Catalytic Coal Gasification: An Emerging Technology

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Science  08 Jan 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4529, pp. 121-127
DOI: 10.1126/science.215.4529.121


Catalytic coal gasification is being developed as a more efficient and less costly approach to producing methane from coal. With a potassium catalyst all the reactions can take place at one temperature, so that endothermic and exothermic reactions can be integrated in a single reactor. A key aspect of the concept involves continuous recycling of product carbon monoxide and hydrogen to the gasifier following separation of methane. Development of the process has advanced steadily since the basic concept was proposed in 1971. A 23-day demonstration run was recently completed in a process development unit with a coal feed rate of 1 ton per day. The next major step in the program will be to design and construct a large pilot plant to bring the technology to commercial readiness in the late 1980's.