Chinas state-owned Shanxi Luan Group is preparing to open a plant in Shanxi province with capacity to make 350,000 metric tons per year of coal-to-liquids base stocks.
If the testing goes well, we expect to start commercial operation by the end of June, Liu Junyi, executive director of Luans Taihang Lube unit, told Lube Report. The testing started in March.
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The base stock plant is part of Shanxi Lu’an Coal-based Synthetic Oil Co., a large coal-to-liquids complex in Changzhi city, running on coal feedstock supplied by Luan. The base stock plant will have capacity to produce 600,000 t/y of fluids, of which 350,000 t/y will be base stocks, Liu said.
The nature of the base stocks is not completely clear. Lu’an described them as both API Group III+ and as polyalphaolefins, but PAOs are Group IV base stocks that are petrochemicals whereas Group III stocks are mineral oils. CTL technology includes a number of processes that can be used to make Group III oils or PAO.
Luan plans to direct most of that output to its lubricant subsidiary, Shanxi Lu’an Taihang Lubricant Co. We try to use up all of the base oils, but our blending capacity is only 300,000 tons a year, he said, adding that LuAn will sell the leftover base oil to other companies.
Luan did state that the viscosity grades of the base stocks will be less than 10 centiStokes. Liu added that it is still too early to say if they will be used to produce motor oils or industrial lubricants.
It all depends on the market demand. We will adjust our product strategy accordingly, he said.