DME fuel production platform - CleanCarbon Energy

(Craig Pichach) #1

Looking to gauge interest in using a spur as a gasifier to DME production platform as an economically independent seastead/state; I am a 36 year old holding degrees in Chemical Engineering (UND), Mechanical Engineering (UofC) and Management (Athabasca). To pay the bills I work on improving economic and environmental performance in the Canadian oil sands. After hours I work with the Western Research Institute on the CAT well (hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide to biomass) and the downhole flexfuel gasifier (wet biomass to syngas) both of which are patented under the banner CleanCarbon Energy.

I propose using a spur with production strings to 3000m depth (international waters) and an indirect oxyfired heater for cheap wet biomass gasification with supercritical water. The platform could import municipal waste, conventional biomass or grow/harvest standard ulva seaweed. Syngas would cleaned and converted first to methanol and then DME.

The DME would be a low cost carbon neutral diesel fuel replacement for ships that could fuel at the platform, waste heat can be used for power. Profits would be used to pay for operation of the platform and to import products. Syngas could also be used for plastics and fertilizer production in future expansions.

I am new to sea steading if but would like to propose this in detail to any interested parties.

Craig Pichach, P.Eng

(Wilfried Ellmer) #2

Welcome Craig, interresting topic !

Many existing shore cities will not have the space nor the necessary city codes and politics to make such a facility on city terrain. So a floating setup is pretty much the only feasible setup left. Think about a piece like Prelude, Nkossa, or the Monaco Breakwater, all those installations have been built thousands of miles away from their mooring point and area of operation. Some of those examples are fully functional floating industrial plants, examples are | Adriatic LNG | Troll A | floating brewery suggested by SaBMiller | in fact floating industrial plants are no longer a “futuristic vision” - they are a emerging dayliy reality at this very moment.

(Craig Pichach) #3

The critical reason why offshore is beneifial is that 3000m below you have 30000kpa of hydrostatic pressure; free of charge. We plan on drilling wells on land to do similar but are limited in flow by Well diameter (drilling rigs can limit us to 12-24in at that depth), require thermal cement, etc. Offshore all those headaches go away (so long as depth is 3km). Also I assume the first platform can go on a well travelled shipping route with lots of available biomass.

Also not going to lie, I like the idea of the third party services (food, imports, labor, shops, etc) being run by citizens of a libertarian republic.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #4

The unlimited and free availability of hot water and high pressure for all kind of industrial processes was also mentioned on this thread - there is a solid economic base for a industry cluster seastead.

(.) #5

Welcome Craig.
Good topics. Would you please mention what DME abbreviation stands for.

Yes, the pressure is there for free. According NOAA the average dept of the
Pacific Ocean is 2.5 miles or 4000 meters. There are geothermal vents.
So, heat and pressure are there for free, or for those who can get close to it.


DiMethyl Ether. (Must be >20 char.)

(Craig Pichach) #7

DME is dimethyl ether which can serve as a maritime fuel. Alternatively could use fisher tropsch to make bunker C. DME is a good start though as relatively easy to make from syngas. A syngas to methanol and methanol to DME skid could easily fit a spar platform. I have various research reports showing DME as a preferred green maritime replacement for Bunker C.

Using geothermal energy I see as rather difficult (ironically in wells we plan on using CAT bacteria similar to those on geothermal vents to consume CO2).

What is nice about an offshore platform is you would submerge your production tubing to the indirect heater below. With a relatively small pump you’d pump your wet biomass water slurry down the feed string. “Downhole” at 3000m TVD (total verticle depth) recycled hydrogen and oxygen at low pressure would be combusted to heat the slurry to 300C. Syngas (hydrogen and CO) would be produced with water vapour up a concentric string. The outer pipe would be refractory lined. You’d basically have a renewable offshore Well.

This whole assembly would also help keep the platform quite stable.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #8

The first seasteads (permanent dwellings at sea) instead of being dedicated centers of political experimentation could well be “floating chemical plant clusters” taking advantage of the resources of the mid ocean rigde.

Context | kelp hydrolysis | vent base alpha | DME fuel production platform |

They certainly will carter in one form or another to the big five of ocean colonization.

In another thread the hypothesis was coined that the existing LNG infrastructure (ships, pipelines, loading stations) will be the future energy integration key piece.

