Local engineer seeking over 115bn/- to invest in low cost LNG plant

26Nov 2019
Francis Kajubi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Local engineer seeking over 115bn/- to invest in low cost LNG plant

A local chemical engineer is seeking U$50 million (over 115bn/-) to invest in a simple technology liquefied natural gas plant that will help serve domestic consumers with the energy source.

Abraham Baisi at work in his simple office in Dar es Salaam recently during an interview with The Guardian. Photo: Francis Kajubi.

Iringa based founder and CEO of Syntroleum Petrochemical Group Limited, Abraham Baisi said he is currently U$300,000 (over 690m/-) to hire a consultant that will prepare a bankable feasibility study to get a bank loan for the ambitious project.

Baisi said has come up with a cheap way of processing natural gas into LNG for use by households countrywide as international oil companies seeking to establish a U$50 million LNG plant negotiate with the government on the massive investment.

He said the technology will allow construction of a single plant to convert natural gas into LNG for domestic and industrial use that can produce 320 tons of per week by using 1,440,000 standard cubic feet of methane. The plant will produce 1,280 tons of LNG per month and 15,360 tons per year.

“The formula that brought about this technology can be applied in production of massive LNG that can be supplied to households easily,” said Baisi who said he has already been in touch with Prime Minister’s Office and State House on the subject.

The 35 year old Tanzanian chemical engineer further noted that his proposed mini LNG plant will convert natural gas into LNG at low cost hence serve the majority of rural consumers who are currently relying on charcoal and firewood as key sources of energy.

“For example, if the government invests U$250 million it will build five plants of that capacity. 15,360 tons of LNG that can be filled 30 kilograms gas cylinder that will total 1,024 cylinders. It means that 1,024 households will buy and use LNG cylinders a time,” he added.

He said that he has already presented to President John Magufuli a concept note on the technology which he also presented to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Energy.

“I presented the concept note of the technology to the Parliamentary Energy Committee for two days last month and the response was positive so am hoping to get the assistance needed,” Baisi added.

Through his new found technology, the founder and CEO of Syntroleum Petrochemical Group Limited said it involves converting Methane which is the main component of the natural gas to HD5 grade Propane which is commonly known as the Liquefied Natural Gas.

According to him, the technology to convert Methane into Propane using a device called Fischer-Tropsch Chemistry Reactor is known as Steam Methane Reform. His company is licensed to conduct scientific research that brings in new technologies and insights that can help simplify access to gas and coal by consumers for energy sources.

After graduating with a Chemical Engineering degree at University of Nairobi in 2011, Baisi joined a six-month course at University of South Africa specializing in synthesis materials in 2012. In August 2012 he returned to Tanzania and started his lab scale research to establish a formula for converting Methane to Propane that lasted in 2017.

From that lab scale research Baisi produced 1200 grams (1.2 kg) of HD5 grade Propane which was converted into 205 cubic meters of Methane obtained from processing 500 kg of wood dust for 21 days using a device called anaerobic digester. With over 54 trillion standard cubic feet of natural gas, the country stands a better chance to benefit from Baisi’s innovation if put into practice.

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