GE, Shenhua form coal tech venture|Business|chinadaily.com.cn


W
e've many times documented the amazing plans the people of China have formalized: plans to develop within their nation an extensive industry founded on the gasification and liquefaction of Coal, to supply with their own domestic resources their own needs for liquid and gasseous fuels and for organic chemical manufacturing raw materials.

Among our reports have been some indicating that Coal conversion is a very worthwhile proposition for them, as in:

West Virginia Coal Association | China Makes "Huge Profits" from Coal Liquefaction | Research & Development; "China Coal Producer Reaps Huge Profits From CTL Project; Shenhua Group, China's largest coal producer, has made huge profits from its pilot coal-to-liquid (CTL) project in north China in the first three months of this year, a company executive said Saturday. Zhang Yuzhuo, general manager of Shenhua Group, said at a forum held in east China's Anhui Province that the group's CTL project in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region ... brought more than 100 million yuan (15.38 million U.S. dollars) in profits."

Other reports have demonstrated that the proposition is so worthwhile that Coal interests from other nations are getting involved, to help China commercialize her Coal conversion expertise beyond her borders, as in:

West Virginia Coal Association | South Africa & China Coal Liquefaction Partnership | Research & Development; ""SA, Chinese coal-to-liquid JV progresses"; Clean Coal Technology South Africa, a joint venture between Chinese and South African expertise, has shown considerable progress internationally since its establishment 18 months ago. The company, headquartered in Midrand, Johannesburg, has the worldwide rights to develop and commercialize its gas-to-liquid, coal-to-liquid and a new combined feed process technology, developed by engineers at the University of the Witwatersrand. The technology uses a novel Fischer Tropsch process which the company believes is cheaper, with similar or lower Capex and operating costs, than conventional Fischer Tropsch technology. The company launched the commercialization of its coal-to-liquid/gas-to-liquid technology after the operation of its pilot plant, which the company established in China's Shaanxi province, yielded positive results."

Among the many corporations helping China establish her domestic, and apparently soon-to-be international, Coal conversion industry has been the USA's own General Electric Corporation, as seen in:

West Virginia Coal Association | GE Converts China Coal to Methanol | Research & Development; "One of the World’s Largest Coal-to-Olefins Gasification Units Starts Up in China; 2010; The gasification unit at one of the world’s largest coal-to-olefins projects successfully started up at the China Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Co. Ltd.’s project in Baotou, Inner Mongolia (Shenhua Baotou Coal to Olefins project). The gasification unit uses advanced coal gasification technology provided by GE (NYSE:GE).The gasification technology converts coal into a synthesis gas (or syngas). Syngas can then be used to produce methanol, which will be transformed into olefins, a building block for producing polyethylene and polypropylene. At full production—scheduled for fourth quarter of 2010—the Shenhua Baotou Coal to Olefins project will produce nearly 1.8 million tons of methanol for approximately 600,000 tons of polyethylene and polypropylene per year. With five gasifiers and two spare units, the Shenhua Baotou Coal to Olefins project is one of the largest coal to olefins plants in the world. The plant underscores the importance that the Chinese government is placing on using the country’s large coal reserves to reduce its heavy dependence on imported olefins (polyethylene and polypropylene-based plastics) and drive further economic growth"; and, in:

West Virginia Coal Association | General Electric Converts China Coal | Research & Development; ""GE Energy Licenses its Gasification Technology for Coal-to-Methanol Plant in China; 2009;"GE's gasification technology has been licensed by 38 facilities in China, allowing chemicals manufacturers to use successfully a variety of relatively inexpensive local coals to create a wide variety of industrial chemicals and fuels," said Jason Crew, director, gasification products, Asia, for GE Energy. "This experience gives our licensees an edge in China's increasingly competitive chemical production industry.""

And, as we documented, for just one example, in:

West Virginia Coal Association | General Electric Hydrogenates Coal | Research & Development; about:

"United States Patent 3,556,749 - Apparatus and Method for the Hydrogenation of Coal; 1971; Assignee: General Electric Company; Abstract: The conversion of coal into methane by reaction thereof with hydrogen gas ... wherein the hydrogen gas required is supplied by the dissociation of water vapor. Power for the dissociation is generated in a power station in which carbonaceous char, which is a by-product of the coal hydrogenation ..., and air, which may be enriched with oxygen produced (from the water vapor) during the dissociation are burned";

GE does, indeed, have Coal conversion technology of their own to bring to the game.

