Written By Luke Burgess

Posted November 18, 2005

Two hundred years ago the industrial revolution initiated the world’s need for energy. Today, the electronic revolution is driving that demand higher with each passing day.

The consequences of today’s energy thirsty society are being felt dramatically worldwide. Blackouts, power surges and ever increasing energy prices with no near-term solutions now plague nations globally.

In addition to this growing demand of energy, the clamor for cleaner forms of energy is rising at an ever increasing rate.

That’s where gas-to-liquid technology steps in.

Utilizing new technology, natural gas can now be used to produce bulk petrochemicals for commercial use. This technology converts natural gas into ultra-clean liquids in what is known in the industry as gas-to-liquids technology.

There are a myriad of benefits associated with gas-to-liquids.

GTL Diesel Power

The Gas-to-liquids processes create ultra-clean, high-powered diesel fuels.

Studies have found that engines perform more efficiently on liquids made from the GTL process.

You see, the diesel fuel created from GTLs has a higher cetane number which permits a superior performance engine design. These fuels also eliminate contaminants that attack emission-reducing equipment.

This ultra-clean diesel has two natural markets.

First, the ultra-clean diesel can be blended with conventional diesel to meet lower sulfur regulations and be used as a cost effective alternative to more costly refining processes.

Or it can also be sold as a specialty product to major cities for use in buses, trucks, and taxis to alleviate air pollution problems.

The clean diesel market is significant today in absolute terms and is expanding rapidly.

It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby

Gas-to-liquids technology is also a cost-effective way to develop otherwise uneconomical natural gas resources.

There are approximately 3,500 trillion cubic feet of known natural gas reserves in the world today that are considered economically stranded because of their remote locations.

Their locations are so remote that construction of a pipeline to connect them to markets is out of the question.

GTL technology can convert this stranded gas into billions of barrels marketable oil.

This is economically beneficial because liquids are cheaper to transport, market, distribute to large markets than natural gas.

Fuels from GTL plants can be transported and sold through conventional infrastructure, such as tankers, pipelines, storage facilities and existing retail distribution systems.

Furthermore no special contractual arrangements are required for their sale with many suitable domestic and foreign markets.

Filthy Clean Regulations

GTL fuels also have huge environmental advantages as well as financial and energy density benefits.

GLT fuels contain non-detectable levels of sulfur, metals and aromatics and can dramatically improve air quality in the major metropolitan areas of the world

Conventional fuels emit unburnt carbon, aromatics, as well as compounds of sulfur into the atmosphere.

These fine particulates have been linked to respiratory problems, while certain complex aromatics have been found to be carcinogenic.

Analysis of GLT fuels have found that the low sulfur content leads to significant reductions in particulate matter that is generated during combustion

As a product, GTL fuels surpass new federal rules in the United States, Europe and Japan. These regulations require that refineries reduce the sulfur content of present-day diesel fuel by 97%, to 15 parts per million, over the next several years.

It is highly unlikely that these dramatic improvements will be achieved without blending the zero sulfur GTL diesel with current crude.

Fuel Cells…Really?

GTL fuels can be used to run diesel engines, jet and natural gas turbines and also fuel cells.

Experts say that the first cars powered by fuel cells should be available to consumers within five years.

GTL fuel, with its high hydrogen content, is ideal for use with fuel cells.

Use of GTL for chemicals and energy production is expected to advance rapidly.

The market for GLTs will grow as increasing pressure on the energy industry from governments, environmental organizations and the public to reduce pollution develops.

The benefits of GTL technology are becoming very clear.

Countries that control the gas will realize great value from the investment, jobs and revenue that will result from the development of these resources.

And just to prove to you that this is just talk, this past week Congress held hearings regarding another conversion process that’s similar, coal-to-liquid.


Luke Burgess

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