http://www.energy.gov.za/files/4thEUSouthAfricaCleanCoalWorkingGroup/SJ%20Mangena%20-%20SA-EU%20Clean%20Coal%20Working%20Group%20Meeting%20-final.pdf

 

We have, of course, many times documented the fact that the nation of South Africa, via the company "Sasol", which some report to mean "South Africa Synthetic Oil Limited", has been quite successfully converting Coal into liquid fuels for transportation for more than half a century.

Sasol's industrial approach for such Coal utilization has been recognized by both the United States Department of Energy and the United States Environmental Protection agency - -

 

as in our reports of:

 

West Virginia Coal Association | USDOE Assesses South Africa Coal Liquefaction | Research & Development; concerning: "Foreign Coal Liquefaction Technology Survey and Assessment: SASOL - The Commercial Experience; Prepared for Chemical Technology Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Subcontract Number 62b-1383C;  November 30, 1980; OSTI ID: 12195973; Report Number: ORNL/Sub--79/13837/4; DOE Contract: W-7405-ENG-26; Sponsoring Organization: United States Department of Energy; Work sponsored by the International Energy Technology Assessment Project, directed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (for) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Department of Energy; Summary: An effort has been made to sift through the numerous documents that have been published concerning the Sasol facilities in Sasolburg ·and Secunda, South Africa, and compile a report that will describe these facilities in some detail and in a logical fashion. The report is split into a section on Sasol One and a smaller orie covering Sasols Two and Three. The description of Sasol One is essentially a description of the commercial plant. The second section describes what has been done in recent years, is being done and is planned for the near future to use the experience that has been gained by Sasol Ltd. since 1955 in new synthetic fuel facilities that address the energy problems of South Africa in the 1980's. ... In this introductory section mention is· made of the key role that Sasol plays in the entire South African energy scene and the catalyst that it has been in forming a diverse chemical industry ... . As far back as 1927-the South African government had noted the country's heavy dependence on imports for much needed transportation fuels. This was when a White Paper had been published on oil-from-coal. Here was a way to make use of the country's bountiful coal reserves ... thereby cutting dependence on foreign fuel sources"; and:

 

West Virginia Coal Association | US EPA Confirms Coal Liquids Cheaper Than Petroleum | Research & Development; concerning: "Sasol: South Africa's Oil From Coal Story - - Background For Environmental Assessment; EPA-600/8-80-002; TRW Environmental Engineering Division; California; January, 1980; Contract No. 68-02-2635; EPA Project Officer: William J. Rhodes; Industrial Environmental Research Laboratory; Office of Environmental Engineering and Technology; Research Triangle Park, N.C. 27711; Prepared for: U. S. Environmental Protection Agency; Office of Research and Development; Washington, D.C. 20460; Abstract: The report describes the world's only oil-from-coal plant, known as SASOL, operated by South Africa since 1955. When almost 7 billion worth of expansion is completed in the early 1980s, three SASOL plants will produce a total of 112,000 barrels of oil per day, or about half of South Africa's needs. Production costs average $17 per barrel, well below the 1979 OPEC price of more than $20 per barrel. "Sasol's success indicates that producing synthetic fuels from coal can be technically and economically feasible"; and:

 

West Virginia Coal Association | US EPA Recommends Coal Liquefaction as a Clean Alternative | Research & Development; concerning: "Clean Alternative Fuels: Fischer-Tropsch; United States Environmental Protection Agency; Transportation and Air Quality Transportation and Regional Programs Division; EPA420-F-00-036; March 2002; A Success Story (!) For the past 50 years, Fischer-Tropsch fuels have powered all of South Africa’s vehicles, from buses to trucks to taxicabs. Sasol’s South African facility produces more than 150,000 barrels of high quality fuel from domestic low-grade coal daily. The resultant fuel is colorless, odorless, and low in toxicity (and has) important emissions benefits compared with diesel, reducing nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter";

 

- - as being both economically and environmentally better than making liquid fuels for transportation conventionally from natural petroleum sources.

