Coal-to-gasoline plant to be launched in Kazakhstan

Jan 12, 2015 12:00 AM

An experimental complex for processing of brown coal into gasoline and diesel fuel will be launched in April in Kazakhstan’s Akmola Oblast. The information was shared by the managing director of Technology Commercialization Center Damir Yegizbayev at the briefing of the Central Communications Services on January 9, Tengrinews reports citing

Technology Commercialization Center began its work in the end of 2013 with the support of the World Bank. Its main goal is to link science with business, which is why it implements a gratis grant program for promising scientific projects.

One such project, on processing of brown coal into diesel and gasoline, was proposed by the Institute of Coal Chemistry and Technology.

"Technologies for processing of coal into diesel fuel or gasoline already exist in the world, but our scientists managed to adapt the technology to the domestic brown coal and make the process faster and cheaper. In April 2015, a small experimental complex at Sary-Adar field near Yerementau with a capacity of 0.8 tons per day will be built," Yegizbayev said.

Fischer–Tropsch process, at the core of gas to liquids technology, is also employed by Kazakhstani scientists. However, the technology required for processing depends on the specificities of coal deposits in particular localities. This is why domestic scientists had to develop a technology specifically for processing of Kazakhstan's coal, Timur Kubekov wrote for Your Vision.

For the first time, they used low-temperature plasma in the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis to activate the reacting particles and increase the reaction rate and selectivity. Besides, Kazakh scientists found a way to obtain metal alloys from ash after coal burning. 

All the equipment for the project was designed and manufactured by Kazakhstani scientists together with Petropavlovsk Heavy Engineering Plant.

According to the institute's estimates 1 ton of coal from Maikuben basin will produce 0.223 tons of liquid fuel oil at the cost of 23 cents or 42 tenge per litre.

Yegisbayev said that there was an investor interested in the project, willing to provide $1mln for creation of an industrial-scale plant based on the technology.

Development of coal as an alternative resource of liquid  fuel is is very important because global oil reserves are fairly limited, where as coal is much more abundant in the world. The one question remaining is the environmental impact of fuel production, be it oil or coal.

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