Technologies that make coal combustion cleaner and more efficient are receiving a great deal of attention. The use of high-efficiency coal gasification systems will produce near zero pollutants and provide an affordable energy supply for the United States. WRI is pioneering coal combustion and gasification technologies that will eventually be used for integrated, ultra-clean energy plants to produce electricity. The technologies will also be designed to have the flexibility for producing "opportunity" products, including clean transportation fuels, high-value chemicals, synthesis gas, and hydrogen, in concurrence with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vision 21 Program.
WRI has three coal gasifiers on site using three different technologies. Two gasifiers are designed around indirect heating processes that prevent dilution of the resulting synthesis gas with nitrogen. These air blown gasifiers have some of the benefits of oxygen blown gasification without the added cost of oxygen. The third gasifier is a more conventional oxygen/steam blown 7-inch fluidized bed gasifier designed for western coals. Operating at 1600 °F, the gasifier produces a near 50:50 mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide with a dry ash bottom. In 2006, WRI added many enhancements to the gasifier’s capabilities including upgrading the oxygen blown fluidized bed gasifier for sulfur and particulate control. The computer-controlled gasifier uses 35 pounds of coal per hour and has a slip stream product stream used for testing technologies such as multi-pollutant control, hydrogen separation using membranes, and water gas shift catalysts.
WRI scientists and engineers are working at the forefront of coal gasification technology. And, our gasifier facilities are designed to fully support the clean fuel research and development needs of industry and government.