SES is the provider of a highly efficient, cost effective, and commercially proven coal, biomass and municipal solid waste conversion SES Gasification Technology (SGT) based on the U-GAS® gasification technology.
The U-GAS® process was the result of a Department of Energy and Gas Technology Institute joint development program initiated in the early 1970s to convert coal into substitute natural gas during the U.S. energy crisis. The U-GAS® gasification technology was piloted, demonstrated, and commercially operated on a wide range of feedstocks including bituminous coal, sub-bituminous coal, lignite, biomass, coal char and wastes, and metallurgical coke. As SES began to commercially deploy the U-GAS® technology, the company advanced the technology through modifications that improve fuel utilization, plant efficiency, and cost competitiveness through an expanding intellectual property library – forming SES Gasification Technology. SGT enables customers to realize higher project investment returns through greater fuel flexibility, higher efficiency, lower operating costs, and lower capital investment.ZZ Demonstration Plant
Yima Joint Venture Plant
Licensed SGT Projects
The Evolution of SGT from U-GAS®
SES advanced the U-GAS® technology through modifications that improve fuel utilization, plant efficiency, and cost competitiveness through an expanding I.P. library—forming SES Gasification Technology (SGT).
The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) is a non-profit research and development organization that supports the U.S. natural gas industry, and develops natural gas alternatives and processes. One such alternative is gasification of solid feedstocks to produce syngas, a low to medium calorific value gas that can be used as a fuel or as a feedstock for the manufacture of chemicals and energy products.
The original gasification technology developed at GTI was called HYGAS®, a multistage slurry-fed gasification system designed to produce syngas that contained up to 50%mol methane and operated at pressures of up to 70 bar(g). As natural gas prices ebbed and flowed, the need for synthetic natural gas production waned, and the HYGAS® process became unfeasible. Several other gasification technologies were spun off from it, including U-GAS®, which was originally named the Ash Agglomerating Gasifier (AAG).
U-GAS®, also known as the Utility Gasifier, was designed as a single stage, bubbling regime, non-slagging, fluidized bed gasifier that is capable of gasifying all ranks of coal, biomass and municipal solid waste (MSW) materials. In 1974, a pilot scale U-GAS® gasifier was built, and testing of feedstocks began. The gasifier was designed to run at near atmospheric pressure, and up to 24 stpd of throughput, focusing on low volatility coal and metallurgical coke. In 1975, multiple tests on Kentucky #9 coal were performed that formed the baseline for the U-GAS® performance. In 1977, the system was modified with the aid of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and natural gas industry to operate up to 3 bar(g) and on caking coals. In 1978, the first lignite was tested in the same pilot unit. From 1977 to 1980, over 125 test runs were performed using air, enriched air, and oxygen on more than 3,000 tons of feedstock and 11,000 hours of operation.
In 1980, the DOE and Carter administration commissioned coal to synfuels projects. U-GAS® was selected as one of those projects to be built, in Memphis, with Foster Wheeler as the EPC contractor. The configuration was to be three gasifiers designed for 1,000 stpd of coal throughput each operating at 5 bar(g). Due to the energy climate in the early 1980’s, the Reagan administration halted all alternative fuels projects with the exception of the Great Plains project being developed by Synfuels Corporation, which was already under construction and was based on commercially proven Lurgi technology using North Dakota lignite. Engineering was completed on the Memphis project before it was cancelled.
For the expansion of research in the field of coal to gas, in 1983, GTI built a 5 stpd process development unit (PDU) based on 20 bar(g) operating pressure and made modifications two years later to operate up to 34 bar(g). Thirty-nine campaigns based on air, enriched-air and oxygen blown tests in operating pressures ranging from 7 to 31 bar(g) were held. Over 2,000 hours of operations, more than 80 short tons of bituminous, sub-bituminous and lignite coals were tested in the U-GAS® PDU.
Over the next two decades, GTI worked with partners to engineer and build multiple pilot, demonstration and commercial scale U-GAS® plants using various feedstock types and end products. SES purchased the exclusive license to the U-GAS® technology in 2005 and began to develop its first coal to chemicals facility in China.
Today, GTI retains its focus on the gas industry and has expanded its research to include gas cleanup technologies and other gasification technologies. In 2005, GTI built the Flex Fuel Test Facility (FFTF), a state-of-the-art test facility that houses a 40 stpd pilot scale U-GAS® gasifier. The institute works with SES on bench scale testing and pilot scale testing for SES’s customers, as well as supporting FFTF tours for customers and other SES visitors to its facility in Chicago.
SGT Demonstration and Joint Venture Plants
SES has built, owned and operated two commercial coal-to-chemical plants in China with JV partners. The ZZ demonstration plant and Yima JV Plant have been used extensively to showcase SGT and to run customer feedstock tests.
Yima Joint Venture Plant
The Yima project was developed and operates under a joint venture with Yima Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd., a large integrated coal company owned by the Chinese government. Yima Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd. is headquartered in Yima City, in China’s Henan Province. Key market segments the company is involved in are coal mining, power generation, cement, alumina and coal-to-chemicals.
ZZ demonstration plant
SES’s commercial proof-of-concept SGT demonstration plant and feedstock test facility located in Shandong Province, China, commenced operations in 2008 and ceased operations in October 2015. ZZ, with two SGT systems, demonstrated successful operation on waste coals with ash content > 55% WT.
LICENSED SGT PROJECTS
Synthesis Energy Systems, as well as its China joint venture, Tianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Co., Ltd., and other collaborators have robust business development pipelines of SGT projects in multiple vertical markets and regions around the world. Only those SGT development projects that are licensed, have completed feasibility studies and in operation or construction are listed.
In December 2014, SES, through its China JV, Jiangsu Tianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Ltd. (TSEC), licensed seven gasification systems to Aluminum Corporation of China, Shandong Branch (CHALCO), China’s largest alumina and primary aluminum producer. The first of these plants, located in Zibo City, Shandong, Chalco Shandong, came online in June of 2015.
The CHALCO gas replacement projects, which are each situated adjacent to an existing CHALCO aluminum manufacturing plant, have significantly fast-tracked construction. Innovative Coal Chemical Design Institute (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (ICCDI), a subsidiary of Suzhou THVOW Technology Co., Ltd. (THVOW), is the general contractor supplying the engineering, construction and balance of plant equipment for the three projects. SES’s joint venture with THVOW, Tianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Co., Ltd., is supplying the SES Gasification Technology and equipment for these coal-to-gas turnkey projects manufacture clean syngas from SGT which is used to replace natural gas with SES’s significantly more economical and clean syngas substitute.