Dow and Hunton explore gasification

The Dow Chemical Company and Hunton Energy are exploring the possibility of constructing a gasification facility in Freeport, Texas.

According to a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed recently by the companies, Hunton would own, build and operate a petroleum coke gasification plant at Dow’s Oyster Creek property. Once the gasification plant is completed, Dow would purchase synthetic natural gas and steam from Hunton for its Texas operations manufacturing site also located in Freeport.

‘This agreement with Hunton Energy is an example of how Dow is pursuing diverse sources of energy as part of our overall strategy to mitigate rising feedstock and energy costs,” said Rich Wells, vice president of Energy. ‘As an added benefit, the process used to produce the steam consumed by Dow will capture CO2 emissions to be sold for enhanced oil recovery use. By switching from our site-produced steam to this new technology offered by Hunton, we will be reducing Dow’s CO2 emissions in Freeport.’

According to Dow, the Hunton gasification facility would manufacture synthetic gas (syngas) by reacting pure oxygen with petroleum coke and biomass.

The syngas would be converted into synthetic natural gas (methane) and three byproducts including liquid sulphur, high purity CO2 and slag. Each byproduct will be captured and sold. The sulphur will be sold to fertilizer manufacturers and the slag will be sold as concrete aggregate and other construction products. The CO2 will be captured and compressed to be sold for enhanced oil recovery use, a process that uses CO2 to increase oil production from older fields.

Petroleum coke (pet coke) is a solid form of carbon that is a byproduct from oil refinery processes. Through a gasification process, Hunton will transform pet coke from a solid to a gas. Synthetic natural gas can be used by Dow to produce electricity and steam which are necessary for the manufacturing of Dow’s products at its Freeport facility.