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Old 03-19-2011, 04:27 AM
Sparty Sparty is offline
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Default Gas to Liquids a short history and a link to the future

The history of GTL: Read full article

Gas-to-liquids technology has a long history. It?s been explored by numerous countries and companies. Most of the world?s major oil companies have tested it out. The U.S. defence department has studied it, too.

The modern science behind gas-to-liquids was pioneered by German scientists Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch in the 1920s. They received a U.S. patent for their work in 1930.

The first commercial plant to use the technology with coal, which is turned into a gas before being transformed into a liquid fuel, was built in 1935. Between 1936 and 1939, Germany built a total of nine such plants.

Together, the German plants were capable of producing 5.4 million barrels of synthetic fuels a year that powered the Nazi war effort. But they were so expensive that, shortly after the war, they were shut down.
By that time, South Africa had already shown an interest. The country has substantial coal, but little oil, making it such a natural fit for the technology that a mining company, Anglo Transvaal Consolidated Investment Co., bought domestic rights in 1935. Two years later, Mr. Fischer himself visited South Africa. That year, plans for a first commercial operation were drafted.
Though plans were interrupted by the Second World War, they were resumed shortly thereafter. In 1947, South Africa passed a Liquid Fuel and Oil Act designed to set a fiscal structure for the new industry.

In 1950, when it became clear that building such a plant was beyond the reach of the private sector, the state-owned South African Coal, Oil and Gas Corp. Ltd. (Sasol) was created. Five years later, it was pumping the first coal-derived fuel, although it was plagued with technical difficulties that took years to sort out.

With the 1970s Arab oil embargo, and the subsequent rise in prices, South Africa moved to lessen its dependence on foreign oil. In 1974, Sasol announced plans to build a second coal-to-gas plant that would be three times as big as the first. In 1979, it began building a third plant after Iran blocked oil exports as a result of South Africa?s apartheid policy.

1980s to present
Iran had been the country?s biggest source of crude imports. That plant entered operation in 1982. Today, the company makes roughly 150,000 barrels a year of synthetic fuels from coal.
At the same time, gas-to-liquids has gained traction elsewhere. In 1993, Shell opened a small gas-to-liquids plant in Malaysia. In 2007, Sasol opened a new joint-venture plant in Qatar with a 34,000-barrel-a-day output. In 2009, the first commercial passenger aircraft flew with fuel from a gas-to-liquids process. In 2010, Shell began operating its massive Qatar-based Pearl plant, the world?s largest, which cost nearly $19-billion (U.S) to build.

The future:

Peter Bond has just driven from Qld to Perth using UCG-GTL produced diesel.

Underground coal gasification produces cheap diesel
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