Thermo-Chemical Gasification and Alternativ Energy Applications GmbH.
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History of the CCT

History of the technology

Gasification technology has been in use for over 100 years from the "town gas" operations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The arrival of electricity displaced these first commercial gasification plants and the technology laid dormant until German scientists employed gasification to produce oil during WWII. In the early 1950s, gasification was revived for use in refineries to dispose of low value refinery byproducts for the production of hydrogen. It was also used in areas of the world to produce various chemical feed stocks. In the early 1970s, research was initiated on using solid fuel as the primary feedstock in the gasification process. By the late 1980s, gasification technology was then integrated with a combined cycle power plant to produce a high efficiency low-emission coal fueled power plant.

As natural gas prices were rising in the 1970s, Shell, Texaco, and Dow Chemical each initiated research projects to develop solid fuel gasification technology to replace natural gas. These efforts culminated in building demonstration coal gasification projects in the early 1980s. Eastman Chemical Company built the first commercial scale coal gasification plant in 1984 at their Knoxville, Tennessee plant using syngas as a feedstock replacement for natural gas. This plant uses the Texaco gasification technology and has been in successful continuous operation for over 22 years.

In the early 1990s, government supported efforts were initiated in the United States and Europe to build commercial coal gasification IGCC projects. Dow technology was applied at the Wabash, Indiana plant and Texaco technology at the Tampa, Florida Plant. Shell technology was utilized at the Buggenum plant in Europe. These projects were demonstration plants used to advance the technology and establish coal gasification as a viable, clean electric power generating option. Each project successfully expanded the knowledge base, and demonstrated the potential of the technology, and provided invaluable lessons for the commercialization of solid fuel gasification. The Gasification technologies have been used in Europe and the United States for many decades. Many research organizations supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and other European government agencies have conducted extensive research and new development on gasification technologies, and companies like Sasol-Lurgi, GE/Texaco, Conoco/Phillips and Shell have emerged as major developers of commercial gasification plants.

The Thermo-Chemical Gasification Technology – TCG - allows high temperature thermo chemical gasification without oxygen and air.

An independent research and consulting firm, TSS Consultants, has assessed the TCG technology and compared it to major existing processes with respect to
  • effectiveness
  • system reliability and safety,
  • energy efficiency,
  • potential environmental impact, and
  • economic viability.

1. Numbers in Italics represent ratings for E1-E5 – See Section 3.2 for details on rating system criteria
2. Total Costs = Straight-line deprecation of capital costs (20 years depreciation of capital expenditures) plus annual operating and maintenance costs. The electricity cost calculation assumes that the EBMUD facility will be able to utilize up to 2.0 million Therms of heat energy each year
3. RDD&D: Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment Assessment Stages.

TSS Consultants concluded that the

„TC thermo-chemical pyrolysis/steam refining process when conducted in absence of oxygen or air is superior to all other existing technologies examined.”

The unique capability of the plant for utilizing a mixed fuel of coal and biomass in any proportion may provide synthesis gas composition from H2:CO=1:1 to H2:CO=1:3 which is most desirable for production of synthesis fuel, such as ethanol, mixed alcohols, diesel, gasoline, and jet-fuel. (Schuetzle, et al. 2007)

The US House of Representatives, Science and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment had requested testimony on research and development issues for producing liquid fuels from coal on September 5, 2007. Nationally and internationally recognized environmental scientists and researchers such as Mr. Bartis from RAND Corporation and Dr. Boardman from Idaho National Laboratory testified on the importance of this very issue.

The committee unanimously recommended to the federal government for support research on coal gasification and associated synthesis gas cleaning and treatment processes. These programs are near-term, relatively low risk concepts related mostly for power generation and hydrogen production. That said, many of the programs are also applicable to Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) technology to liquid fuels.

Dr. Boardman states, “What is missing from the federal R & D portfolio is a near-term effort to establish the commercial viability of a new techniques for the combined area of coal and biomass. Such a combination offers significant cost and environmental payoffs. The most pressing near-term research need centers on developing an integrated gasification system capable of handling coal, biomass, and any other carbonaceous feedstock.”

Mr. Michael A. Aimone, the Air Force’s Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics was recently quoted that by 2025 the Air Force wanted to meet 70% of its fuel needs with fuel produced from “coal-based sources”. The plant is a perfect facility for synthetic gas production for jet fuel and readily lends itself to rapid deployment due to its modular design and low cost manufacturing techniques similar to those used in the auto industry.