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July 30, 2008


Coal-To-Methanol Plant Planned For West Virginia

Backers will convert the alcohol into 100 million gal of gasoline

Michael McCoy

Consol Energy, the largest U.S. producer of bituminous coal, is working with Synthesis Energy Systems to build an $800 million facility that will convert coal into methanol.

The plant will be located near Benwood, W.Va., at the mouth of a nearby Consol mine. It will gasify coal into syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, using SES's U-Gas technology and then into about 720,000 metric tons per year of methanol. According to the partners, the methanol will be used by the chemical industry and also converted into about 100 million gal per year of gasoline using technology developed by ExxonMobil Research & Engineering.

"This project has the potential to transform West Virginia from a major coal-producing state to a national energy center, as well," Consol CEO J. Brett Harvey says. The partners are also working with Aker Solutions on sequestrating carbon dioxide emissions in a deep saline aquifer.

Today, the main U.S. practitioner of coal-to-liquids technology is Eastman Chemical, which converts coal to acetyl chemicals in Kingsport, Tenn. Eastman is planning a $1.6 billion coal-to-chemicals project in Beaumont, Texas.

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Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society


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