TECHNOLOGY - Gas2 reports low-cost GTL test success


Gas reforming company Gas2 has reported progress with its work to develop process technology that could pave the way for relatively small and low-cost gas-to-liquids (GTL) plants.
At its Wilton Research Centre pilot plant in Teesside, UK, the company has managed to produce hydrocarbon liquids using syngas produced via its Fischer Tropsch (FT) reactor.
The test run at the 3 bpd (barrels per day) faciility follows testing of the syngas reactor. This, says Gas2, has been operated at a range of operating pressures, showing minimal loss of conversion at higher pressures. 
GTL is a two-step petrochemical process to convert natura gas into liquid hydrocarbons such as synthetic crude oil. After producing syngas from natural gas and oxygenate, FT reactor units convert the syngas into GTL fuels. 
Gas2 is seeking to simplify the process, partly by eliminating costly intermediate compression stages between syngas and FT reactors. Its modular design is also said to offer higher conversion rate of hydrocarbons.
Operating syngas reactors at higher pressures with minimal loss of conversion is key to intermediate compression elimination, explains Mike Fleming, managing director of Gas2.
Reviewing the latest tests, Fleming reported: "Liquid production matched our expectations at this stage and significantly advances our development programme. It underlines our belief that Gas 2 has a technology with the potential to disrupt the GTL market and create significant long term value for our commercial partners and future clients.” 
The next steps are to optimise the syngas reactor design and run further parametric tests on the FT reactors in preparation for scale-up engineering. 
Applications for the Gas2 GTL technology include: stranded gas: transforming the economic viability of smaller, more remote gas reserves as well as shale and unconventional reserves and offering a gas disposal solution for onshore and offshore associated gas thereby preventing flaring
The technology also offers a route to end products including gasoline, diesel, waxes, ammonia, methanol, hydrogen and ethylene.

PROJECT - Pumps and mixers key for Cannington AD operation


Recycling and food waste management company Cannington is using chopper pumps and mixers from Landia at its 2.5MW anaerobic digestion plant in Somerset.

The wall-mounted mixers and submersible and high-pressure chopper pumps are in operation across three digesters and a 350-tonne pasteuriser at Cannington's Bio Energy’s plant. The unit is designed to convert food and organic waste into renewable energy.

“The chopper pumps simply get on with the job, even though we have quite a mix of feedstock, including food waste and industrial waste, at our 24/7 operation,” said Tim Roe, co-founder and director at Cannington.

First established as a potato storage company in 1997, Bridgwater-based Cannington has developed into a cold store, recycling and bio-energy business, utilisng 600kW of the energy it produces on site, with the remainder exported to the national grid.


BUSINESS - Redhall accepts £2.1m to end Vivergo dispute

Engineering support services group Redhall Group plc has accepted a lower than sought-for payment to end its long-running legal dispute with Vivergo Fuels Ltd.
Following a judgement in favour of Redhall last month, both sides were to meet at a cost hearing on 29 Jan. However, Vivergo made an advance offer of £2.1 million in full and final settlement of all claims between the parties.
The offer, said Redhall, fell "considerably short" of what it believed were recoverable but it added that the deal was in the best interests of the engineering group's stakeholders.
The protracted timetable for recovery of monies through further legal proceedings; the uncertainty as to the ultimate outcome of such proceedings; and the cost and cash outflow implications pose an unacceptable level of risk, a statement explained. 

Redhall's shares fell by nearly 15% on announcement of the settlement on 30 Jan. 
The carrying amount of the Vivergo contract on Redhall's balance sheet at 30 Sept 2012 was £9.8 million. This means an exceptional charge of £7.7 million for the year ended 30 Sept 2013 - before tax and legal and professional costs incurred in settling the dispute.
"We are pleased that in reaching this settlement we can draw a line under the matter," said Redhall CEO Richard Shuttleworth."Whilst the settlement is not at the value we had anticipated ... we can now focus our resources on growing the business which has made a positive start to 2014."

Related stories:
Redhall claims victory in dispute with Vivergo

Rockwell for new plastics-to-energy project

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Rockwell Automation is delivering a $15-million engineering, procurement, construction and management contract for Vadxx Energy's first commercial-scale, plastics waste-to-synthetic crude facility.

The plant, in Akron, Ohio, is designed to transform end-of-life plastics into energy products, recycling nearly 60 tonnes of waste a day that would otherwise go for landfill disposal.

Rockwell will supply its PlantPAx process automation system suite as part of its remit to deliver an integrated smart plant for the waste plastics processor. Vadxx has secured funding for the first unit and additional commercial units from private equity firm Liberation Capital.

"Vadxx is focused on successfully establishing our first commercial unit as the important first step toward global expansion,” said Jim Garrett, Vadxx Energy CEO. “Liberation Capital, Rockwell Automation, feedstock suppliers, and other partners will play key roles in our growth and success.”

Jeremy DeBenedictis, vice president operations at Vadxx added: "Rockwell Automation strengthens our technology by providing complete design, build and commissioning of our new plant. We'll have a process technology solution that will enable us to rapidly deploy our technology globally."

Vadxx says its technology produces no hazardous by-products: continuously converting plastics waste to energy products by 'cooking', cleaning, and cooling the plastics in a closed and controlled system including an extruder, boiler, condensers, and closed piping.

The 'cooking', explains Vadxx, is performed in a closed vessel with heat similar to how water is boiled on a stove. The solid plastics melts and turns into a vapour that is routed through pipes to another closed vessel where it is cooled and condensed back into a liquid. The liquid is then piped to a storage tank and ready for pick up by a tanker truck.

The system uses a common exhaust system to manages the hot air produced by the processing units, while a wet scrubber ensures the system meets stringent air quality requirements, according to information on the Vadxx website.

Separately, Rockwell is also automation partner for Cynar, which is establishing a plastics-to-diesel facility at a SITA site in Bristol, UK.

Related articles:
Project Focus – Cynar plastics-to-diesel


CONTRACT - Finning to build REG 18MW cooking oil plant

NAt Grid elect trans1aRenewable Energy Generation Ltd has signed contracts with Finning UK and Caterpillar Financial Services (UK) Ltd for the construction, operation and financing of an 18MW power plant at Whitemoor Business Park near Selby, Yorkshire.

Finning UK will head up the design, construction and ongoing maintenance of the project - the first of a planned series of REG plants providing standby generation capacity.

The project is expected to cost £6.3 million, of which REG will initially contribute 15%. The facility will employ REG's patented LF100 fuel, which is derived from recycled waste cooking oil.

The plant is anticipated to become operational during the second half of 2014. Caterpillar Financial will then provide funding of 70% of the project costs through a long-term debt facility - the balance being provided by REG.

"That Finning is prepared to build and operate the plant whilst Caterpillar Financial is providing long-term debt finance to the new facility, demonstrates the commercial application of a process that has taken us many years to perfect," said Andrew Whalley, chief executive officer of REG.

"We believe the standby generation market will grow strongly, a result of the closure of older electricity generation plant leading to greater intermittency on the UK grid," he added.