Linc Energy is currently conducting pre-feasibility on adding a Substitute Natural Gas (SNG) unit to its Chinchilla Demonstration Facility in Queensland. This process will add yet another alternative to Linc Energy’s growing portfolio of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) syngas applications, including; Gas to Liquids, Power Generation and Fuel Cell applications.
The study and potential SNG demonstration at Chinchilla to turn UCG gas into pipeline quality natural gas will provide Linc Energy the needed expertise to investigate further application in gas markets such as Europe, Asia and Africa. The need for SNG applications is increasing due to growing energy needs, rising oil and gas prices, available resources and supply security demands in certain countries, especially Europe.
Natural gas has been used for decades as an environmentally friendly clean energy source and its consumption continues to increase. However international distribution of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) adds considerable costs and energy usage compared to pipeline natural gas found within a specific country.
It is clear that countries without natural gas resources will substantially benefit from the SNG process. They will be able to convert their alternative energy sources, such as coal, into ‘look-a-like’ natural gas streams that can substitute or replace imported natural gas. The SNG can be used in existing distribution networks and thus does not add additional distribution issues that would have been encountered if the solid energy (coal) was used as the energy source.
How it works
Substitute Natural Gas is a methane rich product gas stream produced from raw materials such as coal, biomass or waste. The conversion of coal into SNG involves a couple of steps, with the key step being the conversion of synthesis gas into methane through a reaction known as methanation. Methanation is the reaction of the hydrogen and carbon oxides in the syngas to form methane.
1. UCG produces a gas rich in hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
2. Gas clean-up for removal of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. Sulphur can be further processed to sulphuric acid and the CO2 used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
3. Methanation to convert carbon oxides and hydrogen to methane (SNG). The SNG can be dried and compressed for distribution through a pipeline.