Five globals join in development syngas technology

Jul 29, 1997 02:00 AM

July 17, 1997--An alliance of five global companies has been formed to develop a revolutionary technology that will have a major cost and efficiency impact on the way in which natural gas is converted to synthesis gas (syngas). Syngas represents the fundamental building block for the production of liquid fuels and chemicals.
The unique aspect of this process is the use of ceramic membrane technology to combine oxygen separation from air, and methane partial oxidation, in a single unit. By eliminating the need for a separate oxygen production plant, the technology significantly reduces the energy and capital cost associated with syngas production. The successful implementation of this technology would provide a substantial and more cost-competitive source of cleaner- burning energy resources compared to conventional fuels.
The five members of the newly formed alliance are Amoco Production Company; British Petroleum (BP); Praxair, Inc.; Statoil; and Sasol Technology (Pty) Ltd. These participants will share costs and contribute their extensive technical expertise, research and development resources and strong financial capabilities to develop critical areas and cross-license technology rights to expeditiously and aggressively move this technology toward commercialisation.
The combined achievements of the participants constitute the broadest portfolio of viable ceramic membrane materials with demonstrated performance and established capabilities for membrane manufacturing. BP invented the ceramic membrane process for syngas production. Amoco, through its combined efforts with Argonne National Laboratories, brought the technology to a stage of sufficient development as to stimulate its current interest. Praxair and BP have been jointly developing ceramic membrane technology for oxygen separation and industrial chemicals production. Sasol is the world leader in implementing Fischer-Tropsch technology, and Statoil has successfully developed and demonstrated ceramic membrane fuel cells.
In addition to thetechnical resources of the five industrial partners, the alliance members have enlisted support from universities and government research laboratories. The alliance would consider participation of other companies and government agencies around the world.

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