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Successful Clean Coal Technology Licensed for Commercial Application

July 26, 2010 - 1:00pm


Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has received the first installment from a repayment agreement for the Liquid Phase Methanol (LPMEOH™) Process. A royalty license issued for the advanced methanol production system underscores the clean coal technology's presence in the commercial market.

The DOE-funded LPMEOH Process, developed in collaboration with Air Products and Chemicals Inc., has been licensed to Woodland Biofuel Inc., who intends to use the technology to develop a wood-gasification process to produce methanol from wood-scrap. The first facility is planned in New York State.

The LPMEOH Process is an advanced indirect technology that utilizes synthesis gas, produced via gasification, to produce methanol. LPMEOH technology has the potential to be a more-efficient, lower-cost conversion route to methanol than commercially practiced gas-phase technologies. The technology converts synthesis gas from the gasifier into methanol, which can either be sold as a value-added product or used as a source of peaking power for clean-burning integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants. Methanol can also be used as a source of hydrogen or synthesis gas for small fuel cells or industrial applications.

The original contract between DOE and Air Products and Chemicals, signed in 1981, included a repayment agreement, which has now been initiated, thanks to the Woodland Biofuel royalty license. The arrangement marks the first external license since the technology's original testing and demonstration in the 1980s, at the DOE-owned 10 ton-per-day process development unit at Air Products and Chemicals' syngas facility in LaPorte, Texas.

Building on this achievement, a commercial- scale demonstration of the LPMEOH Process was conducted under the CCT Program, which resulted in a 260 ton-per-day facility at Eastman Chemicals' site in Kingsport, Tenn. The facility is still in operation today.

The CCT Program is a government and industry co-funded technology development effort conducted since 1985 to demonstrate innovative, environmentally responsible coal-utilization processes that will mitigate economic and environmental impediments to the use of coal, America's most abundant energy resource. Managed by the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the CCT Program involves a series of "showcase" projects, including LPMEOH, conducted on a sufficiently large scale to demonstrate commercial worthiness and to generate data for design, construction, operation, and technical/economic evaluation of full-scale commercial applications.