The production of methanol from coal using existing commercially available processing technology is examined for the example of a self-contained plant importing only coal, water and a small amount of power and located adjacent to a Wyoming mine site. Coal from the mine is crushed and dried to 8% moisture, then sent to a fluidized bed gasifier which produces H2, CO, CO2, methane and inert material from subbituminous coal. The hot gas is treated to ensure the proper H2 to CO ratio and remove sulfur and excess CO2, and is compressed in a methanol synthesis loop in order to produce a total of 7050 tons/day of methanol and 35 liquid tons/day of byproduct sulfur. The overall plant thermal efficiency is 46.5 %, and graphs of the cost of methanol as a function of the cost of coal are presented which indicate the greater sensitivity of methanol prices to capital costs than to plant efficiency.
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