Methanol is used directly as a fuel or fuel additive in significant markets, particularly China. However, methanol is also important as a feedstock for production of gasoline in the so-called methanol to gasoline (MTG) process, which represents a competing technology to the traditional FT synthesis approach for making gasoline. This has been demonstrated in several locations and is being proposed for new facilities.
Instead of the traditional FT technology to convert syngas to liquids to be further refined into end products such as gasoline, this process follows a methanol synthesis unit with a methanol to gasoline synthesis process that yields gasoline very close the final fuel specifications, requiring minimal end processing. Figure 1 shows the simplified MTG process. This technology is being developed and marketed by ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil and Uhde demonstrated the process in New Zealand and have plants proposed for Wyoming and West Virginia; see below for further discussion.
Facilities in Planning/Development/Construction Stages
DKRW Medicine Bow, WY
This flagship project for DKRW Advanced Fuels LLC will be located in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. The facility will produce 20,000 to 22,000 bpd of regular gasoline from coal. In addition to gasoline and possibly other liquid hydrocarbons, the plant also plans to capture significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) for sale and use in enhanced oil recovery. Some delays have occurred in this project, with expected commencement of operations not expected until 2016 or later.
Transgas Development Systems, Roanoke, WV
Transgas Development Systems (TGDS) have plans to build a $3 billion facility in Mingo County, WV, known as the Adams Fork Plant. The facility will use 3 million tons per year of various grades of coal to create over 6.5 million barrels of gasoline annually. TGDS has signed a licensing agreement with Uhde Corporation of America to use the proprietary PRENFLO™ technology for coal gasification. Syngas produced would be converted to methanol, and gasoline synthesized via the ExxonMobil MTG technology. Operations are not expected to begin until 2016 or later.