plant could be under construction in 2003
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
MOUNT CARMEL TOWNSHIP — A facility that would convert coal waste to
diesel fuel and potentially lessen America’s dependency on foreign oil
could be under construction as early as next year.
Rich Jr., president of Waste Management and Processors Inc. and Reading
Anthracite Company, updated the project Tuesday as guest speaker at the
monthly luncheon of the Brush Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce at
Village Towne Restuarant in Mount Carmel Township.
everything goes well and the legislation passes, we could be starting
construction on the plant in the fourth quarter of 2003 with operation
coming three years later,” Rich told chamber members. “We are not
looking for new coal, but with the tremendous amount of waste in the area,
we may keep the plant running for a long time.”
private companies and state and federal agencies, including Texaco, state
legislatures, the U.S. Department of Energy and a South Africa firm, are
working together to make the concept a reality.
explained the coal gasification process which starts with taking the waste,
much like that seen in the culm banks throughout the area, crushing it and
adding water, making a slurry.
there, the slurry is pumped into a gasifier which adds oxygen and heats the
product to over 2,500 degrees, to create a raw synthetic gas that will move
on in the process, and a fine byproduct that can be used much like sand in
concrete, mortar or plaster,” Rich said.
cleaning the synthetic gas of particles and removing sulfur that could be
sold to pharmaceutical companies, the “syngas” comes into a slurry
phase vessel, using the process developed in South Africa. When certain
catalysts are added, a parafin substance is created.
we break that wax-like substance apart, we then have a high quality diesel
fuel that has lower aromatics, lower sulfur content and a higher ignition
value,” Rich said. “This is a cleaner burning fuel that may help the
environment as much as getting rid of the coal waste does and we are no
longer dependent on foreign imports.”
According to Rich, not only is the fuel being tested for truck
transportation, but the U.S. Department of Defense is looking at the fuel
for its jets and helicopters. The 40-acre, $600 million plant is expected
to bring Gilberton into prominence and bring many jobs to the area. The
gasification plant will use 3,400 tons of coal waste a day to create 5,000
barrels of diesel fuel per day. When operational, the plant will bring 150
new jobs to the area with in-house training in the process.
150 jobs is just the tip of the iceberg,” Rich told the
chamber members. “We are looking to have 1,000 construction jobs added
when the plant is under construction and there will be a ripple effect with
truck drivers, manufacturers and other industries. Once construction
starts, the economic boom for the area will begin and the jobs will be
coming to Pennsylvania.”