Converting Brown Coal to Synthetic Liquid Fuels through Direct Coal Liquefaction Technology: Techno-Economic Evaluation

Y Huang, Angela Rolfe, S Rezvani, José Hidalgo Herrador , Flavio Franco , F Pinto , C Snape, Neil Hewitt

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The main objective of this paper is to carry out a techno-economic evaluation for the direct coal liquefaction (DCL) process based on the two primary conversion options under consideration: (a) catalytic coal liquefaction (CCL) – the use of non-donor solvents with added hydrogen pressure and (b) thermal coal liquefaction (TCL) – the use of solvents with some H-donor properties without hydrogen pressure. For this purpose, steady-state process models for the CCL and TCL are developed. The process modules addresses only the primary DCL process and do not include any upgrading to transport fuels as this will be conducted at refinery facilities. To better understand the process parameters and benefits of each option, detailed simulations have been conducted using the ECLIPSE modelling software. Technical results showed that daily oil yields (light and middle distillates) were around 1208 barrels from the CCL process and 924 barrels from the TCL process when the feed rate of brown coal was 256 t/d (on dry and ash free basis). Based on economic assumptions, the break-even oil price would be €47.10/barrel with the CCL and €57.81/barrel with the TCL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11827-11839
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Research
Issue number14
Early online date19 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research work was carried out as part of the RFSC project DIRPRIMCOAL (Direct Primary Coal Liquefaction via an Innovative Co‐processing Approach with Waste and Petroleum Feedstocks) funded by the European Union (GA709493). The project DIRPRIMCOAL has also been financially supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic which has been providing institutional support for long‐term conceptual development of research organisation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • brown coal
  • coal liquefaction
  • process modelling
  • synthetic fuel
  • techno-economic analysis


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