Our Vision on Clean Coal to Liquids

Eventually, all energy will have to come from sustainable sources, and be carbon neutral. The contribution of solar and wind energy to the overall energy utilization is strongly increasing all over the world, notably also in China,  However, before we can fully rely on truly sustainable energy, there will necessarily be a long transition period of several decades, in which energy from fossil sources such as coal, oil and gas will continue to be used on a large scale. The challenge is to do this with minimum impact on the environment.

Liquid fuels such as gasoline and diesel are attractive as medium for storing and transporting energy, as their energy content per unit of volume and weight is unsurpassed, and the necessary infrastructure is widely available. These factors make conversion technologies as gas, biomass and, not in the least, coal-to-liquids attractive options. Synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, is the key intermediate in all these conversions. Hence, the chemistry of synthesis gas (or syngas) is a key topic in catalysis.

Synfuels China Technology Co., Ltd. Is a renowned specialist in converting coal to liquid fuels, based on a more than 30 years long tradition of R&D.

Clean Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) technology is greatly preferable to direct and distributed combustion of coal, as toxic impurities can (and have to) be removed in syngas generation. The challenge of CTL is that additional hydrogen is needed, which should be produced without generation of extra CO2 to reduce the carbon foot print to the level of GTL technology.

On the long term, syngas derived from CO2 and solar H2 provides the perspective of a sustainable route to non-fossil fuels, which still offer the energy density and convenience of today’s transportation fuels. Fundamental knowledge and well-trained people form the key ingredient for optimizing these technologies.

World wide capacities of GTL and, in particular, CTL are expected to grow in coming years. The major growth of CTL is realized in China using technology developed by Synfuels China.

“Science is the right guide for the future”

In February 2015, Professor Yong-wang Li, Founder and CEO of Synfuels China Co. Ltd., published a note on Research Gate, entitled “The Force Driving the Research on Energy reminding: we are working for future by using Funding from current activities”. There he set out his ideas on finding solutions for sustainable energy. Research in this area threatens to become under pressure in the current temporary economic climate of abundant cheap oil.

He stated that without fundamental scientific knowledge we will not be able to find energy solutions that are truly sustainable. In the end we may need to look at behavior of materials at the quantum level: “future energy resources must be related to the fine control of the fundamental structures and functionalities of many materials due to weak interactions that we are now unfamiliar with.” It will easily take 100 years to discover such knowledge and transfer it into technology. For companies, such new fundamental knowledge helps to safeguard our competitive position.

Meanwhile we all continue to need fossil fuels. The clean and responsible application of coal can expand these resources, and also help to generate funding for new scientific know how and technologies, and to educate young scientists for these tough challenges. Our younger generation should be encouraged  to work in this essential area.

Professor Li concludes with: “In my own trust, science always gives us the right guide to the future. The true driving force should come purely from science.