 

As we've seen for one example, in our report of:

 

West Virginia Coal Association | South Africa seeks US Coal-to-Jet Fuel Patent | Research & Development; concerning: "US Patent Application 20100264061A1 - Synthetic Aviation Fuel; Date: October, 2010; Inventor: Carl Louis Viljoen, et. al., South Africa; Assignee: Sasol Technology Ltd., Johannesburg; Abstract: The invention relates to a Fischer-Tropsch derived aviation fuel, which fuel is used either as a fuel on its own or as a component in an aviation fuel blend ... . Claims: A Fischer-Tropsch derived aviation fuel ... . Background and Field: This invention relates to an improved Fischer-Tropsch derived aviation fuel ... . Distillate fuel derived from the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process is highly paraffinic and has excellent burning properties and very low sulfur. This makes Fischer-Tropsch products ideally suited for fuel use where environmental concerns are important. Clean distillates with low emission characteristics that contain low sulfur, nitrogen or aromatics such as distillates from the Fischer-Tropsch process will in the future be in great demand as aviation fuel or in blending aviation fuel. The FT process is used industrially to convert synthesis gas, which may be derived from coal ... into hydrocarbons ranging from methane to species with molecular masses above 1400";

 

Sasol relies on modern variations of the now nearly ancient "Fischer-Tropsch" process for the indirect conversion of Coal into hydrocarbons, wherein Coal is first gasified, and made to form a blend of Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen "synthesis gas", or "syngas", which syngas is then chemically condensed over any one of a number of known catalysts and made thereby to form both liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons.

 

We'll note in passing that the above "US Patent Application 20100264061A1 - Synthetic Aviation Fuel", wherein Sasol discloses how Coal can be indirectly, through initial gasification, converted into high-quality liquid fuel for commercial aviation purposes, was recently, as seen separately via:

 

"United States Patent: 8597493 - Synthetic Aviation Fuel; December 3, 3013",

 

(Synthetic aviation fuel - Sasol Technology (Pty) Ltd);

 

confirmed by technical experts in the employ of our US Government to be valid and practicable technology.

 

To help better understand the South Africa Synthetic Oil Ltd, technology for gasifying and liquefying Coal, we herein submit a presentation made by Sasol to the European Economic Union, EU, which illustrates the process and better defines and identifies the great range of industrial products which can be made from Coal.

 

Comment follows and is inserted within excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to:

 

"Sasol: Reaching New Frontiers

 

Coal Gasification and Liquefaction- SA Experiences and Opportunities

 

Setobane Mangena (PhD) Sasol Technology (Pty) Ltd; 4th EU -South Africa Clean Coal Working Group Meeting; 06 November 2012

 

Background:

 

Sasol Direct coal liquefaction

 

Indirect coal liquefaction

 

The Sasol Coal to Liquids (CTL) Process

 

The Sasol-Fixed Bed Dry Bottom (Sasol(r) -FBDBTM) Gasification Technology & Development

 

AECI Coal to Ammonia Plant

 

Future Opportunities

 

Sasol's Contributions to the South African Economy:

 

Employment Direct and indirect employment for over 200,000 people.

 

(Sasol presents some statistics,as above, in the full presentation concerning the great benefits converting Coal into liquid hydrocarbon fuels has on the South African economy. As above, their Coal liquefaction industry directly and indirectly provides for the employment of "200,000 people". And that, in a nation, as told us by the USDOE's Energy Information Agency:

 

South Africa - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA); "South Africa has one of the world's largest synthetic fuels industries, which accounts for nearly all of its domestic liquid fuels supply", and, "South African proven coal reserves were estimated at 30.2 billion short tons by the end of 2011, accounting for 95 percent of total African coal reserves and almost 4 percent of total world reserves";

 

with Coal reserves of "30.2 billion short tons", which, as seen in:

 

U.S. Coal Reserves; "US Coal Reserves: As of January 1, 2013, the demonstrated reserve base (DRB) was estimated to contain 481 billion short tons";

 

is less than ten percent of our domestic US Coal reserves.)

