The hybrid, direct coal-to-liquids process using biomass-derived coal solvents has been developed through a cost-shared program backed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Ohio Coal Development Office (OCDO).
“The conversion of coal to syncrude is carried out at a relatively low pressure without requiring gaseous hydrogen or a catalyst,” Battelle officials said. “The syncrude can be upgraded to jet fuel and other distillates employing conventional petroleum upgrading technology.”
Battelle will now move to commercialize the process, which it said offers a substantial reduction in both capital and operating costs, and also a significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“Our objectives are to demonstrate a straightforward path to near-term commercial production of jet fuel from coal using [these]…solvents,” added Satya Chauhan, the leader of Battelle’s process-development team that also includes other organizations across Battelle.
Chauhan recently presented his findings and filed several patent applications, and he is planning to present more findings in August at the 2016 International Pittsburgh Coal Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
The two-phase project Battelle had conducted into the technology is nearing completion, and that the results of that will advance three steps of the hybrid coal/biomass-to-jet fuel process to the technology readiness level of 5 (TRL 5).
“The bio-solvent production and coal liquefaction have been scaled-up successfully to 1 ton per day,” the company said of the progression of the work. “[Our team] successfully tested numerous, novel bio-solvents with bituminous coal from West Virginia and Ohio, as well as a subbituminous coal. Additionally, several catalysts have been evaluated for upgrading the syncrude to jet fuel and diesel.”
Details on the cost savings as well as GHG emissions reduction results should be ready closer to the end of this year. Battelle is now seeking technology licensees for worldwide applications and use.