Great Plains Synfuels Plant


The Great Plains Synfuels Plant began operations in 1984 as the first commercial-scale coal gasification plant in the U.S. It represents another example of engineers using innovative technologies to produce energy resources. During the gasification process, steam, oxygen, and coal are burned at 2200 degrees Fahrenheit in gasifiers, producing methane and other gases. The gases are separated and purified by a methanation process. Visitors can tour the $8 million scale model of the plant, which is used by engineers when they need to build structures for the plant.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Industrial & Manufacturing
Topic(s):Electricity
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:The Synfuels Plant consumes more than 6 million tons of lignite coal each year, producing more than 54 billion cubic feet of natural gas. In addition to natural gas, the plant produces fertilizers, solvents, phenol, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals. The carbon dioxide is part of an international venture for enhanced oil recovery in Canada.
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