fbpx Sasol produces 1,5 billion barrels of synthetic fuel from coal in fifty years

Sasol produces 1,5 billion barrels of synthetic fuel from coal in fifty years

24 August 2005

Sasol has produced almost 1,5 billion barrels of synthetic fuel from about 800 million tonnes of coal since the first sample of synthetic oil from coal was produced fifty years ago at its Sasolburg plant near Johannesburg in South Africa on 23 August 1955.

Regarded as a world technology leader in the production of coal-to-liquids (CTL), Sasol operates the world's only commercial scale synthetic plant at Secunda, where it produces 150 000 barrels of liquid fuel per day.
Sasol currently supplies about 28% of South Africa’s fuel needs from coal, saving the country more than R29 billion (US5,1 billion) a year in foreign exchange.
“Sasol has pioneered the commercial application of Fischer-Tropsch technology since the early 1950s when we built our first petrochemical plant at Sasolburg and began producing fuel based synfuels and chemicals. This pioneering spirit has resulted in Sasol being recognised as a global technology and innovation leader, and we are now poised to deliver the world's cleanest diesel early in 2006, when our first international commercial scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant at Doha in Qatar commences production,” says Sasol chief executive, Pat Davies.
Davies was alluding to Sasol's ability to achieve significant technology advances in areas ranging from goal gasification to Fischer-Tropsch Technology, applied catalysis, separation processes, synthesis gas conversion, and petrochemical and chemical process development and optimisation.
These innovations have enabled Sasol and other leading petrochemical companies to advance a global GTL industry which will produce more environmentally friendly liquid fuels and other products from natural gas. GTL diesel is virtually sulphur free and has been proven in the USA and Europe to be far more environmentally benign than existing diesel.
This section attached for SA media only Historical perspective of CTL in South Africa
  • The licence for the development of a CTL facility at Sasolburg was granted in 1947 and Sasol became a public company on 26 September 1950
  • The fist synthesis reaction in the reactor took place on 23 August 1955 when the first batch of synthetic crude was produced.
  • The first petrol produced on a commercial scale was pumped into the cars of Sasol executives on 11 November 1955.
  • On 6 February 1956, Parys became the first town outside of Sasolburg to receive fuel.
  • Vanderbijlpark followed shortly afterwards, becoming the first Sasol Transvaal (Gauteng) market on 11 May 1956.
  • The Johannesburg market was reached on 23 August 1956 and Pretoria (Tswane) followed in June 1957.
  • By 1958 Sasol had a pumps at 1 245 filling stations in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.
  • Plans to build Sasol Two at Secunda were announced on 5 December 1974.
  • The planned construction of Sasol 3 was announced on 22 Feb 1977 at a projected cost of R3 276 million. Sasol listed on the JSE during the same year.
  • Sasol Two produced its first fuel from coal on 1 March 1980 and in May 1981 Sasol Three produced its first hydrocarbon products.
  • By 1986 the Sasol blue pump market share was 2,1% - The development of a product called Rustblock was instrumental in the growing popularity of Sasol fuel. The blue pump was now at 2 000 filling stations and 400 wholesale vendors.
  • By 1988 Sasol was supplying 27% of SA's fuel needs.
  • In January 2004 Sasol entered the retail fuel market of South Africa.

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