Goal: coal to synthetic gas

Updated: 2014-12-12 00:55

By MAY ZHOU in Houston(China Daily USA)

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Goal: coal to synthetic gas

Zao Zhuang New Gas Co, a joint venture between Houston's Synthesis Energy Systems and Shandong Weijiao Group Xuecheng Energy in Shandong province, has two SES gasifiers producing methanol with clean energy by using coal and coal wastes. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Houston, Shandong firms team up to provide China more clean energy

While the recently held APEC summit meeting in Beijing led to the coining of "APEC Blue" in China, the Houston-based Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc (SES) announced on Wednesday that it is joining China's effort to keep the sky blue by providing the newest technology to convert low-quality coal into synthetic natural gas.

SES signed a $105 million contract to build three plants to provide approximately 175,000 normal cubic meters per hour of industrial synthetic natural gas to aluminum smelters belonging to Aluminum Corp of China, or CHALCO, China's biggest aluminum producer.

The plants, located in Shandong, Henan and Shanxi provinces, south of Beijing, make aluminum from the raw material alumina. SES's Chinese joint-venture partner, Zhangjiagang Chemical Machinery Co Ltd, will build the plants using SES technology and expertise. SES has already contributed to two plants in China.

China is trying to reduce carbon emissions while meeting its need for energy. A media report this week in China said that excessive use of "unclean" energy, mainly coal, is the main contributor to China's recurrent smog. When Beijing hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in early November, the central government made major efforts to curb pollution, resulting in clear blue sky.

"Strategically speaking, first we provide China growth with blue skies.We also offer China resource security by using the domestic energy resources versus imported energy, and we can do it economically,"said SES president and CEO Robert Rigdon in a telephone interview with China Daily from Europe.

According to Ridgon, SES has the only technology that can convert very low quality coal into gas. "The cheap price of low quality coal is extremely attractive. Other technologies we are aware of must use higher quality coals, which are being heavily mined in China and more expensive. Now China's huge amount of low-quality coal can be tapped into because of our technology," said Rigdon.

Rigdon said his company's technology will not generate any traditional pollutants produced by coal burning or any pollutants that cause the sky to go dark.

The cheap low-quality, low-cost coal makes SES coal processing economical and economically viable compared to the other coal-to-gas processing using higher quality of coals aimed at reducing coal pollution in the country, he said.

In China, ZCM announced that the projects represent the start of a new approach to the coal-chemical industry in China, and that SES gasification technology will help speed up development of the clean energy industry.

SES entered China in 2008 and has applied its technology in five gasifier systems for its two joint ventures in Shandong and Henan, according to Rigdon.

"We congratulate our China JV partner ZCM on securing this award. This helps validate our decision to joint venture our technology earlier this year in China, and we believe this award opens up a market segment for new plants and the retrofit of large numbers of existing facilities in the region, supplying clean and economical fuel gas to numerous industries," said Rigdon.