Skip to comments.Natural Gas to Gasoline [MIT Review]
Posted on 08/27/2013 10:30:44 AM PDT by topher
A Texas company says that it has developed a cheaper and cleaner way to convert natural gas into gasoline and other liquid fuels, making it economical to tap natural-gas reserves that in the past have been too small or remote to develop.
The company behind the technology, Dallas-based Synfuels International, says that the process uses fewer steps and is far more efficient than more established techniques based on the Fischer-Tropsch process. This process converts natural gas into syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide; a catalyst then causes the carbon and hydrogen to reconnect in new compounds, such as alcohols and fuels. Nazi Germany used the Fischer-Tropsch process to convert coal and coal-bed methane into diesel during World War II.
A Synfuels gas-to-liquids (GTL) refinery goes through several steps to convert natural gas into gasoline but claims to do so with better overall efficiency. First, natural gas is broken down, or cracked, under high temperatures into acetylene, a simpler hydrocarbon. A separate liquid-phase step involving a proprietary catalyst then converts 98 percent of the acetylene into ethylene, a more complex hydrocarbon. This ethylene can then easily be converted into a number of fuel products, including high-octane gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. And the end product is free of sulfur.
Were able to produce a barrel of gasoline for much cheaper than Fischer-Tropsch can, says Kenneth Hall, coinventor of the process and former head of Texas A&M Universitys department of chemical engineering. Hall says that a Fischer-Tropsch plant is lucky to produce a barrel of gasoline for $35 but that a much smaller Synfuels refinery could produce the same barrel for $25. Under current fuel prices, such a plant could pay for itself in as little as four years, the company says.
(Excerpt) Read more at technologyreview.com ...
The other process was developed by a company in Texas.
Supposedly the cost to make a barrel of gasoline was $25 for the Texas process. That would not include the cost of the natural gas, but in some oil producing fields, the "natural gas" is discarded as it is not feasible to build pipelines.
We may actually use Unicorn Farts!...............
I’m constantly amazed by the problems american can solve and the improvements and advances we can seemingly make out of the blue.
The economy is in a race. On one hand, we have the dead hand of Government and the Fed, taking our increased productivity through inflation, taxes and destructive debt for spending
On the other hand, we have constant technological and productivity gains in the wider economy, which keep our standing of living afloat in the face of theft from the other side.
Eco-weenies heads are going to EXPLODE!.........
Rest In Peace, old friend, your work is finished.....
If you want ON or OFF the DIESEL KnOcK LIST jut FReepmail me..... This is a fairly HIGH VOLUME ping list on some days.....
If the process was as economic as they claimed, in the past 5 years they would have built more than the original pilot plant. They have not.
I must admit I’ve never heard the term “a barrel of gasoline” before.
This is the one I told you about. Did you visit or research it?
Works out to $0.60 for the catalyst process, per gallon.
Figure a similar amount for the raw gas.
Net cost around $1.20 per gallon.
I’d say this is economical, if you belive that oil itself does not suddenly become cheap or natural gas become expensive.
In oilman terms, a barrel is 42 gallons.
(as opposed to the classic 55 gallon drum used for chemicals)
In most of the US petroleum industry, all the refined products are measured in barrels. It is only pricing that typical goes to the gallon for gasoline.
They haven’t sold a license yet. But they do sell tickets to seminars.
Is that why 5 years later, only the original pilot plant is in service and no production facilities?
A San Francisco firm apparently has a startup initiated for the UC Santa Barbara process (there was a March article this year  about that startup].
With all the activity with Natural Gas, seems like someone might pick up on this -- if it is feasible.
Could be a “cold fusion” hoax, it could be government or industry roadblocks.
I’d like to see this thing make some gasoline.
Shell and Sasol have commercial production facilities converting Natural Gas to liquid Fuels, typically Kerosene, or feedstocks to diesel and gasoline blending. The plants have cost billions of dollars but have proven economic in locations where the Natural Gas is mostly converted to LNG to shipping overseas.
Both Shell and Sasol have discussed plans and funding for a US plant, but the economics are tougher, along with our cost of regulations.
I had not heard about this process. Thanks for posting, topher.
