SES provides the technology platform that allows energy in the widest range of feedstocks to be unlocked and converted into flexible and valuable syngas and further converted into the world’s most highly valued energy and chemical products. The ability for all ranks of coal, coal wastes, lignites, peat, municipal solid waste (MSW), agricultural biomass and other biomass feedstocks to be converted into clean syngas to produce power, industrial fuel, substitute natural gas (SNG), reducing gas for direct reduced iron (DRI) for steel production, fertilizers and chemical building blocks, and transportation fuels represents cutting-edge, environmentally responsible energy technology.
SES is advancing its economical cleaner coal power solution with iGAS, which are syngas-to-power IGCC projects that incorporate SGT with GE’s aero-derivative gas turbines. SES’s collaboration with GE Packaged Power, Inc., a subsidiary of GE, began in 2013 to jointly evaluate and market a smaller- to medium-scale coal-to-power generation unit, and is an ongoing example of SES’s market-based business vertical developments underway. This global marketing arrangement focuses on regions of the world where conversion of non-conventional feedstock sources such as lignite and coal wastes into synthesis gas fuel via SGT may be highly price advantaged over conventional gas turbine fuel sources such as natural gas and fuel oil.
SES believes iGAS is uniquely well suited for distributed power projects due to its lower costs and ability to generate power from extremely low quality coals, its lower water consumption and its high cold gas efficiency.
The invention of gasification was driven by the need for alternate gaseous energy sources. In the broadest sense, the deployment of gasification is most widely used for the replacement of natural gas, especially in areas where natural gas is not available, not affordable, or the infrastructure to transport natural gas is not in place. At its core, gasification can produce the same products that natural gas can produce, expanding the feedstock realm for the products conventionally produced from natural gas, or even be a building block to producing substitute natural gas (SNG) itself.
SGT was developed from the U-GAS® technology whose development purpose was to produce natural gas replacement. SES has continued this tradition with SGT projects in China – replacing what normally would use natural gas for industrial or chemicals production with clean coal gasification.
SUBSTITUTE NATURAL GAS
SGT syngas generated from coal can be converted into methane, the key component in natural gas, to produce synthetic, or substitute, natural gas (SNG). The substitute natural gas is then sold directly into the natural gas pipeline system.
DRI for Steel Production
SES is advancing developments via technology integration studies with its partners for the business vertical in Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) for steel production including an exclusive global strategic alliance with Midrex Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Kobe Steel Limited, for the execution of projects to engineer and construct coal gasification-based DRI facilities. These facilities will combine SGT with the MXCOl™ DRI technology of Midrex to create syngas from low quality coals in order to convert iron ore into high-purity DRI.
CHEMICALS & FERTILIZERS
According to the Gasification and Syngas Technologies Council’s database, about 60% of the world’s gasification facilities today are used to produce chemicals – more than all other end-products of gasification combined. When SES launched the SGT business, chemicals production was the most natural choice for the first commercial-scale plant. Since 2007, SES has built and operated two commercial-scale coal to chemicals facilities using five total SGT systems in China. These plants produce methanol and methanol derivatives, and SES is a joint venturer in both of these facilities, one of which is being repurposed and expanded to produce acetic acid, as well as a secondary product of propionic acid.
One of the building blocks of agricultural fertilizers, critical to improved and sustainable food sources, is ammonia (NH3). To produce large quantities of ammonia, sources of nitrogen (N2) and hydrogen (H2) are required. Fertilizer manufacturing plants based on coal gasification are a perfect fit to produce these building blocks, as the air separation unit required for oxygen production also produces large volumes of nitrogen, and syngas (CO+H2) can be converted with catalytic processes into the hydrogen (H2) required. This concept of using coal gasification for fertilizer production is not a new one. Many fertilizer complexes based on gasification are in operation around the globe today; in China, more than 2,500 small coal gasification plants produce ammonia for fertilizer.
In regions that have been cut off from affordable crude oil and its derivatives like gasoline and diesel, gasification has been used to produce these transportation fuels from local energy sources such as coal and biomass materials for more than 60 years. In South Africa, more than 160,000 bpd of transportation fuels are produced from local coal by Sasol at their Secunda Coal To Liquids (CTL) plant using Lurgi gasification technology. This production was put in place while South Africa was cut off from critical imported gasoline and diesel during the apartheid era.
SES is confident that as syngas conversion technologies into liquid fuel products mature, SGT will be an excellent fit for large-scale CTL projects in regions where crude oil is expensive or scarce, or refining capacities cannot keep up with demand. Additionally, at smaller scale and using local biomass and municipal solid waste fuels, other syngas conversion technologies are being tested and matured for future localized energy utilization and production.