At the heart of the operation is this long tube. The view here is looking up the 200-foot-high tower.
Inside this tube, the coal mixture is treated at high heat and pressure--a process called gasification--which creates a mixture of gases that are captured and separated. The residual feedstock is collected and recuperated at the bottom.
This hydromethanization reactor is not full size but is meant to replicate the conditions of a larger vessel. In the month of March, this operation treated 4,500 pounds of feedstock, according to plant manager Charles Powell, who has 30 years of experience in coal gasification research and development.
The main purpose of the demonstration facility is to gather data, which is why this reactor is equipped with several sensors to track variables such as temperature and pressure.
April 13, 2009 4:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Martin LaMonica/CNET
| Caption by: Martin LaMonica
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