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A National Gasification Strategy

Presenting a program to stimulate robust coal-gasification technology deployment at low federal cost.

Fortnightly Magazine - June 2005

States, Europe, and Japan (Polk, Wabash River, Puertollano, Buggenum, and Negishi facilities); 5 methane in the United States (Great Plains facility); and ammonia fertilizer in China and India. There are several different commercial gasifier designs available, including systems from GE Energy, 6 Conoco Phillips, 7 Shell, 8 Lurgi, and Noell. Each of these systems has been proven in commercial use around the world.

Gasification can be used to produce feedstocks, heat, steam, and electricity for a variety of industrial processes that currently use natural gas. For example, Eastman Chemical successfully has operated a GE Energy gasifier at its Kingsport, Tenn., facility since 1983 as the only source of gas for its chemical processes to produce film and other acetyl-based products. Similarly, Sasol operates one of the oldest and largest gasification operations in the world in South Africa, where high-ash coal is gasified with Lurgi gasifiers to produce a variety of liquid fuels and chemical products. Several players in the chemical industry are looking at new production technology to utilize syngas for the production of large-volume commodity chemicals based on natural gas liquids. In addition, China is constructing nine gasification systems for ammonia fertilizer production based on the Shell technology. - WGR, MRW, and DCA


  1. Syngas also contains some carbon dioxide (CO 2), moisture (H 2O), hydrogen sulfide (H 2S), and carbonyl sulfide (COS) as well as small amounts of methane (CH 4), ammonia (NH 3), hydrogen chloride (HCI), and various trace components from the feedstock. See SFA Pacific, Inc., "Evaluation of IGCC to Supplement BACT Analysis of Planned Prairie State Generating Station," May 11, 2003, p. 7.
  2. The heat content of syngas can vary depending on the gasifier type and fuel feedstock. Typical heat content of syngas produced from large gasification systems is around 250 Btu/cf, which is 24 percent of the 1,028 Btu/cf heating value of dry natural gas.
  3. Methanation is a process for removing carbon monoxide from gas streams or for producing methane by the reaction CO + 3H 2 CH 4 + H 2O.
  4. Presentation by James Childress, "2004 World Gasification Survey: A Preliminary Evaluation," Gasification Technologies Conference, Washington, D.C., Oct. 4-6, 2004.
  5. In addition to the two integrated gasification combined cycle facilities operating in the United States, American Electric Power and Cinergy Corp. both have announced intentions to develop new IGCC power plants in the United States, and Excelsior Energy and Southern Co. received funding grants in 2004 from the Department of Energy to develop IGCC facilities.
  6. GE Energy Gasification Technologies acquired the ChevronTexaco process on July 1, 2004.
  7. ConocoPhillips acquired the patents and intellectual property rights to Global Energy's proprietary E-GAS gasification process in 2003. This technology was originally developed by Dow Chemical Co. and later transferred to Destec, a partially held subsidiary of Dow Chemical. In 1997, Destec was purchased by Houston-based NGC Corp., which became Dynegy Inc. in 1998. In December 1999, Global Energy Inc. purchased the gasification technology from Dynegy, and in 2003 ConocoPhillips purchased the technology from Global Energy (see DOE, Clean Coal Technology Topical Report