Sun Metals ropes in LPP Combustion for supply of fuel for Sur steel project — By Conrad Prabhu — MUSCAT — An American firm that has pioneered a novel technique to convert conventional liquid fuels into a synthetic natural gas has signed an agreement to introduce the technology for the first time not only in Oman but also the wider Middle East region. LPP Combustion LLC, a Maryland-based company that developed the breakthrough fuel utilisation technology, inked the deal with Sun Metals LLC, which is setting up a major integrated steel plant at Sur Industrial Estate.
The patented Lean, Premixed, Pre-vaporised (LPP) combustion technology converts conventional liquid fuels, such as kerosene or fuel oil, as well as alternative fuels, such as biodiesel, coal liquids, and ethanol, into a synthetic natural gas. This LPP Gas can then be burned with low emissions in gas turbines (or other combustion devices) in place of natural gas, producing environmentally friendly power and providing substantial fuel flexibility to users.
“Sun Metals has proposed to enter into a strategic alliance with LPP Combustion LLC towards the setting up of a LPP skid for the supply of LPP Gas made from gasoline to meet our energy requirements. This is for the first time in the GCC and the Middle East — North Africa region that the LPP Gas concept, based on high-end sophisticated technology, will be implemented,” said P T Sivarajan, Director — Operations, Sun Metals, in comments soon after the agreement signing.
Sun Metals is preparing to launch work on the Sharqiyah North Governorate’s first major non-hydrocarbon based industrial project. In the first phase, a steel mill with a capacity to produce 600,000 tonnes per annum of billets and blooms is envisaged. Capacity will be ramped up to 1.2 million tonnes in the next phase. According to Sivarajan, LPP Gas will serve as an alternative to natural gas, supply commitments towards which have so far not been forthcoming from the authorities concerned. Using gasoline as feedstock for conversion into LPP Gas, while comparatively expensive, will deliver three times the calorific value of natural gas, as well as result in little, if any, emissions, says Sivarajan.
LPP Gas will initially be used as a fuel in the manufacture of billets and rebars, as well as in the operation of the Lime Calcination plant. Towards this end, LPP Combustion will install a skid-mounted LPP facility on the premises of the Sur steel mill project on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis for a period of five years.
The US firm has also agreed to develop a proposal for another skid-mounted facility that will produce a hydrocarbon feed for the production of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) pellets, which will serve as feedstock for the steel mill in the future. “Upon successful development of this proposal and its suitability to the production process of DRI, Sun Metals will then commit to the use of LPP Gas in the DRI process as well,” the Director - Operations said.
LPP Combustion says the LPP System offers operators substantial, material benefits in the course of normal operations. This technology has been proven to produce the lowest emissions on liquid fuels, with NOx, CO, SOx, and particulates (soot) comparable to levels associated with lean, premixed natural gas fueled operation using Dry, Low Emissions (DLE) technology.
Furthermore, LPP gas has the potential to be used as a substitute for natural gas as a reactant in industrial processes such as the Direct Reduction of Iron (DRI). Another significant benefit of the LPP System is fuel utilization flexibility, since operators using the LPP System will realize significant arbitrage opportunities as natural gas and liquid fuel prices fluctuate.
Importantly, well-known Omani LPG marketing firm, National Gas Company SAOG, has been roped in to ensure the supply of gasoline as feed stock for the LPP production process at an agreed market rate, said Sivarajan. Representing Sun Metals at the agreement signing were P T Sivarajan, Director Operations, and Probir Chakraborty, Chief Financial Officer. Signing on behalf of LPP Combustion LLC was its President & CEO, Dr Leo Eskin CEO. Attending on behalf of National Gas Company were Sanjeev Sinha, DGM Operations and Sushil Sendwal, Area Sales Manager.