And, herein we learn that China has invited General Electric to join their international Coal conversion party in a genuinely big way; and, just yesterday, in what accompanying photos show to be a festive event, General Electric accepted, as excerpted from the initial link in this dispatch, with additional links and excerpts inserted and following:

"GE, Shenhua Form Coal Tech Venture; May 11, 2012; China Daily

State-owned Shenhua Group, China's largest coal producer, will work with General Electric Co to advance the development of 'cleaner coal' technology and solutions through the 50-50 joint venture.

Partners plan to make greater use of nation's huge reserves, reduce import reliance

As a coal-to-gas boom grows in China, the founding of a new joint venture to develop gasification technologies marks part of the country's multi-billion-yuan effort to lessen dependency on oil imports.

State-owned Shenhua Group, China's largest coal producer, will work with General Electric Co to advance the development of "cleaner coal" technology and solutions through the 50-50 joint venture.

(Note: "Shenua Group" isn't just "China's largest coal producer". As can be learned via:

Shenhua Group - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; and: Profile of Shenhua Group; "Shenhua Group Corporation Limited ... is also the largest ... coal supplier in the world". - JtM)

The GE Shenhua Gasification Technology Co Ltd, headquartered in Shanghai, aims to combine GE's expertise in industrial gasification technologies with Shenhua's skill in coal-fired power generation, said general manager Dong Honghai.

The firm will sell industrial gasification technology licenses in China, conduct research to improve cost and performance and work to advance to distribution of "commercial-scale integrated gasification combined cycle" projects, he told a news conference on Thursday.

The cooperation is also part of Sino-US joint efforts to develop clean energy, and gasification is a crucial component of that goal.

With more than 50 licensed facilities in China, GE's gasification technology is one of the most widely deployed in the industry.

Coal-to-gas technology allows us to use this abundant, low-cost (coal) resource in a much cleaner way, said Paul Browning, president of thermal products at GE Energy.

Coal gasification is a process that converts coal from a solid to a gaseous form through catalysis. The gasified products can be used as fuels, raw materials for chemical products and for electricity generation.

(Abundant) coal resources can serve as the primary raw materials of industrial chemicals, such as industrial-scale production of natural gas, while the hydrogen obtained from gasification can be used to make ammonia or upgrade fossil fuels.

To further support this fast-growing sector, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will provide 10 billion yuan ($1.58 billion) to support 19 coal chemical enterprises with advanced coal-gasification technologies.

According to a circular published in April, during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), the country aims to save the equivalent of 1.71 million tons of coal annually through such technology upgrades."

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They don't, in the above, exactly specify what the "19 coal chemical enterprises" utilizing such "advanced coal-gasification technologies" in their "more than 50 licensed facilities" might be making; but, our prior citation of: "GE Energy Licenses its Gasification Technology for Coal-to-Methanol Plant in China" should provide something of a clue.

In any case, the Chinese press announcement is mirrored on General Electric's own web site, as seen in:

General Electric - Press Releases - GE and Shenhua Open Cleaner Coal Technology Joint Venture in China - GE; "10 May 2012 ; GE and Shenhua Open Cleaner Coal Technology Joint Venture in China; New Venture to Advance Development and Deployment of Coal Gasification Technologies in China; Shangahi; GE (NYSE: GE) announced today the opening of GE Shenhua Gasification Technology Company Ltd., a 50-50 joint venture (JV) with Shenua to advance the development and deployment of 'cleaner coal' technology solutions in China. 

The new company combines GE’s expertise in industrial gasification technologies with Shenhua’s expertise in coal gasification and coal-fired power generation.

Gasification is a technology that converts coal into a synthesis gas (or syngas) that can then be used to produce chemicals or other products. Gasification technology has become a critical tool in the expansion of the Chinese economy, allowing a wide variety of industrial products and fuels to be created from low-cost abundant coal resources. With more than 50 licensed facilities in China, GE’s gasification technology is one of the most widely deployed in the industry. 

Shenhua is one of the world’s largest coal and energy companies, with integrated coal production, power generation, railway, port and shipping infrastructure. Shenhua also has a national role in the development of new coal-related technologies such as coal-to-liquids and carbon sequestration.

The company established the first demonstration projects for direct coal liquefaction, coal-to-olefins (MTO) and coal-to-polypropylene (MTP), utilizing gasification technology.

