Fuel independence using low-rank coal achievable
with combined efforts of U.S. Government and Silverado
Fairbanks, AK— The lower
cost route to fuels and petrochemicals from coal is to first gasify
coal with steam and oxygen or air into synthesis gas (CO and H2)
and then catalytically reform the synthesis gas into a wide spectrum
of fuels and petrochemicals. The catalytic reformation process
is designated as the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis or process, in
honor of the German developers.
Arguably the most environmentally
benign gasification process is based on high pressure slurry fed
gasifiers developed by Texaco. Texaco gasifiers were coupled with
General Electric’s gas-fired turbines to generate power.
GE Energy recently acquired the Texaco gasification technology
and now offers a complete package for cleanly turning coal into
Due to their high inherent moisture
levels, low-rank coals (LRCs) were not considered good feedstocks
for Texaco gasification. High-rank bituminous coals and petroleum
coke were preferred feedstocks to make concentrated slurries for
feed to Texaco gasifiers. However, the development of Silverado’s
hydrothermal treatment process enables LRCs to be formulated into
low-rank coal-water fuels (LRCWFs) with solids content approaching
those of high-rank bituminous coals and petroleum coke. Thus,
hydrothermal treatment will make it possible to apply Texaco gasification
to be extended to all ranks of coal; in particular, Silverado’s
shows a flow diagram illustrating how LRCWF, GE’s Texaco
Gasification and Gas Turbine Generating Technology, and a variety
of advanced gas-to-liquid processes can be integrated into an
environmentally benign low-rank coal refinery, a LRC Ecoplex.
The variety of products that could be produced by the Ecoplex
•LRCWF - a low cost alternative
to oil for use in IGCC plants and utility and industrial oil-designed
•Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - CO2 can be recovered for sale
to enhanced oil recovery operations where it would remain sequestered
in the oil reservoir rather than emitted to the atmosphere;
•Synthesis Gas (CO + H2) - For fuel to gas-fired turbines,
feedstock to existing fertilizer plants, feed to hydrogen plants,
and feedstocks for a variety of gas to liquids plants; and
In the conceptual facility, low-rank
coal is hydrothermally treated to produce a concentrated LRCWF
using waste heat and power from the GE Texaco gasification/gas
turbine generating complex. LRCWF enjoys all the benefits of liquid
handling, storage, and transportation and it can be produced for
under $13 per barrel on an oil equivalent energy basis. LRCWF
that is not used in the in-house gasification facility can be
shipped by pipeline, rail and/or ocean tankers to utility and
industrial oil users in the international market place.
In the conceptual design GE’s
Texaco gasifiers, with their emission control technologies, would
convert LRCWF and O2 into synthesis gas (CO+H2). Synthesis gas
would be split between a number of end uses depending on demand.
Some would be used to power the GE’s gas-fired turbine generators.
Some of the gas would be available for sale to existing fertilizer
plants. A likely candidate for a Silverado Coal Ecoplex would
be the production of sulfur free diesel and other fuels.
A LRC Ecoplex offers products
in a number of different markets and allows some flexibility in
modifying the product distribution based on market demand. A LRC
Ecoplex could also be built on a modular basis for most unit operations
and new modules could easily be added as markets grow.
To complete an Integrated Gasification
Combined Cycle Fuel, Petrochemical and Power Ecoplex based on
Low-Rank Coal is Silverado’s ultimate goal. This vision
has caught the attention of the United States Government and many
of its departments. They, with Silverado, are working vigorously
to complete all fundings necessary to initiate this project at
its earliest possible date, so that North America and can become
fuel self sufficient in a cost efficient and environmentally safe
and responsible manner.