Systems and Industry Analyses

DOE/NETL possesses strong systems analysis and policy-support capabilities. Systems analysis in support of the Coal and Coal-Biomass to Liquids Program consists of conducting various energy analyses that provide input to decisions on issues such as national plans and programs, resource use, environmental and energy security policies, technology options for research and development programs, and paths to deployment of energy technology.

Coal and Coal-Biomass to Liquids Program's Systems and Industry Analyses Studies
Quality Guidelines for Energy System Studies The purpose of this Quality Guidelines Guideline for Energy System Studies is to provide a standard basis for studies. The intention of having a standardized document is to provide guidelines for proper procedures to increase consistency between studies.
The Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Power Plants, Volume 4: Coal-to-Liquids via Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis
This report establishes performance and cost data for coal-to-liquids systems, specifically by means of gasification and Fischer-Tropsch reaction. The analyses were performed on a consistent technical and economic basis to assess the design and financial performance of a commercial-scale coal-to-Fischer-Tropsch liquids facility. The cost and performance data were compiled from published reports, information obtained from vendor quotes and users of the technology, and data from designing and building utility and refining projects.
October 2014 DOE/NETL-2011/1477

Baseline Analysis of Crude Methanol Production from Coal and Natural Gas

Gasification of coal, in addition to generating syngas for power production, has the potential to produce a diverse array of high-value products.  It is a challenge to understand the optimal use of this domestic coal resource amidst the potential technology options, product slates (including co-production of power), and competing feedstocks (natural gas, petroleum).  This analysis seeks to begin addressing that challenge by focusing on one primary product, methanol, which also serves as a readily-transportable intermediate to many other products including olefins, gasoline, and di-methyl ether (DME).
Revised October 2014 DOE/NETL-341/101514
LCA XII Presentation: Modeling the Uncertainty of Fischer-Tropsch Jet Fuel Life Cycle Inventories with Monte Carlo Situation This presentation discusses the use of Monte Carlo simulation to model the uncertainty in a life cycle inventory of the gasification of coal and biomass. While the inventory is dominated by carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of the fuel, small changes to the feedstocks that are used to make the fuel can make the difference in complying with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
October 2012 Presentation
Production of Zero Sulfur Diesel Fuel from Domestic Coal: Configurational Options to Reduce Environmental Impact The conversion of domestic resources such as coal and biomass into diesel fuel is a near-term technology pathway to address the energy security, economic sustainability, and climate change concerns which currently face our nation. This study evaluates the economic viability and environmental impact of producing diesel fuel via Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis. Two facility design approaches – focused on fuels production and the co-production of fuels and electricity, respectively – were evaluated for the conversion of domestic resources such as coal or a mixture of coal and biomass.
May 2012 DOE/NETL-2012/1542
Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Analysis of Advanced Jet Propulsion Fuels: Fischer-Tropsch Based SPK-1 Case Study
The purpose of this report is to provide a framework and guidance for estimating the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions for transportation fuels, specifically aviation fuels derived from coal and biomass. This report is a detailed case study of ten coal and biomass to SPK-1 aviation fuel scenarios.
December 2011
Recommended Project Finance Structures for the Economic Analysis of Fossil-Based Energy Projects In this update to the 2008 report, the financial parameters to be used in economic analysis studies are updated and the issue of technology risk premium is revisited. Profiles for distributing Total Overnight Costs over various Capital Expenditure Periods (e.g. 3 and 5 years) and project financing costs that are representative of actual energy projects are also re-evaluated.
September 2011 DOE/NETL-2011/1489
Cost and Performance Baseline for Coal-to-SNG and Ammonia (Volume 2)
This report establishes performance and cost data for coal fueled plants producing synthetic natural gas and ammonia. The plants are based on a dry-feed entrained-flow gasifier and include cases using bituminous, sub-bituminous, and lignite coals. All configurations were studied with and without carbon sequestration. The analyses were performed on a consistent technical and economic basis that accurately reflects current market conditions for plants starting operation in 2012. This is believed to provide the most comprehensive set of cost and performance data available in the public literature to date. The cost and performance data were compiled from published reports, information obtained from vendor quotes and users of the technology, and data from designing and building projects.
July 2011
DOE/NETL- 2010/1402
Assessment of Hydrogen Production with CO2 Capture, Volume 1: Baseline State of the Art Plants This study establishes performance and cost data for state-of-the-art fossil energy hydrogen production plants with carbon dioxide capture and storage. Both natural gas and bituminous coal feedstocks are assessed. Future volumes will examine the cost and performance benefit when DOE-funded advanced technologies are incorporated into a coal-based hydrogen production plant with CO2 capture.
