Finding alternative sources of energy remains a large, global topic. A quick check of Google News returns almost 8,000 news items in the past month alone. The Emerson Alternative Fuels team, led by director Al Novak, is holding a fourth regional summit on December 16 in Houston, Texas. The Alternative Fuels Summit has as its focus the successful commercialization of alternative fuels and coal gasification technologies.
These summits bring together industry leaders, investors, academia, and other experts to discuss the technologies, feedstock issues, and best practice developed to date. The goal is to find ways to reduce risks, lower the costs of production, and find commercial viability for the many types of alternative fuels. Some examples of these alternative fuels include wood waste to ethanol, animal fats to clean diesel fuel, and coal gasification.
The speakers at the Houston event include:
- Phil Amick, commercialization director, gasification, Conoco-Phillips, on feedstock conversion technologies
- John Derbyshire, senior vice president, KBR, on feedstock conversion technologies
- Matt Whitaker, senior vice president, Synthesis Energy Systems, on process commercialization of a new technology
- James Childress, executive director, Gasification Technologies Council, on the legislative landscape
- James Stanley, manager for alternative fuels for Emerson, on reducing project risk, costs and scheduling – on blueprint to production
I caught up with James Stanley and asked him about some of the key points he planned to discuss. He noted that synfuels from coal, pet coke, and other non-traditional feedstocks would be imperative to the U.S. energy portfolio. Whether a company is retrofitting a brownfield site or building a greenfield site, following processes such as Independent Project Analysis and PEpC are key to success. James also pointed to the trend of increasing process complexity and increasing safety instrumented system (SIS) requirements for gasification projects. Partnering early with a main automation contractor can help reduce risk during project execution, commissioning, and start-up.
The session kicks off with a keynote presentation by Michael Williams, the commissioner for the Railroad Commission of Texas. Beyond its initial charter to regulate railroad charges and tariffs, the commission now regulates all energy in the state of Texas.
If you’re involved in the research, funding, design, engineering, or production related to alternative forms of energy, you may want to visit the alternative fuels website and register for one of the 50 slots.