January 2006

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 power.Click to Enlarge

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 LRCWF.

www.silverado.com/ecoplex 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 would include:

•LRCWF - a low cost alternative to oil for use in IGCC plants and utility and industrial oil-designed boilers;
•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
•Electric Power

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.

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