Saturday, November 15, 2008

$3.5 Billion Refinery Slated for Louisiana, Huge Coal to Gas Plant 300 BCF a Year

Massachusetts investment firm C Change Investments LLC of Cambridge, Mass, is pairing with an unnamed large utility company to build a $3.5 billion coal to gas plant producing 300 billion cubic feet of gas per year. That is equivalent to 7% of the amount of natural gas shipped to the US from Canada yearly.
In addition to producing synthetic natural gas — a cleaner form of gas created from coal and petroleum coke at extremely higher temperatures — the project would capture carbon dioxide and pipe it to offshore wells in the Gulf to improve extraction of oil and gas.

...The NC12 venture claims to have a game-changing catalytic technology that will convert coal along with petroleum coke from Louisiana refineries into synthetic natural gas at half the cost of other gasification technologies.

Among the company’s principals is John Preston, a senior lecturer at MIT’s Entrepreneurship Center. Preston and other investors bought patents for high-temperature liquid metal catalysts and the assets of Molten Metal Technologies in Fall River, Mass., according to NC12 materials.

It’s that technology that NC12 would employ in Louisiana. Allen said about 1.5 billion cubic feet of synthetic natural gas has been produced in Fall River and transported via pipeline, proving the company’s concept at that scale, he said.

At 2,700 degrees F, 32-foot high reactors with a 10-foot diameter house the gasification process. About 10 would be installed in a first phase in Louisiana and produce 50 billion cubic feet of synthetic natural gas per year, Allen said.
Such advanced coal to gas, coal to liquid, and coal to electricity plants are an essential part of the foundation for America's energy bridge to sustainability. In a few decades, utility scale storage will allow large scale use of solar and wind without the huge costs for backup energy currently required. In addition, enhanced geothermal energy will have been perfected in a few decades to provide large scale sustainable baseline power.

The combination of the new clean gasification technologies (of coal, biomass, shale, etc) with new modular nuclear reactors, should allow for a transition to cleaner and sustainable energy without the devastating interruption of a decade long depression.

If Obama, Pelosi, Boxer, Gore, and their pals step in to enforce nonsensical carbon hysteric EPA rules on CO2, all bets are off--and a multi-decadal depression starts to look likely. From Bush to Obama? Out of a simmering pan and into the hottest fire imaginable.

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