29 January 2010
South African state oil and gas company PetroSA has announced a R36-million sponsorship to establish a synthetic fuels research facility at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town.
The company said on Wednesday that the funding would provide for the construction of a laboratory to house a pilot plant-size reactor for the study of the conversion of olefins to distillate (COD), which it said has proven to be an essential part of the intricate gas-to-liquids process.
PetroSA’s Jorn Falbe said the sponsorship would enable the company to produce unique specialty products while maintaining its leadership in COD technology.
PetroSA will relocate a significant part of its COD research activities from the present site at its Mossel Bay refinery to the university for the duration of the five-year research programme.
South Africa and PetroSA are pioneers and world leaders in the development of gas-to-liquids technologies. PetroSA owns and operates one of the world’s largest gas-to-liquids plants in Mossel Bay, and the largest COD plant in the world.
“COD technology is recognized throughout the world for producing some of the cleanest fuels, through an environmentally friendly process,” the company said.
The partnership will allow for research to be carried out with a focus on increasing the efficiency of the conversion of olefins to diesel fuel and improving the quality of diesel.
“Olefins represent a vital energy resource for South Africa and for the African continent as a whole, thus the identification and monetization of suitable alternative olefinic COD feedstock by PetroSA is a major national interest,” Falbe said.