September 30, 2008

SES Selects ExxonMobil’s MTG Technology Licenses for Coal-to-Liquids Projects

The ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company has announced that Synthesis Energy Systems has selected 15 of ExxonMobil's methanol-to-gasoline technology licenses for its coal-to-liquids projects.

Synthesis Energy Systems (SES) has chosen to assign the first license to a project near Benwood, West Virginia. This approximate 7,000 barrel-per-day unit will be based on methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) technology which incorporates improvements since the technology was originally commercialized by ExxonMobil 20 years ago in New Zealand.

The MTG technology converts crude methanol directly to low-sulfur, low-benzene gasoline that can be sold directly or blended with conventional refinery gasoline. Although the original application of the MTG technology processed methanol from natural gas, the same technology can be used for methanol from other sources such as coal, petcoke or biomass, according to ExxonMobil.

The SES projects will gasify the coal, convert the synthetic gas to methanol, and then convert the methanol to gasoline via the MTG process. Conversion of coal to gasoline through gasification and methanol conversion is one way to significantly reduce the potential pollutants from coal, including the reduction of sulfur oxides emissions and the capture of CO2.