August 2010 DOE/NETL-2010/1434
Production of High Purity Hydrogen from Domestic Coal: Assessing the Techno-Economic Impact of Emerging Technologies This report assesses the improvements in cost and performance of hydrogen production from domestic coal (with carbon capture) when employing emerging technologies funded by DOE. This analysis specifically evaluates replacing conventional gas cleanup and hydrogen separation with warm gas cleanup and a high temperature membrane.
August 2010 DOE/NETL-2010/1432
Model Documentation: Alternative Liquid Fuels Simulation Model Version 2.0 AltSim 2.0 This paper summarizes the structure and methodology used in the AltSim model, presents results for selected scenarios, and provides a detailed sensitivity analysis of those results. The Alternative Liquid Fuels Simulation Model (AltSim) is a high-level dynamic simulation program which calculates and compares the production and end use costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy balances of several alternative liquid transportation fuels, including corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol from various feedstocks, biodiesel, and diesels derived from natural gas, coal, and coal with biomass. This model is available for download here.
March 2010 DOE/NETL-2010/1404
Affordable, Low-Carbon Diesel Fuel from Domestic Coal and Biomass This study evaluates the use of domestic resources to meet national objectives of energy security, economic sustainability, and the mitigation of global climate change. Specifically, feasibility of these objectives is reviewed relevant to the transportation sector's needs and the unconventional fuels by which this sector can operate. The findings of the report indictate that CTL fuel is compatible with our current fuel distribution infrastructure, can be used directly in existing diesel vehicles, and would be economically competitive with petroleum-derived diesel when the crude oil price (COP) is equal to or above $86 per barrel (bbl).
January 2009 DOE/NETL-2009/1349
NETL Test Protocol Testing of Hydrogen Separation Membranes
The NETL Test Protocol for Testing of Hydrogen Separation Membranes (Oct 2008) was developed to determine the performance of hydrogen separation membranes for use in a gasification-based process to produce hydrogen from coal. The Test Protocol enables NETL to clearly state expectations to contractors and compare hydrogen separation membranes on a common basis.
October 2008
Recommended Project Finance Structures for the Economic Analysis of Fossil-Based Energy Projects This analysis develops a set of market validated financial assumptions, including the required internal rate of return for the equity portion of the investment (IRROE), cost of debt, and the financing structure (debt/equity ratio) needed to conduct comparative economic analyses of commercial and advanced coal-based power and fuel systems. These inputs are necessary to perform technical and economic analyses of coal-to-power, coal-to-liquids (CTL), coal-to-synthetic natural gas (CTG), natural gas to liquids (GTL) and natural gas to power technologies.
September 2008 DOE/NETL-401/090808
An Engineering-Economic Analysis of Syngas Storage This investigation examines whether an IGCC facility that operates its gasifier continuously but stores the syngas and produces electricity only when daily prices are high may be more profitable than an IGCC facility with no syngas storage. The goal of this study is to generate an initial examination of whether storing syngas can increase the profitability of IGCC plants, rather than to perform a plant design.
July 2008 DOE/NETL-2008/1331
Chemical-Looping Process in a Coal-to-Liquids Configuration Simulations of an integrated coal to Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) liquids process, including a chemical looping scheme, under development by Ohio State University, were performed and the technical results from this analysis were then compared to a conventional coal-to-liquids (CTL) system. Results of the comparative technical analysis between the chemical looping scheme and the conventional CTL scheme indicate that the chemical looping case increased liquid production from the same coal feed by about 10% and the total carbon emissions per barrel produced is about 19% less for the proposed chemical looping system compared to the conventional CTL configuration.
December 2007 DOE/NETL-2008/1307
Alaska Coal Gasification Feasibility Studies - Healy Coal-to-Liquids Plant This study evaluates the feasibility of building a relatively small coal-to-liquids plant in central Alaska to provide a clean diesel product to Alaska’s refineries. The study concludes that the establishment of a 14,640 barrel per day F-T plant, using 4 million tons per year of coal, could be economic provided the price per barrel of the F-T product is at least $64 per barrel.
July 2007 DOE/NETL-2007/1251
Metal sorbents for high temperature mercury capture from fuel gas The paper “High temperature metal sorbents for mercury capture from fuel gas” was accepted for publication in the Elsevier Journal - Fuel.  It was found that palladium can adsorb large quantities of mercury from simulated syngas upon extended exposures, whereas platinum captured somewhat less mercury.  Sorbents with palladium concentrations of between 2 and 9% by weight on alumina were exposed to simulated syngas at temperatures of 204 oC – 371 oC.  X-ray diffraction analysis of the used palladium sorbents exposed at 204 oC suggests the formation of a mercury-palladium alloy, with concentrations of 12.0 - 14.4 atom percent mercury.  The large capacity for mercury by palladium sorbents bodes well for its commercial prospects in gasification systems.