From what Craige posted here it becomes clear that DME might also play a mayor role.

In a way all mayor cities are already fitted out to deliver their organic waste to the the shoreline over tubing. It would just be a matter to not pump it into the sea but instead on a tanker that takes it out to the DME plant for processing and transformation into the backbone of the comming fuel and chemical industry.

The same material comes then shipped back recicled as LNG and DME to be offloaded on Adriatic LNG style load terminals, fed into existing piplelines to serve city and land industry needs again. The whole process being carbon neutral in the end.

This is certainly a field investors can make money in a massive industry the planet needs for survival.

context : | vent base alpha | ocean sphere |

(.) #9

Sounds good Craig.
What do you mean by CAT bacteria?
Toxoplasma gondii?


More than 500m True Vertical Depth (TVD) below the surface CO2 is converted to biomass powered by the oxidation of waste gases by Chemolithoautotrophic (CAT) bacteria in depleted oil and gas or saline formations. The energy source for the CAT bacteria is the oxidation of sulfides to sulfates. Geothermal wells are used to recycle sulfates back to sulfides. Biomass is continuously produced to surface. These geo-bioreactors have minimal surface footprint as downhole reactions do not require sunlight. Traditional oil and gas drilling and completions technology is employed for low capital and operating costs and boost project economics.

(.) #11

OK, thank’s . Very cool.

(Craig Pichach) #12

We have the international patent on using Chemolithoautotrophic (CAT) bacteria for biomass fixation from hydrogen sulfide, ironically just like what happens as a geothermal vent. Unfortunately this does not help seasteading much as that is probably best done in depleted oil and gas reservoirs (hydrogen sulfide is a toxic gas). If we make some millions on this, we are totally going to self fund a seastead LOL

That being said CO2 fixation on a seastead with a Downhole Flexfuel Gasifier (DFG) is easily done, just grow lots of ulva and slurrize as a feedstock. Because you can gasify on the cheap, just grow a lot of seaweed. The urea fertilizer could even be produced from the syngas.

This is way easier than say algae.

(Craig Pichach) #13

Here is a potential seaspur that apparently will be decommissioned in the coming years.

Most of the drilling equipment is not required, the majority of diesel gensets we would replace with syngas fired units for power. The DME equipment would fit in, you would probably need a staff of 20-30 for the plant, leaving some space for crew. You could also replace a lot of the rig equipment with crew quarters/ATCO trailers.

Primary business would be biomass gasification and DME production as a maritime fuel.


Just a jackup rig. Need all kinds of permissions for those. Can’t just put spuds down anywhere you want. Not going to be very far offshore, due to the relatively shallow waters necessary. Plenty of jackup rigs available on the cheap (relatively speaking). Most would need a complete overhaul and recert., along with a refit to intended purpose.

(Larry G) #15

That one has a max depth of 300 ft, as Jeff points out, it’s a jack-up rig. How would that work with your 3000m concept?

I’m all for re-purposing things which have had the majority of their amortization paid for.

Would you consider writing some articles for the Seasteading Wiki to outline the concepts you’re talking about and give the wider community a baseline intro to the tech? You can sign up there for an account using the same name and even password if you want- it’s a separate user database, but I hope we can merge it someday.

(Craig Pichach) #16

Has to be a spur or floating rig. Note I don’t need the rig to actually be able to drill into formations to 3000m, I just need to be able to have a tubing string submerged to a depth of 3000m. Hope is to get a decommissioned spur rig no one wants to drill into rock with anymore but still capable of lowering production tubing strings off of. I would be happy to write articles on the topic. I will sign up for the wiki.

Sorry was told a spur rig would be available - they must have sent wrong link (rig called spur??). Maybe it is this spur rig listed as cold stacked.

(Larry G) #17

How much does something like that cost?

Bio-fuel production is one industry that I personally believe is very amenable to Co-Op organization. It’s difficult to get investors for other types of business formation, in the USA it can actually be illegal to solicit investment from people who are not credentialed “angel investors”, and most of us would need a very experienced (expensive) lawyer to navigate that process.

But there are already many bio-fuel Co-Ops in North America to use as models for financing.

(.) #18

This co-op thing sounds interesting. I think I am interested about starting one.
Well, not right now.