Gas Manufacturing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Gasification?

Gasification is a commercially proven manufacturing process that converts carbonaceous materials such as coal into a synthetic gas. This gas can then be used in gas conversion facilities such as clean fuels manufacturing, power generation, or fertilizer production. Gasification is a method for extracting energy from organic material and is an efficient technology that can produce synthetic gas with a high degree of long-term cost and production certainty from low-value feedstock such as coal.

What is In-Situ Coal Gasification (ISCG)?

ISCG is gasification of coal deep underground in its original coal seam. The ISCG process uses injection and production wells drilled from the surface to access the coal seam and facilitate the process in-situ. The coal is not extracted to the surface as there is no coal mine or coal handling facilities with ISCG. Through a high pressure gasification process, the coal is efficiently converted in-place in its original seam into synthetic gas. The synthetic gas is flowed to the surface and then processed in a conventional gas plant to produce finished synthetic gas for use in gas conversion units.

What does in-situ mean?

In-situ means “in place”, and refers to recovery techniques at the location of the energy source (e.g. coal stays in place).

What is synthetic gas?

ISCG synthetic gas is comprised of primarily methane and carbon dioxide, with small amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Swan Hills Synfuels has shown with its ISCG Demo Project at Swan Hills that both the rate of gas manufacture and the synthetic gas composition can be controlled and thus “specified” during ISCG operations. Finished synthetic gas (once the CO2 has been removed) can be used interchangeably with natural gas as the feedstock for Swan Hills Synfuels’ gas conversion facilities.

What are the distinct attributes of Gasification?

  • A clean, flexible, and reliable way of turning fossil fuels into clean energy.
  • Ability to convert low-value feedstock (coal) into high-value products.
  • Provides a cost effective way to capture CO2.
  • Gasification enables use of domestic natural resources that would otherwise not be economically viable.
  • Provides economic benefits with respect to investment and job creation.
  • Gasification is enabling redefinition of "clean energy."

What are the Benefits of Gasification?

Gasification for electricity production provides environmental and cost benefits compared to traditional combustion technologies, including:

  1. Synthetic gas is cleaned before combustion/use which reduces air pollutants to the atmosphere.
  2. Gasification enables the use of low-value feedstock (i.e., deep stranded coal) to produce energy.
  3. Water Usage – Gasification plants use less water than coal combustion plants; Swan Hills Synfuels’ ISCG process uses deep source non-fresh water in the gasification process.
  4. CO2 can be cost-effectively captured from the gasification process and create incremental value in the form of enhanced hydrocarbon recovery, while being permanently sequestered.

What are the economic benefits of Gasification, and ISCG specifically?

  1. ISCG provides a high degree of long-term certainty on both synthetic gas cost, as well as manufactured gas volumes. This makes ISCG synthetic gas an ideal long-term gas supply cost hedge for gas conversion facilities.
  2. Gasification converts abundant low-value feedstocks into synthetic gas, thereby creating the opportunity to obtain valuable energy from otherwise low value energy sources such as deep, unmineable coal.
  3. Gasification, together with the further processing of the synthetic gas, removes contaminants, thereby generating a clean gas product.
  4. Gasification is among the most cost-effective means to integrate CO2 capture into fossil fuel use.

What are the environmental benefits of Gasification?

Gasification based systems offer significant environmental advantages over competing technologies, particularly coal-to-electricity combustion systems:

  1. Reduced air emissions – Significant air emission reductions achieved through gasification with CO2 capture, at much lower cost compared to other post-combustion capture alternatives.
  2. Water usage – Swan Hills Synfuels ISCG uses virtually no fresh water in the gasification process but instead uses non-fresh water such as saline water.
  3. Ability to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) – In a gasification system, CO2 can be cost-effectively captured and sequestered using commercially available technologies before it would otherwise be vented to the atmosphere.

What is the compelling advantage of Swan Hills Synfuels’ Gas Conversion – Gas Supply approach?

By focusing initially on gas conversion facilities development, Swan Hills Synfuels will be able to take advantage of currently low natural gas prices to purchase natural gas for use as the key input into the gas conversion facilities.

By designing these gas conversion facilities to use either natural gas or Swan Hills Synfuels’ ISCG synthetic gas as their key input, Swan Hills Synfuels creates a valuable option to develop its own natural gas supplies, or ISCG synthetic gas manufacturing in the future to replace natural gas as the feedstock for its gas conversion facilities.

The ISCG synthetic gas manufacturing process provides long-term gas manufacturing rate and cost certainty – a perfect gas supply option for gas conversion facilities, eliminating exposure to natural gas price volatility.

The deep coal resource secured for the Swan Hills ISCG process is ideally suited for efficient ISCG development and represents a secure, low-cost feedstock resource.

The ISCG coal resource is located amidst numerous existing oil fields suitable for CO2-based EOR, providing a ready market for the CO2 recovered in the ISCG gas processing. With over four billion barrels of original oil in place and miscible flooding tertiary recovery already proven on these reservoirs, an ample long-term market is available for the CO2 produced by the ISCG process.