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The gasification unit at one of the world’s largest coal-to-olefins projects successfully started up at the China Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Co. Ltd.’s project in Baotou, Inner Mongolia (Shenhua Baotou Coal to Olefins project). The gasification unit uses advanced coal gasification technology provided by GE (NYSE:GE).

The gasification technology converts coal into a synthesis gas (or syngas). Syngas can then be used to produce methanol, which will be transformed into olefins, a building block for producing polyethylene and polypropylene. At full production—scheduled for fourth quarter of 2010—the Shenhua Baotou Coal to Olefins project will produce nearly 1.8 million tons of methanol for approximately 600,000 tons of polyethylene and polypropylene per year.

With five gasifiers and two spare units, the Shenhua Baotou Coal to Olefins project is one of the largest coal to olefins plants in the world. The plant underscores the importance that the Chinese government is placing on using the country’s large coal reserves to reduce its heavy dependence on imported olefins (polyethylene and polypropylene-based plastics) and drive further economic growth.

“The size and scope of this project is possible because of strong government interest in the development of larger coal-to-olefins plants,” said Jason Crew, director of gasification products—Asia for GE Power & Water. “The Shenhua Baotou Coal to Olefins project is one of three large-scale, coal-to-olefins demonstration projects funded by the Chinese government and is the first one to start up. We are proud that GE gasification technology is part of this successful industrial scale project.”

Gasification technology is critical for the expansion of the Chinese economy, allowing a wide variety of industrial products and fuels to be created from low-cost and abundant coal resources. GE’s gasification technology is one of the most widely applied technologies of its kind in China, with more than 40 licensed facilities. As gasification projects in China get larger and more complex, advanced technologies such as GE’s larger scale quench gasifier and higher pressure gasification technology will have a significant role in reducing overall project cost.

Shenhua is one of the world’s largest coal producers and a large diversified energy company in China and is playing a key part in the development of new coal-related technologies such as coal-to-liquid and chemicals, coal gasification systems and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) in a wide range of technology configurations.

Categories: Coal plant

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