Emerging gas developer Leigh Creek Energy (ASX: LCK) is on the cusp of producing commercial quantities of syngas from its flagship energy project in the northern coalfields of South Australia.
In an operational update this week, the company reported gas flows at its pre-commercial demonstration plant were rapidly increasing to reach a consistent rate in excess of 1,000 standard cubic metres per hour.
This flow rate signifies a massive 20-fold increase since the company’s update just two weeks ago of the stable production of commercial-quality syngas.
Leigh Creek Energy managing director Phil Staveley said the quality of the gas and flow rates were “extremely encouraging”.
“We target meeting full commercial flows and quality in the very near future, when we will be performing the pre-commercial tests at commercial flow rates,” he said.
“We are continuing increasing the syngas flow rates whilst maintaining quality,” Mr Staveley added.
Leigh Creek Energy’s pre-commercial demonstration is designed to generate synthesis gas, or ‘syngas’, via the chemical process of converting coal to a gaseous form, referred to as in situ gasification (ISG).
Late last year, the company confirmed fertiliser production as the most financially attractive pathway to commercialise the Leigh Creek coalfield’s estimated 2,964 petajoules of 2C gas resources.
After initiating the gasifier in early October, the operation has progressed through multiple stages before it started producing commercial quality syngas by the end of 2018.
Earlier this month, Leigh Creek Energy reported 13 days of continuous production of commercial syngas, but at low flow rates.
The latest update shows a rapid incline in flow rate in the last week, with the rate now equating to 8,760,000m3 per year.
In addition, the composition of the syngas has consistently recorded up to 20% methane and between 5-10% hydrogen, values which have aligned with previous announcements.
Once flow rates have reached a commercial level, Leigh Creek Energy is aiming to upgrade its 2C resources to 2P reserve status. The completion of this conversion is anticipated within the 2019 first quarter.