D. Yakobson of Rentech Inc. summarized new project opportunities for Rentech’s Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) technology at the Gas-To-Liquids Processing 1999 Conference held in San Antonio, Texas, in May.

Rentech was founded in 1981 to commercialize the F-T process. Since then, the company has designed, fabricated and operated five pilot plants.

Experience gained from these pilot plants led to the design, fabrication, installation and operation of a commercial-scale slurry reactor, and in 1993, Rentech operated an integrated full-scale Gas-To-Liquids (GTL) plant—Pueblo, Colorado, "Synhytech" plant. In October 1998 Rentech licensed its F-T technology to Texaco. In May of this year Rentech announced a strategic alliance with Republic Finance to own and operate GTL plants.

Rentech’s strategy for early F-T commercialization includes:

According to Yakobson, this is the current state of methanol markets:

Yakobson points out that the first step in methanol manufacture, synthesis gas manufacture, is the same first step to making F-T products. In addition, the synthesis gas (syngas) step cost represents some 60 percent of the overall capital costs of making F-T products. Thus, says Yakobson, the solution to the excess of methanol plants is to retrofit methanol plants with Rentech’s F-T capabilities.

Yakobson’s economic analysis is summarized in Figure 1.

figure1Figure 1

In addition to continuing technology licensing, Rentech will continue to develop strategic alliances and relationships to exploit their technology and reduce capital and operating costs.

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