Southern Company partners on CTL, CBTL research
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Southern Research Institute $1.5 million to produce liquid fuels from coal and biomass mixtures.
SRI, DOE, and research partners Southern Company Services and Nexant will test a new method for producing liquid transportation fuels from coal and biomass in order to improve the economics and lifecycle impacts of coal-to-liquid (CTL) and coal-biomass-to-liquid (CBTL) processes.
The research includes evaluating of the impact of adding moderate amounts of biomass to coal on CBTL products and process economics, and comparing the carbon footprint of CBTL processes with petroleum-based fuel production processes.
The research team will use an existing demonstration scale coal gasifier at the DOE's National Carbon Capture Center -- an air-blown transport gasifier operated by Southern Company Services -- as the source of both coal and coal-biomass derived synthetic gas, according to Southern Research Principal Investigator Dr. Santosh K. Gangwal.
A decrease in U.S. dependence on foreign oil and new industry jobs hinge on the success of the project in reducing the production costs and environmental impact of alternative fuel processes, which could lead commercialization of CBTL processes.