May 2007  
Baseline Technical and Economic Assessment of a Commercial Scale Fischer-Tropsch Liquids Facility This report examines the technical and economic feasibility of a commercial 50,000 barrel per day coal-to-liquids (CTL) facility in the Illinois coal basin. The facility employs gasification and Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) technology to produce commercial-grade diesel and naphtha liquids from medium-sulfur bituminous coal. The scope of the study includes conceptual design development, process analysis, component descriptions, capital and operating cost estimates, and a comparative financial analysis.
April 2007 DOE/NETL-2007/1260
Technical and Economic Assessment of Small-Scale Fischer-Tropsch Liquids Facilities This report examines the technical and economic feasibility of a small-scale coal-toliquids (CTL) facility in southwestern West Virginia. The facility employs gasification and Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) technology to produce commercial-grade diesel and naphtha liquids from a high-sulfur bituminous coal. The scope of the study includes conceptual design development, process analysis, component descriptions, capital and operating cost estimates, and a comparative financial analysis.
February 2007 DOE/NETL-2007/1253
Beluga Coal Gasification Feasibility Study - Phase I Final Report This study focused on evaluating the feasibility of the gasification of Beluga coal, shipped from the Chuitna Mine located across the Cook Inlet, to produce synthetic gas to be used by Agrium.
June 2006 DOE/NETL-2006/1248
Polygeneration of SNG, Hydrogen, Power, and Carbon Dioxide from Texas Lignite The intent of this study is to investigate the feasibility of siting a lignite conversion plant in Texas at the mine mouth of the Wilcox lignite deposit. The concept is to coproduce at least three products: electric power, hydrogen or substitute natural gas (SNG), and carbon dioxide. The electric power would be sold to the grid, the hydrogen would be sent by pipeline to the Gulf Coast petroleum refineries, the SNG would be sold as a natural gas supplement, and the carbon dioxide would be pipelined to the West Texas oil fields for enhanced oil recovery.
December 2004 DE-AM26-99FT40465
Gasification Plant Cost and Performance Optimization Task 1 and 2 - Final Report This project developed optimized designs and cost estimates for several coal and petroleum coke IGCC co-production projects that produced hydrogen, industrial grade steam, and hydrocarbon liquid fuel precursors in addition to power.  The as-built design and actual operating data from the DOE sponsored Wabash River Coal Gasification Repowering Project was the starting point for this study that was performed by Bechtel, Global Energy and Nexant under Department of Energy contract. This final report includes the results from Tasks 1 and 2.
September 2003 DE-AC26-99FT40342
Gasification Plant Cost and Performance Optimization Task 2 Topical Report Coke/Coal Gasification With Liquids Co production Volumes 1 and 2 This report describes Task 2 of a Department of Energy sponsored study (DOE contract DEAC26- 99FT40342) that extended the investigation of petroleum coke and coal fueled IGCC power plants to those that co-produce liquid transportation fuel precursors using Fischer- Tropsch hydrocarbon synthesis technology.  Task 2 was divided into three subtasks.  These subtasks dealt with converting two of the optimized plants developed during Task 1 into IGCC power plants with liquid fuels co-production. The results of Task 2 showed that adding hydrocarbon liquids co- production to an IGCC power plant can be cost effective when oil prices are relatively high.
September 2003 DE-AC26-99FT40342
Refinery Technology Profiles - Gasification and Supporting Technologies This report includes an overview of refinery gasification and supporting technologies and a description of the methodology used in the analysis. A comparison of this newly developed data with the current performance of the technology and the research goals of DOE’s fossil energy programs is provided. The profiles are consistent with existing refinery based gasification plants constructed and operated since 1996. The information contained in this report was used to generate the following tables for implementation in the Petroleum Marketing Module within NEMS.
September 2003  
Capital and Operating Cost of Hydrogen Production from Coal Gasification Due to wide differences in reported cost for capital and the need to provide a baseline cost for hydrogen production, prior plant designs and cost estimates for producing hydrogen from coal gasification utilizing commercial technology have been reviewed and updated. The key benefit of utilizing commercial technology is obtaining credible cost estimates for the plant with a minimum of process contingency. The results of the effort are intended to prepare a basis from which to utilize individualized financial parameters in the U. S. Department of Energy Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle Cost Estimating Model to arrive at a selling price for hydrogen. From a common thermal gasifier throughput, plant gate costs for hydrogen produced from coal gasification from two coals, Pittsburgh #8 bituminous and Wyodak Powder River Basin sub-bituminous, were determined from two plant designs for hydrogen production, based on currently available process technology, and meeting current permitting regulations for environmental compliance. These baseline plants will not capture CO2. These cost estimates were prepared to quantify the differing plant characteristics associated with bituminous coal or sub-bituminous coal.