Do you happen to know how many mcf (1,000 cubic feet) of natural gas it would take to make a barrel of oil involving this new process?
While Gas-to-Liquid is not a hoax, it is a tough economic hurdle in the US. In a country like Qatar, where there is far more gas supply than consumption, keeping the local price low, they compete with LNG rather “normal” natural gas.
LNG is a relative expensive process (compared to the local price of Natural Gas). In that market, it is more economic to spend similar or even significantly more money to convert to a much higher dollar product for delivery to Europe for transportation fuel.
Because the process isn’t cheap.
In this case, the barrel is just a unit of volume. A barrel of crude may contain more than one barrel of refined gasoline because it is more dense.
I posted a link to their web site.
Under the facilities, they only list the original pilot plant, no commercial facilities.
Under the licensing section, the list many companies that have reviewed their process, but none who have purchased it.
In their newsroom section, they list the seminars where they have made presentations. No contracts, licensing or facilities listed.
I am not claiming it is a hoax, but I don’t believe they have a reliable economic solution.
The EPA might have a problem with a process that gives off CO2... Otherwise, I wonder why myself...
Appears CO2 is the only byproduct/product except gasoline.
While the total volume of all the different products will be more than a single barrel from a barrel of crude, It is economically impossible to get much more than half a barrel of any one product out of a barrel of crude.
A 42-U.S. gallon barrel of crude oil yields about 45 gallons of petroleum products.
This is supposedly a different "new" GTL process. I don't think the $25-barrel gasoline claim sounds like an economic hurdle.
According to my thumbnail calculations, that's a wholesale price of 59 cents.
Because that hopeful statement didn't turn out to be true. They are not the first to produce a working small-scale plant that didn't match their economic hopes when trying to scale up to commercial size.
What they did manage to do is sell the company to AREF Energy, see the logo in the lower left of their home page.
Now see who is AREF.
I don't think their cost estimations from the small scale pilot project turned out to be correct when enlarged to commercial production sizes.
Do you honestly believe that is a true number and five years later, no company in the entire world has bought the license and started building a plant? Really?
Thanks for the AREF link.
Sorry, make that 11 years.
Kuwait wants this to be real. They have a huge amount of gas to sell. Kuwait was the second location for Shell’s GTL plant. Kuwait has far more natural gas than oil.
Thanks! That was the graphic I was looking for.
In the US, the regulations are going to make the economics harder. But they have a business partnership with a Kuwait company trying to sell the license internationally. I still would bet on real economic cost as the reason.
That was a US average for the industry. Individual plants can be designed to move that around a lot, but 5~10% growth is about all you get unless you ignore economics and keep cracking until it is all methane.
Did you factor in all of the EPA permits they had to obtain just to build the test plant?
I admire the scientists and engineers that solve these problems, however the only problem they have yet to solve is how to get Uncle Sam out of their way and back pockets so their solutions can become reality for the rest of us...
This is why we will never see any of these refineries constructed. To paraphrase Obama, they can have them but it will just be so expensive that they cannot afford to build them.
So basically about 20 gallons of that crude is able to produce regular gasoline ? and to top that off to make it more costly they add in there some kind of blends therefore use up more crude ?
They are trying to sell internationally as well. They are not limited by the EPA outside the US. A Kuwait company has a business relationship with them, although they have not planned to build one themselves. Kuwait already has GTL commercial operations with other technology.
What a pity.
Yes, but the rest isn't waste. The other products have value as well.
and to top that off to make it more costly they add in there some kind of blends therefore use up more crude ?
Don't think of it as first making gasoline then using more energy to change that. It is more a case of making a variety of gasoline blending components to start with, then mixing the ingredients in the proportions to match different requirements.
I believe there has been more growth in petrochem related to increased natural gas production than in the increased oil production.
The increase in natural gas has lead to an increase in natural gas liquids like ethane, propane and the like. Several new chemical plants are being built to take advantage of the new supply.
U.S. Gas Plant Production of Natural Gas Liquids and Liquid Refinery Gases
While the oil production growth has plenty of new jobs related to that production, I do not see growth downstream of that. We are basically just replacing imported oil with domestic oil. We are not see much new growth in refining.
U.S. Refinery Net Input of Crude Oil