yro Carbon Energy owns the technology and know-how on the Carbonaceous Hydrocarbon Recovery (CHR) technology that enables conversion of volatile-rich carbonaceous material (including coal, biomass, peat, waste tyres (rubber), plastic and used grease, amongst others) to high value energy products (pyrolysis oil & tars, gas and char). The technology essentially involves mild temperature (400-600° C) pyrolysis of carbonaceous feedstock to produce pyrolysis oil & tars, gas and char. This first stage pyrolysis results in superior quality oil products which contain little or no residue material. The pyrolysis oil can be upgraded to a high value synthetic fuels in downstream processes.
Our process is depicted by the process flow diagram shown below. The outputs of the pyrolysis reactor are mainly pyrolytic gases, phenolic water and char. The pyrolytic gas condenses into light oil and heavy oil (tars). The light oil can be used directly to produce heat or as direct refinery feed or crude oil blend. The heavy oil is suitable feedstock for power generation (heavy fuel oil – HFO). The non-condensable gas is combusted to provide heat energy to the process.
The char generated from this process is essentially smokeless fuel and depending on the coal type it normally has a higher CV than the original feedstock. The increase in CV is especially significant for low rank coals, (lignite to sub-bituminous) which have high volatile matter, high moisture and a low CV. The char derived from these coals typically have higher CV because the moisture is removed during pyrolysis.
PCE has laboratory and pilot scale test facility based in Botswana that is used for preliminary feedstock testing. This facility can test raw material samples of size ranging from 1kg to 150kg to obtain optimal operating parameters for large-scale operation tailored to a specific feedstock. Samples of potential raw materials are tested in our laboratory and pilot facility to determine characteristics and yield of the CHR products and to optimise the process parameters for the commercialization phase. The results are used to charecterized feedstock material and determine viability of the CHR process for different carbonaceous materials. Samples of pyrolytic oil, phenolic water, char and gas are sent to outside laboratories for analysis to determine constituents and other parameters as relevant. Testing of all liquid and gases will in future be conducted in-house following installation of BITRI’s Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS) analytical instrument.
The CHR semi-commercial scale demonstration plant is located in Delmas, South Africa. The plant is optimised for coal pyrolysis and has a throughput capacity of 40 tonnes of coal per day which, depending on the coal properties, is capable of producing 50 barrels per day of syn-crude equivalent oil. This is typically a quarter scale of one full scale production unit, which in turn can be arrayed to achieve any total throughput. This plant is designed and configured to run as a continuous operation.