 

Direct Liquefaction: Coal + Hydrogenation (Hydrogen + Catalyst) + Distillation = Gasoline + Kerosene

 

Indirect Coal Liquefaction: Syngas = Fuels, Chemicals, Electricity

 

(Our above summation of the slides does a great disservice to Sasol's presentation, and to the incredibly wide range of products which can be made from Coal. We urge study of the full presentation as accessible via the links. Concerning Sasol's equation of "Indirect Coal Liquefaction: Syngas = Fuels, Chemicals, Electricity", for instance, see our report of:

 

West Virginia Coal Association | South Africa Co-produces Power and Hydrocarbons from Coal | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 8,247,462 - Co-production of Power and Hydrocarbons; 2012; Assignee: Sasol Technology Limited, South Africa". )

 

The Sasol complex in Secunda, operated by Sasol Synfuels (Pty) Ltd is the world’s largest commercial Coal to Liquids (CTL) facility to date. Facility converts ~40 Mt of coal per annum into ~160 000 bbl/day of liquid fuels ~ 27% of South Africa’s total liquid fuels production. Other products include inter alia pipeline gas, pitch, carbon products, solvents, polymers and other chemicals.

 

(Again, we see in the above the potentials for co-producing, along with "liquid fuels", a wide range of other products, such as "pipeline gas" and 'polymers", from Coal.)

 

Coal will continue to play a significant role in the South African energy economy

 

Integration of various coal utilisation options in one complex (polygeneration) may be an opportunity for South Africa

 

Coal gasification can be an enabler for the polygeneration concept

 

(Concerning the above, refer to our earlier report, as cited and linked-to above, of Sasol's "United States Patent 8,247,462 - Co-production of Power and Hydrocarbons".)

 

Direct coal liquefaction is highly coal specific and very costly due to severe process conditions.

 

(The above is not necessarily true. First, as seen for only one example in:

 

West Virginia Coal Association | WVU Coal and Carbon-recycling Renewables into Crude Oil | Research & Development; concerning, primarily:"United States Patent 8,597,382 - Rubber Material In Coal Liquefaction; December 3, 2013; Inventor: Alfred H. Stiller, Morgantown, WV; Assignee: West Virginia University; Abstract: The present disclosure provides methods and systems for coal liquefaction using a rubber material ... wherein the rubber material is from a rubber tire (and wherein the product) coal extract may be added to a pipeline of petroleum crude for delivery to a petroleum refinery"; and which also contained links to our prior reports concerning: "United States Patent 8,449,632 - Sewage Material in Coal Liquefaction; May 28, 2013; Inventor: Alfred H. Stiller, Morgantown, WV; Assignee: West Virginia University; Abstract: The present disclosure provides methods and systems for coal liquefaction using a sewage material. A method of obtaining a de-ashed coal extract includes exposing a coal to a sewage material. ... The de-ashed coal extract may be added to a pipeline of petroleum crude for delivery to a petroleum refinery"; and: "United States Patent 8,465,561 -Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil in Coal Liquefaction; June 18, 2013; Inventors: Alfred H. Stiller and Elliot B. Kennel, Morgantown, WV; Assignee: West Virginia University; Abstract: The present disclosure provides methods and systems for coal liquefaction using a hydrogenated vegetable oil";

 

West Virginia University has recently demonstrated that "Direct coal liquefaction" need not be "coal specific", nor require "costly ... process conditions". Further, as seen for only one out of several examples in:

 

West Virginia Coal Association | South Africa Improves Coal to Gasoline Conversion Efficiencies | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 4,318,797 - Process for Converting Coal into Liquid Products; 1982; Assignee: Sasol One Proprietary, (South Africa); Abstract: The invention provides a process and an apparatus for hydrogenative liquefaction of coal to produce high yields of gasoline fraction and optional yields of diesel and residue fraction, all of superior quality. The coal is slurried and digested in two separate and distinct streams. The pasting oil of the first stream is heavy residue fraction derived to a substantial extend from the second stream, mixed with light oil derived partly or wholly from the first stream. The pasting oil of the second stream is middle oil derived from the fractionated discharge of the first stream, any shortfall being made up from the discharge of the second stream. A high degree of flexibility is possible by varying the ratio of coal fed to the respective streams between 3:1 and 1:3, and individual manipulation of the process parameters within each stream in respect of pressure, temperature, catalyst, residence time, pasting oil composition and coal quality. Claims: Process for converting a liquefiable coal directly into predominantly liquid products suitable for making hydrocarbon fuel";

 

Sasol has developed advanced "Direct coal liquefaction" technologies of their own. We suspect that their preference for indirect, gasification-liquefaction, processes might really arise from the range of products, including electricity, substitute natural gas and a variety of chemicals, as made clear in the full presentation, which can be produced during Coal gasification and from the Coal-derived syngas. )

 

Due to its advantages, particularly the suitability for low grade and low rank coal, the Sasol(r)-FBDBTM gasification technology will continue to play a significant role in unlocking the value of South African coal.

