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J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2012 Oct;62(10):1182-95.

Air impacts from three alternatives for producing JP-8 jet fuel.

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  • 1Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington, 406 Nedderman Hall, Box 19308, Arlington, TX 76019, USA.

Abstract

To increase U.S. petroleum energy independence, the University of Texas at Arlington (UT Arlington) has developed a direct coal liquefaction process which uses a hydrogenated solvent and a proprietary catalyst to convert lignite coal to crude oil. This sweet crude can be refined to form JP-8 military jet fuel, as well as other end products like gasoline and diesel. This paper presents an analysis of air pollutants resulting from using UT Arlington's liquefaction process to produce crude and then JP-8, compared with 2 alternative processes: conventional crude extraction and refining (CCER), and the Fischer-Tropsch process. For each of the 3 processes, air pollutant emissions through production of JP-8 fuel were considered, including emissions from upstream extraction/ production, transportation, and conversion/refining. Air pollutants from the direct liquefaction process were measured using a LandTEC GEM2000 Plus, Draeger color detector tubes, OhioLumex RA-915 Light Hg Analyzer, and SRI 8610 gas chromatograph with thermal conductivity detector. According to the screening analysis presented here, producing jet fuel from UT Arlington crude results in lower levels of pollutants compared to international conventional crude extraction/refining. Compared to US domestic CCER, the UTA process emits lower levels of CO2-e, NO(x), and Hg, and higher levels of CO and SO2. Emissions from the UT Arlington process for producing JP-8 are estimated to be lower than for the Fischer-Tropsch process for all pollutants, with the exception of CO2-e, which were high for the UT Arlington process due to nitrous oxide emissions from crude refining. When comparing emissions from conventional lignite combustion to produce electricity, versus UT Arlington coal liquefaction to make JP-8 and subsequent JP-8 transport, emissions from the UT Arlington process are estimated to be lower for all air pollutants, per MJ of power delivered to the end user.

IMPLICATIONS:

The United States currently imports two-thirds of its crude oil, leaving its transportation system especially vulnerable to disruptions in international crude supplies. At current use rates, U.S. coal reserves (262 billion short tons, including 23 billion short tons lignite) would last 236 years. Accordingly, the University of Texas at Arlington (UT Arlington) has developed a process that converts lignite to crude oil, at about half the cost of regular crude. According to the screening analysis presented here, producing jet fuel from UT Arlington crude generates lower levels of pollutants compared to international conventional crude extraction/refining (CCER).

PMID:
23155864
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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