Through these efforts, the company has built significant expertise in the development of coal-to-chemicals facilities and in the operation of coal gasification systems over a range of technology configurations. Shenhua also has developed deep expertise in carbon utilization and management through CCS research and development.

(They are obfuscating some facts in the above statements concerning "carbon sequestration" and "CCS research and development". Our guess here is that, as seen in our reports of:

West Virginia Coal Association | General Electric Reclaims Coal Syngas Sulfur, Recycles CO2 | Research & Development; concerning:

"United States Patent 7,655,213 - Direct Oxidation of Sulfur with Carbon Dioxide Recycle; 2010; Assignee: General Electric Company; Abstract: A method for removing hydrogen sulfide to produce elemental sulfur from a synthesis gas feed stream containing hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and water using direct oxidation of hydrogen sulfide by contacting a feed stream containing synthesis gas with oxygen in the presence of a catalyst comprised of metal oxides to convert a substantial fraction of the hydrogen sulfide present in the feed stream into sulfur and water, followed by cooling the reaction products to a temperature below the dew point temperature of the water and sulfur, separating the reaction products into two streams, with the first stream containing elemental sulfur and water in liquid form and the second stream containing unreacted components from the synthesis gas, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and water, and then (reclaiming through specified processes) elemental sulfur and ... carbon dioxide and ... recycling ... carbon dioxide back to the synthesis gas feed stream"; and:

General Electric Recycles CO2 to Liquid Fuels | Research & Development; concerning:

"United States Patent Application: 0070149392 - Reactor for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Conversion; 2007;

General Electric Company, Global Research; Abstract: Disclosed herein is a ... method comprising reducing carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide in a first reaction catalyzed by a first catalyst; and reacting carbon monoxide with hydrogen in a second reaction catalyzed by second catalyst (which) facilitates the conversion of carbon monoxide to an organic compound (and) wherein the organic compound is an olefin (or) alcohol"

China and General Electric have absolutely no intention of directing any co-product Carbon Dioxide into "sequestration"; but, instead, fully intend to recycle it into more liquid fuel.)

'Both GE and Shenhua have worked together for years in China on important projects, including the Shenhua Baotou coal-to-olefins facility, which uses GE’s gasification technology. The collaboration will create a leading gasification technology business in China with significant local presence, focus, resources and expertise,' said Wang Xiaolin, deputy general manager of Shenhua Group. 

'Coal plays an important role in the economies of both the U.S. and China, and gasification technology allows us to use this abundant and low-cost resource in a much cleaner way,' said Paul Browning, president and CEO of Thermal Products, GE Energy. 'This joint venture is an evolution of the strong gasification business GE has in China today. Each business will contribute technology, operational and service expertise to create a comprehensive gasification and cleaner coal technology and service provider in China.' 

China and the U.S. are the two biggest energy consumers in the world. With rising concerns about oil prices (now above USD $90 per barrel), energy security and global warming, the world's largest developed country along with the biggest developing country have much to learn from each other. Progress can be made by collaborating on technologies that improve efficiency, reduce harmful emissions and contribute to the development of a more diverse and secure energy future. 

The collaboration between GE and Shenhua demonstrates increasing efforts in the United States and China on working together for cleaner energy solutions, with a focus on cleaner coal. 

The new JV will further strengthen GE and Shenhua’s existing relationship. Jack Wen, GE Energy China CEO emphasizes, 'This is not a market access in exchange for technology deal. Instead, this will be a two-way technology win, with both GE and Shenhua benefiting from each other’s expertise.' This means both sides will work together to generate new advanced gasification technology and business solutions, to better serve existing customers as well as explore new business opportunities."

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Well, we have a lot of "existing customers" for liquid hydrocarbon fuels in the United States of America; and, we hope that some of those "new business opportunities" they will be exploring will concern the production of "a wide variety of industrial products and fuels ... from low-cost abundant coal resources" along the banks of the Ohio River and all of it's tributaries.

Wouldn't it be nice to start seeing news releases and hearing news reports about developments like these occurring, instead of in "Shaanxi province" and "Baotou, Inner Mongolia", in Pennsylvania and West Virginia?

Don't they have some "abundant coal resources", or, have we all been somehow misled and misinformed for the past century or so?

Call us narrow-minded if you want, but - - we don't know why, maybe it's just our archaic and out-of-fashion sense of patriotism - - that would just sound better to us.

What about you?


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