HydroMax(R), an advanced gasification technology being developed by Diversified Energy Corporation (DEC) and licensed from Alchemix Corporation, was selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) from a pool of 1,318 applicants for research and technology transfer funding.
DEC has teamed with CertainTeed Gypsum, one of North America's leading gypsum wallboard manufacturers for the project with the goal of reducing and stabilizing natural gas costs. DEC will conduct tests, design activities, and commercialization planning focused on utilizing HydroMax(R) to gasify coal for the production of synthetic gas for industrial applications.
The HydroMax(R) technology is based on a molten-metals reactor approach. It offers several critical advantages for industrial customers such as CertainTeed Gypsum, including scaling to the 5-100 MWe output range, a compact size for simple integration, hydrocarbon input flexibility, high reliability, substantive reductions in capital and O&M costs compared to traditional gasifiers, and high efficiencies. Previous technology development includes multiple bench-scale tests along with extensive analyses and modeling.
From the company website:
HydroMax differs substantially from traditional gasification technologies, whose basic approach is to create synthetic gas by partially combusting coal in an oxygen-starved environment. By leveraging proven processes from the metals and mining industries, the HydroMax technique intends to break the status-quo paradigm by delivering gasification systems at up to 50% the cost of traditional systems, with 80+% efficiency, and demonstrating high availability.
Using two distinct steps, the HydroMax process begins with a molten iron/tin (FeSn) bath heated to 1300° C. In Step A, steam is injected into the bath which is then thermo-chemically split resulting in H2 gas (released) and oxidized iron. After the Fe is oxidized, steam injection ceases and a carbon source (coal, petroleum coke, tires, biomass, etc) is injected into the reactor. Carbon has a high affinity to oxygen and reduces the oxidation of Fe to its pure form and produces a CO-rich syngas which is released for use.