EERC to demo alternative liquid fuel production for US military

By The Energy & Environmental Research Center | February 28, 2012

The Energy & Environmental Research Center has been awarded a $906,000 contract from the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. in East Hartford, Conn., to develop alternative liquid fuels for U.S. military applications. The EERC will be demonstrating gasification-based technologies for converting nonpetroleum feedstocks, such as coal and biomass, into liquid fuels. This testing supports CCAT’s work for the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency.

“CCAT is extremely pleased to be working with the EERC and the U.S. DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory and our project partners Arcadis/Malcolm Pirnie and Avetec Inc., to conduct these tests,” stated Tom Maloney, CCAT’s director of technology and research application. “CCAT is excited about the potential impact this testing may have on the coal/biomass-to-liquids industry. This team’s work is important to support the development of alternative liquid fuel options for the U.S. military, and we look forward to doing additional testing at the EERC.”

Driving the work is the U.S. military’s commitment to energy security through utilization of domestic resources for producing specification-compliant fuels with life cycle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that are equal to or less than those of their petroleum-derived counterparts.

“The EERC’s expertise and world-class gasification equipment continue to be called upon by its partners to provide critical data to help industry move forward on the development of innovative technologies for the coproduction of power and advanced tactical fuels for U.S. military bases worldwide,” said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold.

The EERC is supporting the CCAT team by using the EERC’s transport reactor development unit and bench-scale entrained-flow gasifier systems to evaluate the impact of fuel quality and operating conditions on synthetic gas composition, gas cleanup, system performance, overall process efficiency, and CO2 emissions.

“Dozens of fuels have been tested in these gasification systems over the past two decades,” said Mike Holmes, deputy associate director for research at the EERC. “For example, since its commissioning in 1990, our TRDU gasifier has proven to be an excellent system for evaluating the operational performance of all ranks of coal, coal–biomass blends, and 100 percent biomass. The seven-story-high TRDU system enables the gasification reactions to be self-sustaining, but it is still small enough that several different operating conditions can be evaluated in a single day.”

Previous testing performed in the EERC’s unique gasification systems has shown that a highly clean gas can be produced from coal, which is essential for the production of quality liquid fuel. 

In all, the EERC has on its property six high-bay (three to seven stories) technology demonstration facilities dedicated to providing near-commercial-scale testing for the energy and environmental industries and features a wide variety of combustion, gasification, liquefaction, carbon capture, and emission control technologies.

This project will be completed this year by Sept. 30.