 

The Sasol (r) FBDBTM gasification technology offers various advantages:

 

- H2/CO ratio directly suitable for the Fischer-Tropsch technology

 

- Low oxidant requirements

 

- Particularly suited for low grade and lower rank coal

 

- Gasifiers are robust and have a high availability

 

- Tar and oils augment liquid fuels production

 

- Given a suitable feedstock, the Sasol(r) FBDBTM gasification technology offers distinct advantages to both current and future CTL projects. The technology can also be used for other coal conversion opportunities

 

Future Opportunities: An Integrated Coal Utilization-Polygeneration Complex (Producing):

 

- Methanol, Dimethyl Ether, Chemicals

 

(Keep in mind, that, as seen for one example in our report of:

 

West Virginia Coal Association | ExxonMobil "Coal to Clean Gasoline" | Research & Development; concerning: "'Coal to Clean Gasoline'; ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company; ... ExxonMobil's methanol to gasoline technology for the production of clean gasoline from coal. There are two commercially demonstrated routes for converting coal to transportation fuels through gasification. The widely known Fischer-Tropsch process was first discovered in the 1920s. It has been commercially practiced by Sasol in several different forms ... . Although it is less known, there is another commercially proven alternative for converting coal to gasoline, through methanol. ExxonMobil’s methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) process efficiently converts crude methanol to high quality clean gasoline. When coupled with commercially proven coal gasification and methanol synthesis technology, MTG offers an effective route to premium transportation fuel from coal";

 

once we have Methanol, made, via gasification, from Coal, that Methanol can then be efficiently converted directly into Gasoline. )

 

- Fischer-Tropsch Products: Sulfur-free Fuels, Jet Fuel, LPG, Base Oils, Lubricants

 

- Power From Co-Generation: Integrated Steam Production

 

- Renewables Supplementing: NH3 for Chemicals, Fertilizers, Explosives

 

- Ash For Civil Infrastructure: Roads, Cement Additives".

-------------------------

 

We've documented all of the above "polygeneraton" potentials in other of our reports, as well. One perhaps of some interest would be that seen in our report of:

 

West Virginia Coal Association | USDOE Converts Coal Exhaust into Fertilizer | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 6,447,437 - Method for Reducing CO2, CO, NOx and SOx Emissions; 2002; Inventors: James Lee, TN, and Rongfu Li, China; Assignee: UT Battelle, LLC, Oak Ridge, TN (USDOE); Abstract: Industrial combustion facilities are integrated with greenhouse gas-solidifying fertilizer production reactions so that CO2, CO, NOx, and SOx emissions can be converted prior to emission into carbonate-containing fertilizers, mainly NH4HCO3 and/or (NH2)2CO, plus a small fraction of NH4NO3 and(NH4)2SO4. The invention enhances sequestration of CO2 into soil and the earth subsurface, reduces NO3 contamination of surface and groundwater, and stimulates photosynthetic fixation of CO2 from the atmosphere";

 

wherein it was seen how our own USDOE, more than a decade ago, confirmed that both "NH3" and CO2 in exhaust streams arising from Coal utilization processes could be consumed and utilized in the making of, as Sasol indicates, "Fertilizers".

 

We wanted to provide you herein with a more graphic, illustrated presentation on South Africa's Coal conversion industry. It will, hopefully, provide you with a better understand of the process, and the potentials.

 

There will be more to follow on Sasol's and South Africa's industry that, for more than half a century now, has been supplying, according to our own US Department of Energy, "nearly all" of South Africa's requirements for liquid hydrocarbon fuels, and for many other products conventionally based on petroleum, and electricity, via processes that start with one key raw material:

Coal.


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