Natural gas is a source of energy that can be used in different forms. Canada is in third place of natural gas producers in the world after the United States and Russia with a production rate of more than 480 million cubic meters per day. The basic method to use natural gas resource is direct combustion that is recognized as a low-efficiency way to produce energy. This way requires extensive investment in transportation and distribution of natural gas.
Coal is another source of energy that was used in the power plants as a source of energy using direct combustion. The proven reserves of coal in Canada is around 6.6 billion metric tons (2017). Over the past ten years, Canada’s coal production has remained steady, hovering at 67 to 69 million tons of coal produced per year. Because of the environmental concerns, the provinces in Canada committed to phasing out all coal consumptions. For example, coal made up 25% of Ontario power generation in 2003, which fell to zero in 2014.
Catalytic process based on hydrogen or synthesis gas (a mixture of CO and H2, produced by reforming of the natural gas) produces environmentally clean fuels from natural gas and coal resources. A wide range of hydrocarbon medium and final products can be generated using catalytic reactions. Recent progress in catalyst development introduces high quality and cost-effective products such as clean fuels, wax, lubes, methanol, ammonia, etc. The commercial plants for gas-to-liquid (GTL) conversion process depend heavily on the catalytic technology used to convert synthesis gas into long-chain hydrocarbons via the well-known Fischer–Tropsch synthesis (FTS).
Like ammonia and methanol, FTS can be based on several synthesis gas feedstocks including coal gasification, natural gas and biomass. The production of liquid hydrocarbons from synthesis gas (FTS) is a highly promising, developing option to convert biomass, coal and natural gas to environmentally friendly chemicals and fuels.
Due to large coal and natural gas reserves in Canada, it is expected to play an ever-increasing role in the coming decades. The other advantage of the developed GTL technology is to convert remotely located underutilized or flared natural gas to a premium sulphur free diesel fuels.
In this presentation, we will review the natural gas and coal resources in Canada, Principles of the FTS technology, existing commercial plants and the methods to generate clean fuels from the existing resources.
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