“We can take coal out of the ground and put it in a natural-gas pipeline for less than the cost of new natural-gas drilling and exploration activities.”
Traditional coal-to-methane plants like the 1970s-era Dakota Gasification plant in Beulah, ND, and new plants envisioned by General Electric and ConocoPhillips are costly because they require a series of chemical plants operating at a wide range of conditions. In these plants, cryogenic equipment operating just a few degrees above absolute zero feeds pure oxygen to the gasifier, where coal baked to up to 2,500 ºF breaks down into a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen called syngas. From there, the syngas is subsequently catalytically transformed into high-grade methane in a separate reactor.
In contrast, Great Point compresses the process into one single, efficient reactor – lowering the amount of heat required to gasify coal and simultaneously transform the gasified coal into methane.