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Portable Refinery

Refineries are expensive.  Refineries require significant infrastructure to deliver products for processing.  Refineries are not necessarily close to the well.

Think about a portable refinery.  A refinery that can convert natural gas to liquid naphtha and hydrogen...and a refinery small enough to be transported by common carrier.  A refinery that is located at the site of the natural gas.

Such a portable refinery allows the United States and other countries to access natural gas (and methane) in locations that are uneconomical to access today.  Where are these "stranded fields" of natural gas?  Everywhere.  In almost every state in the US, there are some "stranded fields" of natural gas.

As drilling technology improves, we are likely to find even more fields of natural gas.  But, without a "portable refinery" many of these fields of lower-emission energy will go untapped.

Does a "portable refinery" make all the same products as a regular refinery?  No.  But a portable hand saw cannot complete all the same functions as a large table saw.  You get the idea.

The "portable refinery" provides a lower-cost way of tapping energy sources in the US.  As we describe elsewhere on the website, the emissions from liquifying the natural gas are lower than burning natural gas directly especially from natural gas that is released or leaks.  We think a portable refinery is a welcome addition to our energy security.

Flared Gas

Flared gas is energy being wasted.  Flared gas represents another undeveloped source of energy. The World Bank Gas Flared Combo Chtestimates that just under 5tcf (trillion cubic feet) of natural gas was flared worldwide in 2010, equivalent to roughly 500 million bbl of liquid fuels annually.

Flared gas is natural gas expelled from stacks at oil wells or industrial facilities and then ignited.  The gas is effectively wasted. One example is gas produced and flared in North Dakota.  According to the Energy Information Agency, about 35% of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is flared.  The reason the gas is wasted is no infrastructure exists for transmission.  Onnce flared the gas can no longer produce energy, only greenhouse gas (GHG) emmissions.

Note the brightness insde the box in the sattalite photograph.  What would normally be a dark spot in North Dakota looks as if there is a metropolitan area.

Landfills represent another source of flared and/or stranded gas and an opportunity to reduce emissions and increase economic benefit.  How much  gas at landfills is flared or released?  In a series of ongoing, informal conversations with directors of a major waste management company, it was revealed that up to 38% of methane produced from their landfills in U.S. is flared.

For the gas producer, flaring gas is the only economic solution.  What seems like waste is cheaper because of the high cost of equipment to convert the gas to liquids using the the Fischer-Tropsch process.  The Havelide process would allow more flared gas to be liquefied, thereby reducing GHG (green house gas) emissions from flaring and release.  A primary target for the Havelide system is methane emitted from landfills worldwide.  The system can be scaled for larger landfills and smaller landfills. 

Stranded Gas?

Stranded gas” is defined as (i) large natural gas deposits in remote or logistically challenging areas that are rendered inaccessible (ii) specific locations without access to pipelines for transmission – many landfills, e.g. 

The cost of developing deposits of and infrastructure for delivering stranded gas is often very high, resulting in a weak or negative economic benefit.  A good example is in Alaska.  In the Prudhoe Bay oil field, there is a large deposit of stranded natural gas.  This reserve is not being tapped and remains commercially uneconomic because the FT system is costly and inefficient. 

Natural Gas Reserves: US

Having a more cost-effective method to convert gas to liquid – a portable refinery – would result in a several-fold increase in accessible known reserves of natural gas in the US.  We estimate the long-term potential is expanding accessible reserves by 8-10 times over currently known reserves.