Coal to synthetic fuel in Queensland

A 30 month trial in Chinchilla, Queensland has resulted in Linc Energy having its Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) project declared a significant project by the Queensland State Government. Linc Energy managing director Peter Bond said the Government was calling for the company to produce an environmental impact statement for the project which converts coal gas to synthetic fuels.

Linc Energy´s long term business plan is to use the synthetic gas produced via UCG as feedstock to an adjacent on-site Coal To Liquids (CTL) plant with a target production capacity of 20,000 barrels of diesel fuel per day.

A short video of the UCG process can be seen here.

The Linc Energy CTL plant uses of two main processes:

Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis: is the heart of the process. The syngas is converted into liquid hydrocarbons, through a catalytic reaction using cobalt as catalyst. The syngas reacts with the cobalt, joining together simpler hydrocarbon chains contained in the gas, to create a longer liquid hydrocarbon chain (synthetic crude).

Refining: the liquid hydrocarbon is then filtered and refined to produce the end product fuels: LPG, naphtha, jet fuel and diesel. These products are essentially free of sulphur, olefins, metals, alcohols and aromatics and therefore burn more cleanly than conventional refinery fuels.

These are the same processes used to produce synthetic diesel and aviation fuels in the US and South Africa.

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