Environmental Assessment for Proposed Coal-to-Liquids Plant
The Alaska Center for Energy and Power is leading a multidisciplinary team of University of Alaska researchers to assess the environmental impacts associated with a potential coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant located at Eielson Air Force Base, about 25 miles southeast of Fairbanks.
One of the primary concerns with this new technology is the creation of pollutants and other environmental impacts. ACEP has been asked to assess options for carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation and sequestration options as well as strategies for other environmental impacts associated with a CTL facility, such as water vapor and pollutants.
The two primary CO2 capture options are being investigated including geologic sequestration, such as carbon dioxide storage in depleted oil reservoirs, un-mineable coal seams, mafic rock, etc, and biologic sequestration, such as absorption of CO2 by willow crops or algae.
The manipulation of the feedstock for the plant will be studied, including pre-processing of coal to remove potential pollutants or utilizing a combination of biomass and coal. In addition, a model to simulate the water vapor emissions of the plant has been built to assess possible ice fog issues.
Because this is new technology, it is also critical to assess the economic and financial implications of the project, including site-specific capital and operational costs to manage the CO2.
This study brings researchers from around the UA system to work together to identify the potential issues and create solutions. Partners include the Geophysical Institute, the Institute of Northern Engineering, the College of Engineering and Mines, the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Studies, and the Institute for Social and Economic Research.