July 23, 2011: Update on Basin Electric coal gasification/CO2 generation and capture, as well as new calls for government policies to support EOR.
October 30, 2010: Update on Coal Creek Station. This is Great River Energy's benefication plant located between Bismarck and Minot where lignite is dried to produce a better fuel. The concept is working and engineers from as far away as China are coming to visit. The company's patented process is called DryFining. This appears to be more successful than most people initially thought. A synopsis of this plant:
The Coal Creek Station in Underwood, ND, has a coal drying process they have been working on for years. "They" claim a 29% moisture reduction in the lignite, causing a 14.5 % increase in heat content of lignite. This process also causes a reduction of 52 % of SO2, a 37 % reduction in mercury and a 32% reduction in NOX2. This plant is also going to dry coal for a new power station being built in Jamestown, ND.
October 6, 2010: The nation's only commercial-scale plant producing natural gas from lignite paid off its last loan to the US government (long story, see link). The company is Dakota Gasification Company, a subsidiary of Bismarck-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative.
Call me obsessive-compulsive, but it often leads to good things.
It's a long, convoluted story -- too long and too convoluted to go into here -- but my obsession with DKRW has led me down a strange but interesting path, with lots of dots to connect.
I am a novice when it comes to coal, so this posting is simply for me to start understanding what is going on in North Dakota with respect to coal. Yes, it's a bit off-topic from the Bakken but there are too many stories about coal "in the Bakken" for this site to ignore. Again, this is for my benefit, and anyone who can shed light on what is transpiring is welcome to comment.
First, we all know about the South Heart Gasification Plant, or at least I thought I did. But I am getting a bit more confused. It's possible that there are three projects in the works in and around South Heart, Stark County, North Dakota (USA) regarding the use of coal.
Hopefully others will help me out.
The three projects:
- Beneficiation: A coal-drying process to transform lignite into a more efficient coal.
- Above-ground gasification: A coal-gasification plant.
- Underground gasification: An underground coal gasification project.
This was the first story I linked: New Zealand shipping lignite to North Dakota to test the concept. Recent reports suggest that the New Zealand test was successful.
The coal-gasification plant
South Heart Coal (SHC) is a subsidiary of Great Northern Power Development (GNPD), which is affiliated with Great Northern Properties, the nation’s largest private coal reserve holder. In January, 2008, these two entities (SHC and GNPD) announced their intent to move forward with a $1.4 billion proposal for a coal-to-gas plant and coal mine at the same site. If the proposal is approved, construction could begin in December, 2009, (need to find update), and the plant would be operational in 2012. Subsequently (in 2009), SHC has changed its permit (due to legal wrangling) to forego the gasification plant and simply become an electrical generation plant. [Update, November 4, 2010: South Heart Coal has resubmitted its proposal, but limits it to strip coal mining; promoters says coal-drying technology licensed from GTL will be used by a new plant to be built three miles west of South Heart.]
The project is located 30 miles west of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and air status concerns for the park make the location problematic (need to find update). From SourceWatch.com.
Note: SourceWatch states the project would be WEST of the Theordore Roosevelt National Park. Folks living in the area tell me that the project is EAST of the park. UPDATE: the folks at SourceWatch replied to my e-mail and said that yes, indeed, they will correct that. For me that makes the "air status concerns" a lot less problematic.
It is my understanding that South Heart Coal was also considering an IGCC power plant there (it is confusing to me whether this is a new project or related to the "coal-to-gas plant" noted above).
Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants are believed to be the type of power plants that will predominately be used to add to our electrical power supply, replace our aging coal power plants and out increasingly expensive natural gas power plants. Source: The Energy Blog.Near Beulah, North Dakota, a coal gasification plant.
Basin Elecric Power Cooperatiave (Basin Electric), through its for-profit subsidiary, Dakota Gasification Company (Dakota Gas), owns and operates the Great Plains Synfuels Plant (Synfuels Plant). The Synfuels Plant is the only commercial-scale coal gasification plant in the United States that manufactures natural gas. It is also the cleanest energy plant operating in the state of North Dakota, according to a comparison of emissions data available from the North Dakota Department of Health.
Average daily production of natural gas is about 153 million cubic feet, the majority of which is piped to Ventura, IA, for distribution in the eastern United States.
The Synfuels Plant supplies carbon dioxide to the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project in the world in Saskatchewan, Canada. Dakota Gas currently captures between 2.5 and 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The $2.1-billion plant began operating in 1984. Using Lurgi gasifiers, the Synfuels Plant gasifies lignite coal to produce valuable gases and liquids. Located five miles northwest of Beulah, ND, the Synfuels Plant has been owned and operated by Dakota Gas since 1988.
About $477 million has been invested in the Synfuels Plant since 1988 to achieve environmental compliance, improve efficiency, and invest in new byproduct development.
Underground gasification concept
I first came across this concept earlier this month in a Bismarck Tribune.com story.