Posted on January 19, 2013

As one of the world’s largest producers of synthetic fuels, Sasol showcased developments in its gas-to-liquids (GTL) process and the high-performance of GTL diesel and jet fuel at the inaugural World GTL Congress in Doha, Qatar. Increased energy demand globally, combined with new energy technologies like GTL, enable energy security, while providing sustainable solutions to address air quality challenges.

Marjo Louw receiving award at WGTL

“Our GTL value proposition benefits from higher gas volumes at a discount to an equivalent oil price. Combined with our proprietary technologies, favorable market conditions and economies of scale, we are well placed to give versatility to natural gas,” said Marjo Louw, Country President, Sasol Qatar.

Hosted by Qatar Petroleum under the patronage of His Excellency Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy & Industry, Qatar, brought together key players in the global GTL industry in a bid to further develop international co-operation to enhance the commercialisation of stranded gas through GTL technology.

Marjo Louw Sasol Qatar President

Air quality improvements can be gained through increasing use of GTL diesel in vehicles and GTL kerosene in jet aircraft, which was established through many research projects undertaken by Sasol. The results of their search work on GTL diesel and jet fuel have been published in over 100 research papers. “Our research has shown the favorable vehicle exhaust emission characteristics of GTL diesel and that GTL diesel can enable very cost-efficient compliance by automotive manufacturers with future exhaust emission specifications,” said Paul Morgan, General Manager for Fuels Technology at Sasol.

“After many years of research in the chemistry laboratory, tests on  engines in the laboratory and on vehicles on the road, covering nearly one million kilometres under harsh conditions, we have proved that GTL diesel is not only fit for purpose,but is a high quality fuel meeting all known future fuel specifications,” said Morgan.

Marjo Louw

Sasol is a world leader in the development and approval of synthetic jet fuel with a number of world firsts in the industry. Traditionally jet fuel was only made from crude oil sources. Sasol was the first to gain international approval for its semi synthetic jet fuel in 1999 and, since then, airplanes leaving Tambo International Airport have flown on a blend of up to 50% synthetic jet fuel. In 2008, Sasol obtained international approval for the world’s first fully synthetic jet fuel from a source other than crude oil, still the only alternative fuel approved for commercial aviation use in a neat form. Sasol also pioneered the process to have blends of GTL jet fuel with crude oil derived jet fuel approved.

The company has undertaken extensive research and development in GTL technology. The result has seen a number of breakthroughs in Sasol’s proprietary GTL technology. Further outlining Sasol’s leadership position in the advancement of GTL technologies, Sasol Technology Manager Andre Steynberg kicked off the final day of the World GTL Congress with his presentation “Recent advances in Sasol’s GTL Technology.”

Sasol stand at WGTL

Steynberg went on to explain that Sasol’s next generation GTL plant design was reaching the ‘ready for commercialization’ stage. The new developments in Sasol’s GTL process may result in up to 30% lower carbon emissions, while hydrocarbon synthesis technology could see capacity of single GTL trains increase by up to 50%.

“The potential for GTL growth is substantial,” concluded Louw. “Sasol was the first company to bring large scale commercial GTL diesel to the market. Today, via our joint venture partnership with Qatar Petroleum in the flagship ORYX GTL plant, we continue to be pioneers in helping nations achieve energy independence and energy security.”

Sasol Synfuels - Secunda, South Africa