Companies to commercialize gasification technology

By Anna Austin
Web exclusive posted Jan. 5, 2009, at 5:17 p.m. CST

Connecticut-based Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc., a United Technologies Corp. company, has signed a global licensing agreement with Canada-based Zero Emission Energy Plants Inc. for the right to construct and operate gasification plants that will commercialize Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's compact gasification technology.

Under terms of the agreement announced Dec. 9, Zero Emission Energy Plants will develop a commercial-scale demonstration plant and build several large gasification facilities throughout the world. Possible locations for the demonstration plant include China, Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

Bruce Bernard, president and chief executive officer of Zero Emission Energy Plants, said that after ten years of considering all the merits of gasification technologies, the company found Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's technology promises to be more reliable, more efficient and cleaner than others.

The Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne compact gasification system is an ultra-dense solids feed system coupled with an oxygen-blown, single-stage gasifier that converts low value carbonaceous feedstock into syngas that consists primarily of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

In cooperation with the U.S. DOE, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne began developing the technology, which is based on more than 50 years of rocket engine experience and early proof of concept tests performed in the late 1970s.

In October, Biomass Magazine reported that Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne had partnered with ExxonMobile Research and Engineering Co. to develop an affordable, efficient and innovative compact gasification technology in an effort to lower costs, provide clean burning fuels and reduce dependency on imported foreign oil. (Read "Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne partner with ExxonMobil.")