Seventy-two change coal to eat dry squeezed China's coal chemical industry is approaching

Through the development of carbon-synthetic alternatives to oil products and chemical technologies, a brand-new coal chemical route out of oil dependency has been developed. It is of great strategic significance to use the relatively abundant coal reserves in China's fossil resources to meet increasing energy demand.

The productivity of direct combustion of coal is low, pollution is serious, and the economic losses caused by sulfur dioxide pollution caused by coal combustion every year are staggering; while the clean and efficient modern coal chemical technology is greatly beneficial to environmental protection and can give full play to the coal economy. value.

On the 19th of this month, New York's benchmark crude oil futures prices hit a new high and closed at $81.93 a barrel. Oil is getting more and more expensive, and the demand for oil and chemical products in economic development is increasing day by day. In Shanghai, at the China International Chemical Forum held recently, the deputy chief engineer of China Shenhua Coal Oil Co., Ltd. disclosed that the Shenhua Group's Inner Mongolia Baotou MTO-to-olefin (MTO) coal chemical project has started construction, with an annual output of 600,000 tons. Ningxia MTP coal chemical project has also started, with an annual production capacity of 52 tons. Shenhua Group is conducting joint research with two other companies to build three coal indirect liquefaction plants at two different locations in western China.

It is not only the Shenhua family that uses coal as an alternative energy source to develop coal-based chemical industry. It has become the focus of attention of many speakers on the forum. In China, in the face of soaring crude oil prices and the fact that China’s energy is “less coal and less oil”, chemical companies have invariably turned their attention to coal and re-examined this “black gold” that was too extensively developed and utilized in the past. The era of exploitation and in-depth use is approaching.

The thirst for oil

For a long time, oil has been the most dependent energy source in people's lives. The ever-changing petrochemical industry is transforming the needs of food, clothing, housing, and transportation.

In recent years, international oil prices have soared, from more than ten dollars per barrel in 1998 to more than 80 dollars per barrel today. The rising prices are closely related to the limited oil reserves and the continuous increase in human demand. The world's remaining proven reserves of oil is about 142.1 billion tons, which is estimated to be about 40 years in accordance with the world's annual oil consumption of 3.504 billion tons. Humans have to turn to find alternatives to oil, such as coal, natural gas, oil sands, and biomass.

At the same time, China’s crude oil imports have continued to grow, and the oil supply situation is pressing. Since 1993, China has become a net oil importer. In 2006, China consumed 347 million tons of oil and net imports of 139 million tons of crude oil. China has become the world’s second largest oil consumer and the third largest oil importer. According to forecast, the annual growth rate of China's oil demand by 2030 is about 3%. The demand for oil in 2010 will reach 350 million tons, and the demand in 2020 will be 500 million tons. In 2030, the amount of oil imported will reach about 500 million tons. China's oil self-sufficiency rate is very low. At present, China imports more than 120 million tons of crude oil each year, and its foreign dependence exceeds 40%. In the global annual increase, about 40% is used to satisfy China. This has affected all aspects such as industry, agriculture, transportation, and people's lives, and the overall operating cost of the economy has increased.

The high degree of dependence on foreign oil cannot but say that there is a danger. It is estimated that by 2020, China's oil dependence on foreign countries may reach 60% to 62%, which exceeds the current US level of 59.7%. The sources of imports are highly concentrated in the Middle East and Africa. We do not have much control over exploration rights and investment rights in oil production areas. Most of the oil transportation is by sea, of which 90% are non-Chinese oil tankers, while 90% of Japan's imported oil is carried by Japanese oil tankers. There are uncertain risks in this.

Black gold sleeps

When the shortage of oil is awkward, another door is quietly starting. Chemical experts say we still have coal. In general, organic primary products produced from petroleum feedstocks can be prepared from coal using common techniques.

China's coal reserves far exceed that of petroleum, with total coal resources of 5,956,563 million tons, resource reserves of 107.7 billion tons, resource verification rate of 18%, and economically exploitable remaining recoverable reserves of 114.5 billion tons. Among the proved fossil energy reserves, coal accounted for 94.3%, while oil and natural gas accounted for only 5.7%. "Lack of oil, less gas, rich coal" is a basic national condition. As the most important basic energy in China, coal accounts for 67.7% of China's energy consumption.

