Monday, May 04, 2009

In Situ Oil Shale Gasification and More

General Synfuels International (GSI) is planning to test a method of oil shale recovery in Wyoming and Colorado called in situ gasification.
The process begins by drilling into the body of oil shale and locating a processing inlet conduit within the hole. An effluent conduit is anchored around the opening of the hole at the ground surface. Pressurized air is introduced to an above-ground combustor, superheated and directed underground into the oil shale through the inlet conduit.

As the superheated air (SHA) travels down a borehole, it interacts with the kerogen in the oil shale and brings hydrocarbons to the surface in the form of hot gases. The gases are then condensed to yield light hydrocarbon liquids and gases. The process achieves a controlled and relatively quick production of product.

Heat from the SHA creates a radiant heat process throughout the length of the processing gas inlet conduit, causing a non-burning thermal energy front in the oil shale surrounding the hole in a predictable radius. The high temperatures and correct pressures cause the oil bearing material to gasify. The porosity of the marlstone allows the gaseous hydrocarbon products to be withdrawn as an effluent gas into the effluent gas conduit.

This resulting gas is transferred from the effluent gas conduit into a condenser where it is allowed to expand and cool and produce liquid and gas hydrocarbon products. A portion of the gas produced is recycled to the combustor to blend with other recycled feedstocks and provide combustible material for continuous fueling within the combustor. This self-perpetuating feedstock feature reduces the cost of product substantially. _GCC
In other news from GreenCarCongress, both Ford and BMW are investigating heat recovery from automobile engines -- in a quest to increase overall automobile fuel efficiency. Ford is investigating a thermoelectric approach. BMW is looking at both thermoelectrics and a rankine cycle recovery system.

Metabolic engineering and genetic engineering companies are teaming up to create the "poifect" micro-factory for biofuels. Well, pernaps not the perfect fuel factory, but one that stands to make bio-ethanol production almost 10% more efficient than currently. This is, after all, a biological planet. May as well make the best of it.

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