penn State - who, apparently, participated in the study.

And, they seem to be discussing ways in which objectionable sulfur can be bound to the ash (remember, we've sent you other references to "low-sulfur" liquid fuel derived from coal).

Finally, they are exposing the fact that properly designed coal conversion processes (whether Fischer-Tropsch, or, in this case, Sasol-Lurgi (an FT variant we've previously described for you) can be perform transmutations not only on coal, but on "carbonaceous shales" - a typical component of coal mine waste piles.