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26 February 2006

Sasol invests R200 million in design research reactor to drive GTL and CTL costs down

Sasol is investing R200 million in the construction of an innovative Fischer-Tropsch design reactor at its research and development facilities in Sasolburg, South Africa. The reactor will support the engineering design of the next generation of Fischer-Tropsch reactors for Sasol's world renowned gas-to-liquids (GTL) and coal-to-liquids (CTL) technologies.
Both CTL and GTL are key drivers of Sasol's global growth strategy.
Construction commenced recently. The reactor should be ready for commissioning by the end of October 2006, with the first test runs planned for the beginning of 2007.
The design reactor will assist Sasol in further advancing its leading edge technologies. The company is about to commission the world's first commercial scale GTL facility in the world outside of South Africa at Ras Laffan in Qatar. The plant, called Oryx GTL, will produce 34 000 barrels per day of liquid fuels from natural gas.
“This research design reactor will assist Sasol in achieving significantly higher productivity in terms of gas throughput and product conversion rates over current generation designs. It will also support our quest to continuously lower the capital cost of the GTL process and improve operational efficiency, while also allowing us to test some novel reactor configurations,” says Sasol CE Pat Davies. “This latest innovation is in line with our corporate values, which see us continuously improve our performance while also pursuing excellence and world-class standards in all we do,” says Davies.
The Fischer-Tropsch design reactor is slurry-phase based and will have a capacity of producing up to 500 barrels of product per day. The reactor test program will be supported by a team of dedicated engineers and scientists from within the existing research and development team.
Sasol employs about 500 scientists and technologists who conduct research and development at Sasolburg and other sites in the US, Europe and South Africa. R&D programmes play an important role in shaping the group's competitive advantage, especially in the fields of process design, catalyst development, and product development and formulation.
R&D is conducted in collaboration with major universities, research institutions and international centers of excellence.
The Sasol Slurry Phase Distillate (SPD) process which will be used at Oryx GTL has resulted in the development of high-quality, low emission GTL diesel that meets the most stringent US and European environmental specifications. This fuel is virtually sulphur free and has been independently proven in the US and Europe to be far more environmentally benign than existing diesels.

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