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Work for gasification of petcoke commences

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

MGX Minerals Inc. and Highbury Energy Inc. have reported that additional work has commenced on gasification of petroleum coke (petcoke), an oilsands and refinery byproduct, into a synthetic liquid equivalent to refinery crude oil feedstock. The expanded R&D is focused on the re-processing of petcoke waste product to a synthetic crude oil. The target specification is being designed to allow for the reuse of petcoke into a primary input equivalent to crude oil that can be upgraded into petrochemical products in a traditional refinery, without any modification to existing equipment. The goal is to produce a fuel that can seamlessly integrate into existing refinery operations. This represents a potential long-term use for the large existing stockpiles of petcoke, as well as ongoing output of petcoke and other waste products without significant changes to the existing refinery infrastructure. To date, work has been focused on petcoke to hydrogen gas output and the extraction of metals from the gasification of the residual ash, in particular vanadium, nickel, and cobalt.

Petcoke is a carbon material byproduct of the oil and gas industry that forms during the oil refining process. As refineries have become more efficient at processing extra heavy crude oils (bitumen) over the last two decades, output of petcoke globally has risen significantly. Because petcoke originates from heavier petroleum fractions, its denser impurities, such as metals and sulfur compounds, are concentrated in it.

The majority of Canadian petcoke output occurs in close proximity to oil sand producing regions, where bitumen is upgraded into synthetic crude oil. Specifically, the Province of Alberta is known to host vast stockpiles of petcoke.

While concentrations of individual metals are low in raw petcoke, Highbury is utilising its advanced knowledge of the thermochemical gasification process and existing large-scale pilot plant experience to assist MGX in designing a process to generate hydrogen gas and concentrate metals in the form of ash byproduct. Highbury has completed a phase I report on potential processes and markets for primary and secondary byproducts. A phase II study has commenced including analyses of locations, laboratory bench top feedstock results, advanced process design and initial plant design parameters.

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