The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved a grant request of $3.5 million to continue research on the Allam Cycle at its meeting on May 23 in Bismarck, N.D.
The decision followed a unanimous May 19 recommendation by the Lignite Research Council to fund the grant request, noted Basin Electric Power Cooperative in a May 24 statement. The request was made by: the Energy & Environmental Research Center; Basin Electric; 8 Rivers Capital; and ALLETE Inc., along with ALLETE subsidiaries BNI Coal and Minnesota Power. Basin Electric and ALLETE have each committed to contributing matching funds and in-kind services supporting the work.
The Industrial Commission had approved $1.48 million in funding for the project in 2015.
The vision for the Allam Cycle consists of gasifying lignite coal to produce synthetic natural gas, which would then be used along with oxygen and CO2 to drive a turbine generator. The technology could provide Basin Electric’s Dakota Gasification Co., which has an existing lignite gasification plant in North Dakota, another source of marketable CO2 to be used for enhanced oil recovery or other purposes, and provide Basin Electric a more efficient and CO2 emission-free way of generating electricity using lignite.
A first-of-its-kind plant using natural gas will start up in Texas in 2017, along with a more in-depth study using lignite to make synthetic natural gas in North Dakota. Basin Electric will monitor the technology’s development and participate in the North Dakota study.