Scottish gas reforming company Gas2 has secured £5.5 million of funding to further the development of the next generation of gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology including the construction of a pilot reactor plant.
Gas2’s proprietary technology enables the conversion of natural gas to liquid hydrocarbon more economically and cleanly than has previously been possible with conventional large scale GTL technologies.
The company has developed a catalytic ceramic based porous membrane (pMRTM) that is used in its gas reforming (Syngas) reactors and fluid forming (Fischer Tropsch) reactors to create liquid hydrocarbons. This is an alternative technical solution to other developers of small to medium GTL who are using micro-channel technology.
The Gas2 approach is expected to result in considerably lower capital (CAPEX) and operational (OPEX) expenditure and a smaller environmental footprint compared to conventional GTL technologies.
Simmons & Company International Ltd were corporate finance advisors to the fundraising from existing shareholders including Lime Rock Partners LLP, Robert Gordon University and a group of private investors with substantial interests in the oil, gas and hydrocarbons processing industries.
The investment will leverage further funding that will enable the construction of a pilot reactor plant to further test and demonstrate the technology on a 0.4 acre site at the specialist petrochemical research Wilton Centre in Cleveland in the North-east of England, and further laboratory work and computerised modelling in Aberdeen.
The company has recently increased its employee numbers to 16 people in Aberdeen. A further four operative jobs will be created in Wilton as the plant is commissioned. Existing Gas2 staff will work between the pilot plant and the operations in Aberdeen.
Mike Fleming, co founder & managing director of Gas2 said: “We are entering a new and exciting phase with the build of the pilot plant which will validate on a larger scale the commercial viability of the Gas2 process. We have a unique technology and process, and the commercial prize is great for a successful outcome.”
Applications for the Gas2 GTL technology include:
- stranded gas: transforming the economic viability of smaller, more remote gas reserves as well as shale and unconventional reservoirs;
- offshore ‘associated’ gas: offering a ‘gas disposal’ solution for unwanted associated gas thereby preventing flaring and enabling the development of remote oilfields where flaring is prohibited and /or gas reinjection wells are expensive or detrimental to reservoir performance;
- gas conversion to alternative end products including gasoline, diesel, waxes, ammonia, methanol, hydrogen and ethylene for industrial use.
Saad Bagach, managing director of Lime Rock said: “Gas2 has a new technology that has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the gas-to-liquids market. The global demand for new solutions is vast and the ability of Gas2 to secure this level of funding in today’s economic climate is a powerful indicator of confidence in the company and the potential of its technology.”
The pilot plant will be constructed in 2012 with testing underway by the end of the year. The commercialisation phase will commence in 2013. The technology will be commercialised as an integrated GTL system and as standalone Syngas and Fischer Tropsch reactors available on the market.
Note to editors:
Gas2 was formed in 2005 with the award of an exclusive licence from the Robert Gordon University, and with the objective of commercialising applied research into gas reforming porous ceramic membranes. Over the next two years, technology based on the research was created and further investment secured from a syndicate of high net worth individuals many with experience of the oil and gas sector. In 2008, the company secured an undisclosed sum from Lime Rock Partners (a leading international oil and gas private equity house) and additional funds from existing investors.
Gas-to-liquids (GTL) is a refinery process to convert natural (methane-rich) gas into liquid hydrocarbons such as synthetic crude oil. The process is two step. The first step produces synthesis gas (Syngas) from a combination of natural gas and oxygenate. Step two comprises Fischer-Tropsch reactor units which convert the Syngas into GTL fuels. Gas2’s GTL process is a simplified system when compared with other available GTL processes and offers the potential, when commercial, to significantly reduce the cost of converting gas-to-liquids.
Gas2 has developed Syngas (catalytic partial oxidation process) and Fischer Tropsch reactor designs ready for testing. The Gas2 pMR™ porous membrane technology is common to both reactor cores. They work at low pressure and high conversion rates which offer a lower cost solution than alternative GTL solutions
The pilot plant will demonstrate the integrated GTL process based on the Syngas and Fischer Tropsch reactors operating in combination.