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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

U.S. Company Deepens J.V. in China with Third Gasification Train for Methanol Production

Synthesis Energy Systems (SES) Inc. has completed the final commissioning of its Yima joint venture project in Henan Province, China, by beginning the operation of a third and final gasification train for methanol production. The project is a partnership with the Chinese state-owned Yima Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd. Methanol is primarily used as a feedstock in chemicals production.

The first gasification system was placed into operation and produced initial methanol last December. It was followed by the simultaneous operation of two gasification trains in February and the continuing production of raw methanol. The Yima joint venture continues to complete all of the remaining required commissioning steps and is increasing the production of methanol, as planned, in order for the plant to become fully operational at commercial scale.

“The Yima plant is progressing as expected with the third gasifier now beginning operations. The third gasification system is designed to allow the plant to operate with high reliability in order to meet our annual production of methanol,” said Robert Rigdon, president and CEO of SES. “Our Yima plant is designed to produce 300,000 tonnes of methanol per year from two operating gasification systems. The plant is moving to full-scale, steady-state operation with methanol production, which is expected around early summer.”

The gasification facility at SES's Yima joint-venture plant in China.

The gasification facility at Synthesis Energy Systems’ Yima joint-venture plant in China.

SES provides technology, equipment, and engineering services for the conversion of low-rank, low-cost coal and biomass feedstocks into energy and chemical products. Its strategy is to operate in regions where low-rank coals and biomass feedstocks can be profitably converted into high-value products using its U-GAS fluidized bed gasification technology, which the company licenses from the Gas Technology Institute.

U-GAS is said to gasify coal cost effectively, without many of the emissions normally associated with coal combustion plants. U-GAS is said to be able to use all ranks of coal, including low-rank, high-ash, and high-moisture coals,  which are significantly cheaper than higher-grade coals, which enables greater fuel flexibility. The technology also can use many coal waste products and biomass feedstocks. SES, at, has offices in Houston and Shanghai.

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