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October 29, 2013

World’s largest SNG plant goes onstream in China

Gerald Ondrey

Haldor Topsøe A/S (Lyngby, Denmark; www.topsoe.com) says that Qinghua, the largest substitute natural gas (SNG) plant ever built in the world was successfully started in the city of Yining, located in Xinjiang, a region in the northwestern part of China.

Topsøe designed the methanation section of this plant, which is owned and operated by the Chinese company Qinghua Group. It is the largest single-train SNG plant in the world representing a total investment of $4.1 billion and a planned output of 1.4 billion Nm3/yr of SNG based on coal gasification.

The plant uses Haldor Topsøe catalysts and process technology, namely the company’s TREMP methanation technology, which enables highly cost-effective production of SNG from synthesis gas derived from coal. In the methanation process carbon oxides react with hydrogen to form methane, and the methane rich gas is sold as Substitute Natural Gas.

“TREMP is based on Topsøe’s innovative MCR catalyst portfolio, which is characterized by a high and stable activity at a wide range of temperatures. An efficient heat recovery, combined with a low recycle ratio and reduced gas flow leads to significant energy savings, lower equipment cost and overall improved plant efficiency”, says Jørgen Gøl, group vice president in Haldor Topsøe’s Chemical Business Unit.

SNG based on coal gasification is a replacement for natural gas that can be used on-site, fed into a natural gas pipeline or liquefied into LNG. The majority of the SNG produced at Qinghua will be fed to a pipeline infrastructure and transported to more densely populated areas of China, particularly in the eastern part of the country.

“Due to the uneven balance between supply and demand of natural gas in China coupled with rising price of oil, coal based SNG constitutes an attractive alternative to secure energy and address energy and environmental issues, especially in areas such as West China where lignite or coal reserves are abundant,” says Per Bakkerud, managing director in Haldor Topsøe China.

Haldor Topsøe initiated research and development in the SNG field in the late 70’s and the knowledge gained over the years has been used to refine the company’s technology platform. As a result, Haldor Topsøe has been instrumental in making SNG a feasible and attractive way of utilizing available domestic resources.

The Qinghua plant is one out of a number of major SNG projects that were approved by the National Development and Reform commission (NDRC) in 2010 reflecting the importance attached by the Chinese government to efficient utilization of the country’s large reserves of natural resources.

In addition to the Qinghua project, Haldor Topsøe is involved in two other large SNG projects in China; Huineng and China Power International (CPI). Furthermore Haldor Topsøe is also part of a large scale SNG project in South Korea named POSCO with a total capacity of 4.5 billion Nm3/yr.

 

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