Foster Wheeler plans China substitute natural gas unit with Wison, Clariant

Foster Wheeler signed a cooperation agreement with Clariant and Wison Engineering to build a pilot plant to demonstrate Foster Wheeler’s VESTA substitute natural gas (SNG) technology, the groups said Thursday. 

The pilot plant will be constructed in China and is planned to go on-stream during 2013.

Under this agreement, Wison Engineering will provide engineering and construction services, Foster Wheeler will license the technology, and Clariant will supply the proprietary developed catalyst. 

“This exciting technology provides optimized solutions to secure future clean energy in China," said Stefan Heuser, general manager of Clariant's catalysts business. "We are very pleased to have Wison Engineering with its outstanding reputation and impressive recent development to join Clariant and Foster Wheeler as our strong partner in China.”

The plant will be operated by Wison Engineering. 

"By leveraging Foster Wheeler’s global expertise and technological strength as well as Clariant’s strong innovation in catalyst technology, we’ll continue to build up our capabilities in coal-to-chemical sector and will be well positioned to seize the favorable market opportunities in the domestic and overseas markets," said Liu Haijun, senior vice president of Wison Engineering.

The cooperation agreement also sets out a framework for long-term cooperation to deliver and build methanation plants in China based on VESTA technology.

Foster Wheeler says its VESTA SNG technology is a novel methanation technology designed to produce SNG from synthesis gas obtained from gasification of either coal or petroleum coke. The VESTA technology is based on once-through operation with no recirculation, avoiding expensive compressors.

The technology is based on a maximum operating temperature of 550°C, avoiding any metal dusting formation and enabling relatively simple reactors to be used. The technology can operate with syngas from any commercial gasification technology.

The VESTA technology is designed to be simple and safe to operate and to be implemented at a low total investment cost, according to company officials.

“We are extremely pleased to announce this cooperation agreement with Clariant and Wison Engineering,” said Umberto della Sala, president of Foster Wheeler. “Focused on China, the world’s largest SNG market, this agreement is an important first step in establishing our ability to address the global SNG market.”

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