April 2003 DE-AM26-99FT40465
Eastman Chemicals from Coal Complex This Topical Report provides publicly available technical data on the Eastman chemicals-from-coal complex in Kingsport, including the removal of mercury within the gasification section. The chemicals-from-coal complex continues to be a commercially viable operation for the production of acetyl chemicals from coal.  The project involves the operation of a 260 short tons per day, or 80,000 gallons per day, methanol unit utilizing coal-derived syngas from Eastman’s integrated coal gasification facility. 
Other specific data on the operation of the Eastman guard bed to protect methanol synthesis catalyst and the wastewater treatment system are provided. Species of arsenic and sulfur from the Rectisol syngas clean-up plant are present at parts-per-billion by volume concentrations, and a catalyst guard bed has been in service to further reduce these concentrations prior to the introduction of the primary syngas feed (Balanced Gas) to either the fixed-bed methanol plant or the Liquid Phase Methanol Demonstration Unit.
March 2003 DE-FC22-92PC90543
Removal of Trace Contaminants from Coal-Derived Synthesis Gas This topical report examines the identification of potential catalyst poisons and their effects on catalyst performance, the selection of suitable adsorbents to be used in a fixed catalyst guard bed configuration for the removal of targeted catalyst poisons, and the implementation and evaluation of the performance of the adsorbents in the Liquid Phase Methanol Demonstration Unit.  The project involves the operation of an 80,000-gallons-per-day (260-short-tons-per-day (sT/D)) methanol unit utilizing coal-derived syngas from Eastman’s integrated coal gasification facility.
March 2003 DE-FC22-92PC90543
Feed System Innovation For Gasification of Locally Economical Alternative Fuels (FIGLEAF) The goal of the project was to identify and evaluate low-value fuels that could serve as alternative feedstocks and to develop a feed system to facilitate their use in integrated gasification combined-cycle and gasification coproduction facilities. The feasibility study undertaken for the project consisted of identifying and evaluating the economic feasibility of potential fuel sources, developing a feed system design capable of providing a fuel at 400 psig to the second stage of the E-Gas (Destec) gasifier to be cogasified with coal, performing bench- and pilot-scale testing to verify concepts and clarify decision-based options, reviewing information on high-pressure feed system designs, and determining the economics of cofeeding alternative feedstocks with the conceptual feed system design.
February 2003 DE-FC26-00NT40904
Major Environmental Aspects of Gasification-Based Power Generation Technologies - Final Report This report provides a comprehensive reference resource for gasification-based power generation technologies that examines both environmental performance and regulatory topics affecting the siting and operation of commercial plants. It presents an evaluation of the environmental performance of Integrated Gasification Combined - Cycle (IGCC) power generation technology and compares IGCC environmental performance with other competing coal-based technologies.
December 2002 DE-AT26-99FT20101
The Cost of Mercury Removal in an IGCC Plant - Final Report This report estimates the cost of mercury removal for applying a carbon bed filter to an IGCC plant. The carbon filter bed is assumed to achieve 99 percent reduction of mercury emissions, with outlet levels less than 1 ppbw. The cost format was based on the methodology used in the EPA Mercury Study Report to Congress while the cost estimate (capital and O&M) was based on Parsons on-site data and experience. The costs of mercury removal by a carbon bed in an IGCC are found to be much lower than from a utility boiler with carbon filter beds.
September 2002  
Hydrogen from Coal This report examines current and advanced technologies to produce hydrogen from coal. The performance and economics of these technologies are analyzed including configurations for carbon sequestration. For comparison, the economics of producing hydrogen from natural gas and photovoltaic water electrolysis are included.
July 2002 DE-AM26-99FT40465
Gasification Markets & Technologies - Present and Future: An Industry Perspective This report presents industry's views of technologies, market opportunities, and both long-term and short-term research needs deemed critical to improving the economics and performance of gasification technologies. The principal findings are the result of confidential interviews with "expert teams" from 22 prominent organizations across a wide span of the U.S. gasification industry, all of which are identified as having a direct influence on current and future technology trends.
July 2002 DOE/FE-0447
Benchmarking Biomass Gasification Technologies for Fuels, Chemicals & Hydrogen Production The overall objective of this paper is to survey and benchmark existing-commercial or near-commercial biomass gasification technologies for suitability to generate syngas compatible with commercial or near-commercial end-use technologies for fuels, chemicals and hydrogen manufacture.  This study considered the specific fuel and chemical applications: Fischer-Tropsch fuels, methanol, hydrogen, and fuel gas.
June 2002