West Virginia to Host New Coal-to-Liquids Facility

TransGas Development Systems LLC (TGDS) plans to build a coal-to-liquids plant in West Virginia, company officials announced yesterday during the West Virginia Energy Summit.

The New York–based company filed a permit to build the $3 billion facility in Mingo County. Projected to be operational by 2013, the plant will be built in the region’s new energy park near Gilbert. TGDS estimates the facility will use up to 3 million tons of locally mined coal a year to produce more than 6.5 million barrels of gasoline.

TGDS has signed a licensing agreement with Uhde Corporation of America for the use of the new PRENFLO gasifier reactor. The proprietary technology is under authorized license from Uhde GmbH, Germany.

The PRENFLO technology handles all types of coal as well as petroleum coke, char, and biomass. In addition to producing gasoline, the gasification process produces by-products such as slag and fly ash, which could be used in construction. The facility will be served by two 1,000-MWth PRENFLO gasifiers in the Direct Quench version (PDQ), and it will use a catalytic process to produce gasoline.

TGDS worked with the West Virginia Development Office and the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority to develop the project.

“We are excited that TransGas Development Systems …  is prepared to invest in our state,” said Gov. Joe Manchin. “The decision to construct this coal-to-liquids plant will encourage more efficient use of our coal, help create more job opportunities and will continue us on our path to secure a more stable and independent future in energy.”

West Virginia actively encourages the development of coal-to-liquids technologies. In July, the governor and state representatives announced with much fanfare the Northern Appalachian Fuels facility, a project hailed for its potential to produce millions of barrels of gasoline from coal.

But that project was caught in the credit crunch this October and was shelved by developers Consol Energy and Synthesis Energy Systems (SES). Citing hard economic times, Houston-based SES announced it would cease funding the $800 million facility, which would have used the company’s proprietary U-Gas technology to convert coal into synthetic gas.

Canadian firm Alter NRG, another company with a recently announced coal-to-liquids venture, also said in October that it would reduce development expenditures on the $4.2 billion Fox Creek coal-to-liquids project. That project is expected to produce some 40,000 barrels per day of diesel fuel and naphtha from existing coal reserves. Its completion has been delayed to late 2015.

See the forthcoming January issue of POWER for an update on the state of the coal-to-liquids industry.

Sources: TGDS, SES, Alter NRG, POWER magazine

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