Published June 2010
Substitute natural gas (SNG) is rich in methane and can be used interchangeably with natural gas and distributed by the same means. Improved processes for the production of substitute natural gas from coal are receiving renewed attention in the present environment of high energy prices as higher natural gas price and selling of captured CO2 for enhanced oil recovery could make the SNG economically viable. Of particular interest is the catalytically enhanced gasification of coal with steam in a fluidized-bed gasification reactor.
Catalytic steam gasification technology and related Coal-to-SNG process are results of many years of industry research and development, originally funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Such processes have the potential of being more energy efficient, more reliable and requiring lower investment costs than conventional gasification based processes.
Based on information disclosed in presentations and patent applications related to GreatPoint Energy's proprietary technology, this review presents a catalytic steam gasification of coal process concept producing a substitute natural gas compatible with pipeline specifications from Powder River Basin coal.
Our work suggests that at a base case processing capacity of 3,942 million lb/yr of as received Powder River Basin coal producing 28 billion SCF/yr of SNG, the total fixed capital is $707.5 million. The base case product value (net production cost plus 25%/yr return on investment) is $14.58/MSCF when US Gulf Coast delivered PRB coal is priced at $1.5/MMBTU.