Matching funding support for CTL Mini-Refinery - Year 3

Grants and Contracts Details


Section 417 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (the “Act”) authorized the U.S. Department of Energy to carry out a program to evaluate the commercial and technical viability of advanced technologies for the production of Fischer-Tropsch transportation fuels manufactured from Illinois basin coal. The Congress also authorized DOE to enter into agreements for capital modifications and construction of new facilities at Southern Illinois University Coal Research Center, the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research, and the Energy Center at Purdue University. The universities subsequently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to form the “Coal Fuel Alliance” to support complementary and joint research focusing on applied and developmental needs for Coal/Biomass-to-Liquids technologies. The “roadmap” developed by the CFA identified one early lead foundational capability that was critically needed to support the other universities; that being, the development of a “mini Fischer- Tropsch refinery” [now more appropriately a Coal/Biomass-to-Liquids Process Development Unit (PDU) with addition of gasifiers] to be constructed at UK. Such a facility requires significant lead time for Front End Engineering and Design (FEED), procurement and construction in the range of 2-3 years. The facility is considered to be the “workhorse” of the Alliance and is intended to produce research quantities of FT liquids and finished fuels for subsequent testing by the other universities; for example, in Purdue’s extensive engine test stands sponsored by Rolls Royce, Caterpillar and Cummins Engines. Accordingly, the overarching objective of this project is to advance the design and construction of this facility at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research. The know-how, show-how associated with the facility is expected to be a key benefit, which can be used as test beds for new concepts at a level of expenditure that is affordable. It will provide open-access facilities and information in the public domain to aid the wider scientific and industrial community, and a means to independently review vendor claims and validate fuel performance and quality. Environmental considerations, particularly how to manage and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from CBTL facilities and from use of the fuels, will be a primary objective of the research.
Effective start/end date8/1/106/30/12


  • KY Energy and Environment Cabinet: $337,553.00


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