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.
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.