Gas to Liquids (GTL) / Biomass to Liquids (BTL) / Coal to Liquids (CTL)
The GTL alternative energy market has significant need for fine particle filters (self cleaning and disposable), liquid/gas and liquid/liquid coalescers, and gas/gas separation membranes.
GTL production units will range in size from 1000 bpd to 150,000 bpd of liquid fuels and chemical feedstocks, all having unique chemistries based on the source of the feed hydrocarbon gas, the plant location, and the GTL/BTL (biomass to liquid)/CTL (Coal to liquid) developer’s technology. Pall, as a total solution provider, can provide researchers needed technical assistance throughout the process demonstration phase to commercial scale production, to assure optimum selection of critical separation devices.
Fischer Tropsch technology, the heart of the conversion process, is a 74-year-old process that had previously been limited to a few large scale commercial demonstrations. The process creates liquid fuel from syngas, either gasified from hydrocarbon sources or natural gas, but not crude oil. It has allowed South Africa to reduce their dependency on foreign crude after WWII.
The global rebirth in GTL motor fuels is motivated by:
- World reserves of high-quality petroleum feedstocks are running out
- Crude oil prices are stabilizing above $40 /barrel
- NG reserves are abundant and largely under exploited, most are "stranded"
- High costs of LNG processing - capital and operating costs of the plants have dampened investors interest
- New and more effective FT catalysts are now available
- A growing demand for premium quality diesel fuel - low in particulate and no sulfur
- Low cost natural gas is available in remote areas
- Environmental pressures are growing on flaring off NG from remote wells and platforms
- Diesel engine technology is improving
- The military is looking for novel jet fuel production abilities in remote areas – floating platforms or barges
- Coal gasification is gaining popularity and is a ideal source of syngas
All GTL projects are scalable, allowing design optimization and application to smaller stranded gas deposits. The key influences on the competitiveness of each process are the cost of capital, operating costs of the plant, feedstock costs, scale, and ability to achieve high utilization rates in production.
The first stage syngas step converts the natural gas to hydrogen and carbon monoxide by partial oxidation, steam reforming, or a combination of the two processes. Here, Pall has a long history of involvement with hot gas filtration.
The heart of the GTL process is the Fischer Tropsch Reactor which can be a fixed bed or fluidized. FT reactors contain large volumes of iron or cobalt based catalyst composition. The fine sized catalyst can breakdown with time, and becomes deactivated if removed too far away from the reactor environment, making internal separations for the large flow applications more preferable, and less complex.
The reformed syngas is sparged into the main GTL reactor(s) with up to 40%(wt) catalyst content. Internal separation mechanisms reduce the catalyst solids below 1-5 % wt. before the wax liquid products are drawn away. Pall's focus has been on effectively separating the fine size FT catalyst yielding a low TSS wax product. Cleanable filters in the reactor, and/or cross flow membranes outside the reactor on a product circuit, offer significant application for Pall products.
The last stage of processing is hydrocracking, where hot liquid wax product is separated from the produced water and feed into fixed bed hydrocrackers where liquid fractions are produced, for various fuel and chemical feedstock uses. The hydrocracker catalyst must be protected from poisons and suspended solids to assure long on stream runtime.
Pall filter/separator technologies are currently being demonstrated in all three phases of the GTL process. Read below for a sampling of our solutions by application.
We're working hard to become the world’s foremost supplier of filtration and separation solutions to the GTL industry. We envision Pall will provide producers with not only the complete separation systems and the technical services to go with them, but also filter cartridges, supports, and porous substrates for various aspects of the GTL processes.