AOI1:Small-scale Pilot Plant for the Gasification of Coal and Coal/biomass Blends and Conversion of Derived Syngas to Liquid Fuels

Grants and Contracts Details


The overarching objective of this project is to advance the design, construction and operations of a coal/biomass-to-liquids facility at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK-CAER) at 1 bbl/day liquid fuels capacity. Since 2005, UK-CAER with support of the US Department of Energy [project DE-FC26-08-NT05988] has pursued the tangible construction and development of a coal/biomass-to-liquids facility meeting the description included in the FOA, but at the larger capacity of 1 lb/day. Such a facility requires significant lead time for environmental review, architectural/building construction, and EPC services for the design and fabrication of the principal refinery units. UK and DOE have made a substantial investment of time and money to bring this facility to reality – and have advanced the project in several important ways. These include a formal environmental assessment (EA), and permits and approvals; construction of a building to house the refinery; selection of a range of technologies and vendors; and the design, fabrication and installation of upstream process units for feed handling, gas cleaning, conditioning and compression, and gasification. Resources provided under this FOA would finish out initial capitalization of the facility with the addition of downstream units for water-gas-shift, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and hydrocracking - and provide for a working mini-refinery at a 1 lb/day liquid fuels capacity. With a working mini-refinery, the primary research objective of the project is to compare the compositions of FT liquid fuels produced from coal-derived syngas with those produced from syngas derived from a coal/biomass mixture, whereby biomass in the amount of 10% (torrefied basis) is added to the pulverized coal. Compositions of the products will be assessed following a straight run through the FT reactor, as well as after the heavier products (e.g., heavy oils and waxes) are processed in a standalone hydrocracker. A second objective is to assess the economics of the process to compare what the cost is of adding biomass to coal for the purpose of limiting net CO2 emissions to the environment. A third objective is to investigate feed handling and preparation, with emphasis on torrified biomass. And, a fourth objective is to supply the DOE with at least a 1-liter sample of the liquid fuels produced from the process.
Effective start/end date10/1/123/31/18


  • Department of Energy: $2,730,047.00


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