CCS and Power Systems

Advanced Energy Systems - Gasification Systems

High Hydrogen, Low Methane Syngas From Low Rank Coals for Coal-to-Liquids Production.

Performer: Southern Research Institute (SRI)

Project No: FE0012054

Program Background and Project Benefits

Gasification is used to convert a solid feedstock, such as coal, petcoke, or biomass, into a gaseous form, referred to as synthesis gas or syngas, which is primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide. With gasification-based technologies, pollutants can be captured and disposed of or converted to useful products. Gasification can generate clean power by adding steam to the syngas in a WGS reactor to convert the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide (CO2) and to produce additional hydrogen. The hydrogen and CO2 are separated—the hydrogen is used to make power and the CO2 is sent to storage, converted to useful products or used for enhanced oil recovery. In addition to efficiently producing electric power, a wide range of transportation fuels and chemicals can be produced from the cleaned syngas, thereby providing the flexibility needed to capitalize on the changing economic market. As a result, gasification provides a flexible technology option for using domestically available resources while meeting future environmental emission standards. Polygeneration plants that produce multiple products are uniquely possible with gasification technologies. The Gasification Systems program is developing technologies in three key areas to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of producing syngas: (1) Feed Systems, (2) Gasifier Optimization and Plant Supporting Systems, and (3) Syngas Processing Systems.

Syngas processing research and development underway emphasizes technologies that can be efficiently integrated into the plant, optimized with the temperature and pressure requirements of other systems, and meet product delivery specifications. A major cost element in gasification plants is converting raw syngas into a pure and specific gas used to create the plant's target product suite. High-hydrogen, low-methane, ultraclean syngas is versatile and can be used for power production with CO2 capture, fuels or chemicals production, and for many polygeneration applications. The technologies being developed are focused on high-efficiency processes that operate at moderate to high temperatures and clean syngas of all contaminants to the extremely low levels needed for chemical production—often significantly lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required levels for power plants.

Southern Research Institute will design and analyze a modified, advanced gasification platform for the conversion of low-rank coals to syngas for coal-to-liquid and gasification combined cycle applications. Specifically, this will involve development, testing and optimization of steam-reforming catalysts for converting tars, C2+ hydrocarbons, NH3, and CH4 in high-temperature and sulfur environments, typical of syngas from low-rank coal gasification. Improved catalysts would increase the H2:CO ratio of the syngas and reduce down-stream fouling costs and efficiency losses, which would support the commercialization of a high-temperature, sulfur-tolerant steam reforming catalytic process to reduce the cost of coal-based gasification cleanup, reduce carbon emissions and increase the efficiency of low-rank coal gasification for production of electricity and coal-to-liquids.

This project builds upon prior work performed by SRI for DOE, including "Small Scale Coal-Biomass to Liquids Production Using Highly Selective Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis" and "Demonstration of a Piston Driven Plug Feed System for Feeding Coal/Biomass Mixtures."

Project Details