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Korea Gas to Build a 300,000 Tons Per Year Dimethyl Ether (DME) Plant

Feb 9, 11

Unitel Technologies to provide the basic engineering and design for this first-of-its-kind project

MT. PROSPECT, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Unitel Technologies, Inc. announced that the company has been awarded a contract by Korea Gas Technology Corporation to prepare the basic engineering and design package for a plant that will make 300,000 tons of DME per year.

“We are pleased that Korea Gas (KOGAS) has chosen Unitel for the front-end technical work for this landmark project,” says Dr. Ravi Randhava, President and COO of Unitel. “Today DME is manufactured by a cumbersome ‘two step’ process. KOGAS is the first organization in the world to successfully develop and demonstrate a commercially viable ‘one step’ process,” he adds.

DME is an ideal one-to-one substitute and additive for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It is also a direct replacement for diesel, with the added advantage that DME is 100% clean in terms of sulfur, soot and particulates, and the exhaust is approximately 50% lower in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. According to General Electric, DME is an excellent fuel for stationary gas turbines. Many experts view DME as the most promising fuel option for the 21st century. To learn more about DME, visit www.aboutdme.org

The KOGAS DME Project Team is led by Dr. Wonjun Cho who notes that the KOGAS ‘one step’ process includes several proprietary technology breakthroughs – a novel catalyst, an oxyblown auto-thermal tri-reformer for making synthesis gas, fixed bed boiling water DME reactors, and a special method for the cryogenic separation of the reaction products. “The ‘one step’ DME process has proven to be very elusive for many years,” notes Dr. Cho. “However, we are convinced that KOGAS has successfully overcome the hurdles that have long constrained this industry.”

“We have operated a ‘one step’ 10 tons per day demo unit for the last three years, and the results are very encouraging,” says Dr. Cho. “The ‘one step’ method needs only a single reactor for the synthesis of DME, and alleviates the thermodynamic limitations of producing the methanol that is made in the ‘two step’ process,” he explains.

For the record, the basic engineering and design work for the KOGAS ‘one step’ demo unit was also provided by Unitel Technologies.