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ExxonMobil and Sinopec announce joint technology development agreement

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) and Sinopec Engineering (Group) Co., Ltd (SEG) are participating in a Cooperative Development Agreement (CDA) for advancement of fluid bed methanol to gasoline technology. The CDA will leverage the two companies’ expertise and experience in methanol conversion to gasoline (MTG) and fluid bed technology development to refine and commercialise a fluid bed version of MTG technology. The two companies are developing the technology under the cooperative development agreement with the intent to globally license the technology.

“Our goal is to develop a fluid bed MTG design that will cost significantly less to construct and operate,” said Xuejun Xiao, Director of the Technical Department of SEG. “We want to significantly improve energy efficiency versus the fixed bed design.”

EMRE has been working on MTG catalyst and process technology development since the 1970s. ExxonMobil engineers designed the first fixed bed MTG unit, which was operated commercially in New Zealand from 1985 until the mid 1990s in a facility that converted natural gas into regular gasoline. EMRE has also conducted research on a fluid bed version of MTG technology along with the US Department of Energy and others. The research included the operation of a 100 bpd fluid bed MTG demonstration unit in 1983.

“With more than 40 years of research and development experience in Methanol Gas Technology, ExxonMobil is looking forward to continuing these efforts through our cooperative agreement with SEG,” said Vince Alberico, Manager, Technology Sales and Licensing at EMRE. “Once the technology is successfully developed we anticipate it will have strong market competitiveness and broad marketability.”

SEG brings additional engineering and technology development expertise including experience with a number of fluid bed technologies. Through this agreement, EMRE and SEG will work to refine the fluid bed MTG process incorporating design updates that include technology developments since the original fluid bed MTG programme was completed.

Pilot facilities have been constructed at SEG’s research facilities in Luoyang, Henan Province, in China.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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