Roman Abramovich, who made a fortune in the Russian oil industry and owns the Chelsea football team, and Tony Hayward, ex-head of BP, are finding ways to enable smaller plants to transform natural gas into liquid and therefore, easily transportable fuel.
The revolutionary finds of natural gas in shales across America has led to greater hopes for energy independence, as well as a cheaper and cleaner alternative to regular oil. However, one major issue is to liquefy the natural gas so it can be transported. Usually expensive, large facilities are able to liquefy natural gas, but Abramovich and Hayward are developing solutions that allow this process to be carried out on a smaller scale.
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“The primary problem has been confidence that the technology can be deployed commercially, ” said Hayward. “Once commercial proof of the concept has been delivered, and once we have a plant operating that has made an acceptable return on investment, then perceptions will change.”
Abramovich is building a stake in Velocys, a company that is developing the capability to make liquid fuel from shale gas. The costs to develop this technology on a small scale is high, but the cost savings in the long run are expected to be substantial. John Mann, a spokesman for Abramovich said, “We’ve made several investments in green energy over the past couple of years. We identified this field as one with good commercial prospects as well as the potential for a positive impact on the environment.”