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Coal Gasification For Chemicals

By Richard Beaman and Cliff Reese, SSOE Group |

Compared to petroleum refining, the coal gasification process appears less complex. The chemistry behind the primary gasification reactions have been well known for around 100 years, and coal is more plentiful than petroleum in the U.S. and in some other areas. So why then, are petroleum refineries common and coal gasification plants so rare? There are a host of reasons for why petroleum has historically been the feedstock of choice for making chemicals, and coal has been used mostly as a fuel for steam and electricity production. These include the comparative ease with which petroleum can be extracted, transported and processed. However, another set of conditions, including growing world demand for energy and transportation fuels, has renewed interest in coal gasification as a starting point to produce chemicals and liquid fuels. Fossil fuels in the future Increasing demand for energy, especially in the developing parts of the world, combined with high and fluctuating petroleum prices has generated momentum for coal gasification as an industry. Some estimates project that by the year 2035, the global demand for energy in all forms, including for transportation, will increase by at least 36%, and some studies have even suggested an…
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