Published November 2018
This report on coal-to-liquid (CTL) technologies is a follow-up to our previous gas-to-liquid (GTL) technologies report (PEP Report 247D, Large-Scale Gas-to-Liquids Plants, published in October 2015), which presented a technoeconomic evaluation of large-scale Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) plants based on natural gas. The current report, on the other hand, evaluates large-scale F-T technologies based on coal as the source for synthesis gas—the starting material for CTL or GTL processes. CTL technologies have great economic attraction for countries like China, whose only major energy source is coal. For China, or any other country with abundant coal energy but poorly endowed with other basic energy sources, CTL technologies provide a good means to produce chemical feedstocks (naphtha, olefins, paraffins, etc.) and fuels (liquefied petroleum gas, diesel, fuel oil, fuel gas, etc.). However, CTL technologies are not cost-effective everywhere, as noted in section 2 of this report.
Working with the above perspective, this report presents a technoeconomic evaluation of two Chinese CTL plants, producing primary CTL products—diesel, naphtha, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The rated capacity of the first plant discussed is approximately 100,000 barrels/day (BPD) on a cumulative basis; the capacity of the second plant is 25,000 BPD.
The first CTL plant, discussed in section 5, is jointly owned by two companies—Shenhua Group Corporation Ltd. and Ningxia Coal Industry Company Ltd. (Ningmei). This plant is located at the Coal Chemical Industry Park of Ningdong Energy-Chemical Industry Base in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. As stated above, the plant is designed to produce about 100,000 BPD (4 million metric tons/yr) of F-T product consisting of naphtha, diesel, and LPG. In addition to F-T products, the plant also produces methanol, ammonium sulfate, and sulfur.
The second CTL plant, discussed in section 6, is owned by Yitai Yili Energy Co., Ltd. The Yitai plant is currently in the preliminary preparation stages of construction in Yili in Xinjian province. This plant is designed to produce about 25,000 BPD (1 million tons/yr) of naphtha, diesel, and LPG product.
The production economics presented in this report are based on cost data for the US Gulf Coast region only. Included in the online version of this report is an Excel-based iPEP Navigator costing module to allow our clients to convert the economics of the above two CTL processes to corresponding economics in five other regions (Canada, China, Germany, Japan, and Saudi Arabia). (Readers may note here that Japan and Saudi Arabia—neither of which are endowed with enough coal resources to sustain large-scale CTL plant operation—are included simply to give a sense of the relative change in CTL plant economics, if the plants are built in countries in which sufficient coal resources are unavailable locally.)
The iPEP Navigator data module offers details such as consumption of utilities and raw materials based on the unit weight/volume of CTL products. Users can input their own unit prices for utilities, labor, raw materials, and location factor to work out the CTL process economics for above areas.