Lake Charles Methanol will demonstrate on an industral scale how to use fossil fuel resources in an environmentally-friendly way
The technology employed by LCM represents the next generation of clean energy. Air emissions of criteria pollutants are reduced by 99% compared to conventional uses of similar fuels. No appreciable solid or liquid wastes are produced. Close to 90% of the CO2 that would otherwise be emitted is utilized to produce oil and is permanently sequestered underground. Impurities in the petroleum coke such as sulfur, rather than becoming pollutants, are actually recycled by LCM into valuable chemicals.
LCM will have substantially lower nitrous oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions than traditional solid fuel plants (about 99% lower), achieving emissions performance comparable with advanced natural gas facilities.
LCM will be the largest carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) facility in the world. As part of its gas cleanup processes, the project will separate and capture about 90% of its CO2 in a concentrated stream. That stream of CO2 will be compressed and put into a short connector pipeline that will take it to hundreds of miles of existing pipeline infrastructure along the Gulf Coast that transports CO2 to oil fields that use CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (“EOR”).
The LCM CO2 will support an additional 4.5 million barrels per year of domestic oil production from EOR and when used in this manner, the CO2 remains secure in the oil formation rather than being released to the atmosphere. Owing to this secure storage, the International Energy Agency has determined that net CO2 emissions from oil production with EOR are reduced by 63%, compared to conventional oil production. Moreover, the capture and sale of CO2 for use in EOR is economically beneficial for the project. See Domestic Oil for more about EOR.
The Project expects to produce no solid waste (it plans to sell its non-hazardous slag for use as road fill) and employs zero liquid discharge technology for all process water. Final Title V and PSD air permits, LPDES water permit, and 404 permit for the site have been received.
In additional to commercializing clean processing of solid fuels with CCS, LCM helps to solve the current problem of petroleum coke. Petcoke is created in massive quantities by the everyday refining of oil to make gasoline and other petroleum products. Today, about 80 percent of Gulf Coast petcoke is exported – sometimes just across the border – and often burned without controls. The LCM plant will protect the environment by using advanced technology to refine the petcoke (rather than directly burning it or letting it pile up where it is not welcome) in order to extract energy and chemicals.
This project is a great example of how the U.S. can manufacture valuable products from its vast fossil fuel resources, using U.S. developed advanced technology, all while being environmentally responsible.