Using funds provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (PA DCED), the Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center (SGGICC) commissioned a study on the potential to convert natural gas to methanol on a small to medium size plant scale.
The SGICC commissioned ADI Analytics, a boutique consulting firm focused on oil and gas, energy, and chemicals to perform the study which addresses the techno-economic feasibility of various smaller scale operations that could convert natural gas to methanol serving a regional market while also addressing the market needs for methanol in the northeast.
Natural gas conversion to methanol is a mature technology used worldwide to produce methanol, but there currently is no production in the northeastern U.S, and only minimal production currently in North America. Due to the surge in the availability of low cost natural gas, several plant expansions and plans for new plants have been announced in the Gulf Coast region of the United States over the last few years, but none have been publicly announced in the Northeast to date. In addition, typical methanol plants are very large “world scale” operations, producing on average 2500 to 5000 Metric Tons/Day.
Over the past five years, ADI Analytics has completed more than 120 projects for both large and small companies, investors, and government agencies that had a variety of needs including market research, strategic planning, economic analysis, competitive landscaping, and technology assessments. The company’s CEO, Uday Turaga commented, “Our team at ADI Analytics has enjoyed working on this assignment. Conceptually, small-scale methanol plants offer advantages including lower capital costs in comparison to traditional large plants and a liquid, easily-transportable product with many applications. So it should offer potential to monetize natural gas from fields that are remote, have limited pipeline connectivity, or have relatively poor production or economics. But, as with all opportunities, these potential advantages should be assessed against risks around technology, market demand, and competition from large plants.”
Bill Hall, SGICC Director commented, “Key to the ongoing success of the shale energy industry in the Commonwealth is finding outlets for the significant quantities of natural gas being produced here that are currently overwhelming the available pipeline take-away capacity. Our initial analysis of ways to use the gas uncovered the conversion to methanol as one avenue worth further investigation, and the report validates this opportunity as something worth analyzing by anyone seriously considering investing in downstream uses of the gas.”
Go to http://www.sgicc.org/dced-grant-white-papers.html to access the report.
The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center (www.sgicc.org), an initiative of Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP (http://www.cnp.benfranklin.org) is designed to harness innovation and new technologies as a means to maximize the economic return to Pennsylvania’s citizens from the various shale formations comprise part of the energy reserves of the Commonwealth. The Center also identifies, supports and helps commercialize technologies and early-stage businesses that enhance responsible stewardship of the environment while properly utilizing this transformative energy asset.
Original Source: http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/natural-gas/news/2015/06/ben-franklin2019s-sgicc-releases-study-on-the-small-scale-conversion-of-natural-gas-to-methanol