News | October 10, 2007

New Technology To Turn Vast Reserves Of Low-Rank Coal Into "Green Fuel"

Silverado Green Fuel, Inc. To Build Demonstration "Ecoplex" Plant in Mississippi

Imagine a technology that could mass produce, without any damage to the environment, a new "Green Fuel" that makes a major contribution towards resolving future oil shortages, and replaces many of the industrial applications for oil, at a fraction of the cost. Silverado Green Fuel, Inc. has indeed been that imaginative and is on the verge of making it a reality. Silverado Green Fuel, Inc. has designed a technology that can use the plentiful resource material of low-rank coal (LRC), which represents half of the U.S.'s coal reserves, and help make America energy self-sufficient for decades to come.

Silverado Green Fuel Inc is planning to use this new technology to turn low-rank coal into "Green Fuel". This Green Fuel is made by "pressure cooking" low-rank coal to dehydrate the particles and release waxes and resins, leaving the particles in a safe, high-energy state, and suspended in their originally extracted water. The water is treated and then added back to the dried coal. The end product is a thick oily liquid called Green Fuel. The stigma of 'coal' as an energy source is a somewhat outdated cliché when applied to Green Fuel. Silverado Green Fuel, Inc. is out to prove that coal is no longer a four-letter word.

Green Fuel can be used to power oil-fired power plants directly, or be used as a feedstock for further processing (gasification and liquefication) to produce transportation fuels (jet, diesel, gasoline), key agricultural compounds (fertilizers, synthetic petrochemical feedstocks, ammonia), industrial products (oils, lubricants, synthetics) and even consumer products (plastics, packaging, etc.).

From Possibilities to Proven Process: Silverado Green Fuel Inc. has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mississippi Development Authority and other State Agencies to build a $26 million Green Fuel demonstration 'Ecoplex' plant to produce a new form of coal-based, environmentally friendly, low-cost alternative fuel, utilizing the State's vast low-rank coal reserves.

"We are moving from possibilities to process, and the process is not just a dream. It is about to become reality," says Garry Anselmo, Silverado Green Fuel, Inc. CEO.

"The federal government has been, and will be an extremely important partner in this," says Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. "What we need in America to have energy security, is more energy. What Silverado is going to do, is take some of our coal reserves, which are the biggest in the world, and through a hydrothermal process, convert it into synthetic gas, which is absolutely clean burning. It is a phenomenon of technology that this company, Silverado, has pursued aggressively, and it is a great part of trying to show America how to be energy independent."

The Technology
Dr. Warrack Willson, PhD, is Vice President, Fuel Technology Division, Silverado Green Fuel Inc., and one of the world's most renowned experts on low-rank coal-water fuel (LRCWF). Approximately one-half of the coal in the United States qualifies as low rank, sub-bituminous or lignite. Low-rank coal is substantially less expensive than bituminous coal and has superior combustion characteristics, i.e., more rapid ignition and higher carbon burnout.

By utilizing the hydrothermal treatment process, low-rank coal can be converted into a stable, low-cost, liquid, non-hazardous low-rank coal-water fuel (LRCWF), which can be burned in oil-designed boilers with little or no derating. The hydrothermal treatment process has been demonstrated in pilot plants in Australia, Japan, and the US with a variety of low-rank coals. LRCWF is a non-hazardous, low cost alternative to oil, which eliminates the problems of dust generation and tendency towards spontaneous combustion associated with handling and transporting raw coal.

LRCWF can now be produced as an oil-equivalent for many industrial applications, and has important environmental advantages. It is non-hazardous, non-toxic, and during transport and storage, non-flammable in the event of spills. These properties alone will be significant factors in its acceptance as a replacement for oil. When LRCWF is burned by means of spray injection, its inherent water moderates combustion temperatures and eliminates hot spots, thereby reducing thermal nitrous oxides.

The industrial application for LRCWF is only the first stage. Further gasification and liquefaction processes can produce a synthetic liquid fuel able to be used for virtually all applications that oil is used for now. For example, such an application is the creation of hydrogen (H2), by gasification of LRCWF with oxygen; all performed in a contained high-pressure environment, allowing capture of this greenhouse gas. In this manner, undesirable by-products such as CO2, sulphur, fly ash and minor amounts of naturally occurring heavy metals, may be extracted during the process and will produce respectively, an agent for maintaining pressure on oil wells where it stays sequestered in the ground, calcium sulfate for gyprock and road and brick building material.

With respect to greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, there is none produced, as the process gasifies with oxygen, thereby eliminating the introduction of nitrogen to the process. The product from this "gasification of low-rank coal process" is pure hydrogen, which is used for the production of electricity and is integral to the fuel cells of futures cars. When hydrogen is burned for these purposes the by-products are pure water and nitrogen, both of which are environmentally compatible and in fact desirable.

The Return on Investment: "I think that once the demo plant is done and people see that it works, there will be unlimited capital available to build. In that case, right off the bat, we would build a multi-billion dollar complex that would include a coal deposit and mining," says CEO Anselmo. He envisions a mine-site plant that would produce tens of millions of barrels of oil-equivalent a year, gasifying and further processing it to make hydrogen, and treating some in a liquefaction process to make various fuels and other products.

The Future Silverado is less than three years away from the first stage, going from the proof of concept to fully operational demonstration. The site near Mississippi's has large reserves of lignite, which, if the International Energy Agency (IEA) is correct in their projections of rapid depletion of world oil reserves, could be just in time to begin filling the gap.

Silverado Green Fuel EcoPlex Plants can be established in any locale, worldwide, where there is a deposit of low-rank coal nearby. Coincidentally, countries with the greatest demand for energy (U.S., China, India) also have vast deposits.

Silverado Green Fuel's vision is for a better place for our children, and future generations of children, less concerned with depleting fossil fuels and environmental impact, and more concerned with making this a cleaner, and more energy-affordable, energy-sustainable world.

"With the ever-increasing global oil prices, foreign oil cartels, and the majority of fossil fuels centered around war-torn regions, or deep within the earth's seas and oil sands, we all need to turn to the Silverado Green Fuels of this world, where innovation and dedication to technology development can well translate into timely energy solutions," says Anselmo.

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SOURCE: Silverado Green Fuel Inc.