Friday, December 26, 2008
Sasol Should Partner With Exxon at LaBarge, Wyoming
Sasol is the only facility in the world that is converting coal into diesel fuel. The Center is the only environmental group in the world promoting the conversion of carbon dioxide into diesel fuel and gasoline [see EDR]. ExxonMobil is separating and pumping carbon dioxide from its La Barge, Wyoming facility to several oil fields around the state where it is injected into the ground to help with oil recovery. The Center wants Sasol and ExxonMobil to get together in Wyoming to convert the separated carbon dioxide into diesel fuel and gasoline. Absent our EDR, a private sector development project could demonstrate the viability of the process in America. Such a demonstration of the Fischer-Tropsch method for converting CO2 into gasoline would show investors and the Department of Defense the viability of the process.
Technology at ExxonMobil's La Barge, Wyoming facility strips carbon dioxide from natural gas wells then the greenhouse gas is shipped through dedicated a pipeline. Exxon currently captures about four million tons a year of carbon dioxide and plans to capture six million tons a year by 2010. The Center believes converting the CO2 to fuel is another good use for the gas. A good portion of the CO2 probably seeps back to the surface and escapes to the atmosphere from these underground sites. At LaBarge, 65% of ghe gaseous mixture from the wells is carbon dioxide and natural gas is only 22%. About half of the CO2 that ExxonMobil pumps out of the ground at LaBarge is captured and then sold. The other half is vented into the atmosphere. Sasol, in partnership with ExxonMobil, could turn that 2 million tons a year of CO2 into diesel fuel. (The Wall Street Journal, 12/26/08)