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US firm scales up new GTL technology

30th October 2012

Primus Green Energy is developing an improved gas-to-liquids technology for upcoming GTL plant

US firm scales up new GTL technology
STG directly produces 93-octane gasoline and converts 35 per cent or more of feedstock to gasoline

New Jersey-based biofuel company Primus Green Energy, Inc., is scaling up technology to convert natural gas into high-octane "drop-in" gasoline, it emerged on Monday, as part of plans to break ground on a commercial-scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant next year.

Primus’ STG+ technology is an improved, proprietary version of ExxonMobil's methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) process that the US giant introduced some four decades ago. It is an innovative thermochemical conversion process which produces gasoline that is cost-competitive with petroleum without subsidies, according to Primus, and without need for separation or further treatment. 

STG directly produces 93-octane gasoline and converts 35 per cent or more of feedstock to gasoline, Primus says. The 93-octane gasoline is virtually identical to gasoline produced from petroleum and jet fuel.

Primus' adaptation of the ExxonMobil process can yield more than just gasoline, Downstream Today quoted the company’s vice president of business development, George Boyajian as saying. It has the ability to process natural gas into other products such as diesel, jet fuel and aromatic chemical feedstocks such as toluene and xylene, Boyajian said.

"Compared to the ExxonMobil process, our process is also simpler, more integrated and has a high degree of flexibility in terms of feedstock and scale," Boyajian said. In addition, he said that STG+ is more economically feasible than MTG.

Primus’ USD 12m demonstration GTL plant, which will serve as a model for the company’s first commercial GTL plant set to launch next year, is nearing completion at the Primus headquarters complex in Hillsborough, New Jersey. Three of the plant’s four reactors that will produce drop-in gasoline from natural gas have been installed, with completion scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2012.

Ultimately, Primus envisions broadening the reach of its GTL technology to remote oil well sites far away from natural gas infrastructure.

"Large volumes of oil-associated natural gas are vented or flared because there's no way of getting it to market," Boyajian concluded. "With our technology, oil and gas companies will be able to monetize their reserves of stranded gas by transforming it into valuable liquid transportation fuels."

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