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Improving Process Performances in Coal Gasification for Power & Synfuel Production - Energy & Fuels (ACS Publications)

We had some time ago alerted you to the Italian efforts in coal-to-liquid fuel technologies.
That was, we think, prior to a summary of their work being published by the American Chemical Society, this past September.
It should be an easy reference for you to check out - you don't have to call the University of Padova.
M. Sudiro*, A. Bertucco, F. Ruggeri and M. Fontana§
Department of Chemical Engineering (DIPIC), University of Padova, Italy and Foster Wheeler Italiana Spa, Milan, Italy
Energy Fuels, 2008, 22 (6), pp 3894–3901
DOI: 10.1021/ef800293h
Publication Date (Web): September 17, 2008
Copyright © 2008 American Chemical Society
University of Padova
Foster Wheeler Italiana Spa.


This paper is aimed at developing process alternatives of conventional coal gasification. A number of possibilities are presented, simulated, and discussed in order to improve the process performances, to avoid the use of pure oxygen, and to reduce the overall CO2 emissions. The different process configurations considered include both power production, by means of an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant, and synfuel production, by means of Fischer−Tropsch (FT) synthesis. The basic idea is to thermally couple a gasifier, fed with coal and steam, and a combustor where coal is burnt with air, thus overcoming the need of expensive pure oxygen as a feedstock. As a result, no or little nitrogen is present in the syngas produced by the gasifier; the required heat is transferred by using an inert solid as the carrier, which is circulated between the two modules. First, a thermodynamic study of the dual-bed gasification is carried out. Then a dual-bed gasification process is simulated by Aspen Plus, and the efficiency and overall CO222 emissions per unit of liquid fuel are decreased by 31.9% and energy efficiency increases by 71.1%." emissions of the process are calculated and compared with a conventional gasification with oxygen. Eventually, the scheme with two reactors (gasifier-combustor) is coupled with an IGCC process. The simulation of this plant is compared with that of a conventional IGCC, where the gasifier is fed by high purity oxygen. According to the newly proposed configuration, the global plant efficiency increases by 27.9% and the CO emissions decrease by 21.8%, with respect to the performances of a conventional IGCC process. As a second possibility, the same gasifier−combustor scheme is coupled with a coal-to-liquid (CTL) process to convert the syngas into synthetic fuels by a FT reactor. It is shown that, if compared with a conventional CTL plant, the mass yield of liquid synthetic fuel is increased by 39.4%, the CO

The Italians, Mike. They don't have all that much coal. Why not WV?


Coal-to-Diesel Breakthrough Could Drastically Cut Oil Imports


One excerpt:
"Professor Alan Goldman and his Rutgers team in collaboration with researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a way to convert carbon sources, such as coal to diesel fuel. This important advance could significantly cut America's dependence on foreign oil – what President Bush called "an addiction" in his 2006 State of the Union address. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, our 286 billion tons of coal in the ground translate into energy reserves 40 times those of oil."
Rutgers and the University of North Carolina, Mike. Why not WV?

Squeezing More Synthetic Fuel from Abundant Supplies of Coal

Same Italian researchers, but different, later, report.
An excerpt:
"Based on laboratory simulations and comparisons with conventional coal gasification, their system was 70 percent more energy efficient, yielded 40 percent more fuel and released 32 per cent less carbon dioxide. "The new process configuration can represent a valuable alternative route to obtain syngas both for electric power generation and for synthetic fuel production," the report states. -American Chemical Society"
We find the emboldened phrase significant.
Did any of our correspondents know, before Melissa and I began these transmissions, that there were "conventional" methods of "coal gasification"?
That might come as news to your readership, mightn't it?

Siemens Power Generation - Fuel Gasifiers


It's so commonplace overseas, it's commercialized and standardized by credible folk like Siemens.
An excerpt:
"Gasification offers one of the cleanest and most flexible ways of converting coal and low-grade fuels into high-value products – electricity, chemicals or synthetic fuels. Combining gasification with advanced gas turbines in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plants results in a highly efficient technology for coal-based power generation. Gasification can offer environmentally friendly plants with lower emissions and the combination with readily available technology for CO₂ Capture and Storage (CCS)."
We were led to this info by this Siemens news release:
An excerpt:

"Gasification technology developed by Siemens has for the first time been selected for a project in Australia. Australian Energy Company (AEC) Ltd, an independent project development company, has acquired a license for two 500-megawatt coal gasifiers.

The two gasifiers are destined for a fertiliser plant in Latrobe Valley, Victoria, where they are to be used to convert lignite to ammonia. In an adjacent plant the ammonia will be used to produce the fertiliser urea. After commissioning in 2012, the plant will have an annual production capacity of approximately 1.2 million tonnes of urea."

We were led to that release by news reports of CTL fuel in the Latrobe Valley - i.e. Monash, etc.

In this case, the technology will be used to produce fertilizer from coal - in much the same way most of China's planned 88 CTL plants will devote the bulk of their production to fertilizers, plastics and chemicals.

Oh, note these gasifiers might be dedicated to fertilizer production, instead of fuel, because they'll be working with lignite as a raw material, much as the Dakota/Montana CTL projects - dedicated to liquid fuel - will be; lignite which is similar in many respects to the many piles of coal waste we have lying about WV - and to the Shcuylkill, PA. wastes they will be making fuel out of. 

Yep, Coal Can Do That.


Medicine Bow Methanol Project, Carbon County, Wyoming - Chemicals Technology


The perfunctory excerpts:
"The Medicine Bow methanol project is part of a coal-to-liquid fuels initiative being undertaken by the Medicine Bow Fuel & Power LLC (MBF&P), a subsidiary of DKRW Advanced Fuels LLC. The new methanol synthesis unit will be situated at a Greenfield site near a producing mine mouth in Carbon County, Wyoming. The low-sulphur coal feedstock will be used to produce both methanol and gasoline via synthesis gas and Fisher Tropsch type process technology.

Medicine Bow Fuel is also developing other coal to liquids and diesel facilities in the same area as part of the project as there is an abundance of economically mined low sulphur coal as feedstock. An 11,000 barrel per day (bpd) coal-to-ultra-clean diesel unit has been under development since 2006 and is due to begin producing in fourth quarter of 2010. Construction began in late 2007 and there is an eventual plan to expand to 40,000bpd."

We've noted this project for you previously, and provided you with contact info at DKRW.

Just sending it along to belabor a point: WY lignite compares favorably in BTU/carbon content to stuff we used to discard in WV. If the Medicine Bow plant can process lignite profitably, it could do the same with at least some of our, WV's, old waste piles. Our run-of-mine WV bituminous would be like champagne and caviar to such a unit.

Wyoming, Mike - why not West Virginia?

Our coal is far better suited to the processes of conversion, and we are much, much closer to population centers and markets.