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Course Description

The gasification short course, held September 9–10, 2009, was designed to provide technical personnel a broad understanding of gasification technologies and issues, thus mitigating the real or perceived risk associated with the technology. The course was held at the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) in Grand Forks, ND.

Major utilities, independent power producers, petroleum, and chemical companies are intent on developing a fleet of gasification plants primarily because of high natural gas prices, the availability and cost of coal or other solid hydrocarbons, and the implementation of state and potential federal carbon standards. Currently, many projects are being proposed to utilize gasification technologies to produce a synthesis gas or fuel gas stream for the production of hydrogen, liquid fuels, chemicals, and electricity. Financing these projects is challenging because of the complexity, diverse nature of gasification technologies, and the risk associated with certain applications of the technology.

The diverse nature of gasification processes, depending on the feedstocks, products produced, and environmental goals, will be overviewed. This course will also include an overview of the gasification process and potential products, including electric power, hydrogen, liquid fuels, gaseous fuels, chemicals, fertilizers, carbon dioxide, and other materials. The production of hydrogen will be a key factor in our future energy portfolio. Producing pure hydrogen gas with a low impact on the environment is extremely important to the hydrogen economy. One of the most promising technologies for hydrogen production is coal gasification, initially, and maybe in the longer term. Coal can be a cornerstone for the diverse hydrogen supply mix, with integration of hydrogen production into coproduction of power and synthetic fuels. The United States has more than one-quarter of the world’s coal reserves, with a supply that will last over 250 years at current mining rates.

Hydrogen production is not new, about 9 million tons of hydrogen is produced annually in the United States, mostly for fertilizers and hydrocracking petroleum. About 12% more coal would need to be mined and converted to hydrogen to serve only one-third of the entire transportation demand.

Who Attended

This course was attended by technical personnel who were interested in gaining a broad understanding of gasification technologies and issues. It was of interest and value to:

  • Technical personnel who are, or will be, involved with evaluating gasification projects, developing novel processes, or planning technology.
  • Industrial personnel interested in power generation, petroleum refining, ammonia or methanol production, chemical intermediates using syngas, or production of clean transportation fuels.
  • Personnel involved with disposing of municipal solid wastes, residues from petroleum refining or coal beneficiation, and other chemical and biological wastes.
  • Business decision makers who require sufficient information to make economic and risk assessments.
  • All who want to become part of this growing industry.

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