However, the former use of coal was “extensive” and dominated by low-tech and low-value-added products, mostly concentrated on initial uses such as coal-fired power generation. Coal, the value of this "black gold" has not really been developed and has been "sleeping." Moreover, the large amount of dust and sulfur dioxide and other pollutants emitted by this extensive consumption model have made the environmental pressure in China more and more serious. The annual economic losses caused by sulfur dioxide pollution from coal combustion are staggering.

In fact, coal conversion can increase the value of coal and make it easy to transport. 150 million tons of coal can be converted into 28 million tons of product oil, plus 2.05 million tons of polyolefin. Converted to equivalent calorific value, the price ratio in Western China exceeds 251, and coal liquefaction products are sulfur-free clean fuels.

Right now, multinational companies such as Shell of the Netherlands, Sasol of South Africa, General Electric of the United States, ABB of Sweden, Siemens of Germany, etc. have been deeply involved in China's coal chemical market.

Seventy-two changes

Extensive development is unsustainable and the sleeping coal is being awakened. Experts say that coal can change in 72.

Burning is not the only way out of coal. Coal chemical industry uses coal as raw material, and converts coal into gas, liquid, solid fuel and chemicals through chemical processing to produce a variety of chemical products, including coal chemical processing, secondary chemical processing and deep chemical processing. Coking, gasification, and liquefaction are all within the scope of coal chemical industry.

In the production technology of coal chemical industry, coking is the earliest application process. Coal is directly liquefied by high-pressure hydrogenation to produce man-made petroleum and chemical products. Coal gasification can produce a variety of fuel gas, which is clean energy. Syngas produced from coal gasification is a raw material for various products such as synthetic liquid fuels. The new-generation coal chemical technology refers to coal clean utilization technology that uses coal gasification as a leader and carbon-chemical technology as a basis to synthesize and produce various chemical products and fuel oils. The cogeneration with electric heating can achieve the highest energy efficiency of coal. The goal of the maximum conversion of effective components, the lowest investment operating costs, and the lowest total pollutant emissions.

At present, there are many technologies for coal gasification. Through gasification, coal can produce synthetic gases, various valuable semi-finished products, chemical products and fuels. After coal gasification, synthesis gas of carbon monoxide and hydrogen is produced. Hydrogen can be converted into ammonia, can be used as a fertilizer, and can also be used as a fuel cell; methanol can be made into methyl tert-butyl ether, formaldehyde, acetic acid, dimethyl ether, methylal, etc.; synthesis gas can be made after Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Into solvents, gasoline, diesel, lubricants and waxes.

A series of wonderful changes can be used to "eat dry squeezed" coal resources.

Unbalanced Development

However, a new worry is also emerging: Due to the constraints of technological maturity, China's coal chemical projects have experienced an imbalance in development.

For example, the current hot spot of coal chemical development is "methanol heat." The capacity of the methanol project under construction has exceeded 15 million tons per year. It is expected that by 2010, the methanol production capacity in China will reach 20 million to 25 million tons per year. It is difficult to avoid overcapacity of methanol in the future. It is worth noting that a large number of methanol plants under construction or proposed are all of small scale. The majority of the newly-built methanol plants have an annual output of 100,000 tons to 200,000 tons, and methanol is a chemical plant with significant economies of scale and relies on low The price of coal, large-scale, advanced technology, and low investment only have international competitiveness under the conditions of tight integration of the four. Coal-based methanol does not have a large enough scale and advanced technology and is not internationally competitive.

The world's methanol market is oversupply. In recent years, several sets of ultra-large methanol plants using cheap natural gas as raw materials have been put into operation in the world, and prices will further decline. Their target market is also the Chinese market, when some domestic methanol companies will be severely impacted.

Chemical experts pointed out that the development of modern coal chemical industry requires technological development first, the formation of new technologies with independent intellectual property rights. In a considerable period of time in the future, there will still be a considerable gap between China's chemical science and technology level and Western developed countries, and a large number of advanced technologies will still need to be introduced from abroad. However, it is even more important to strengthen independent innovation capabilities and form new technologies with independent intellectual property rights.

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