MGX has partnered with Highbury Energy Inc. to develop a thermochemical gasification process focused on generating hydrogen gas and extracting valuable metals such as nickel, vanadium and cobalt from petroleum coke (“Petcoke”).

Petcoke samples collected from Fort McMurray and Edmonton area Delayed Coking operations yielded significant vanadium, nickel and cobalt levels.

Sample Vanadium Nickel Copper Zirconium Cobalt Gold Silver
Upgrader Coke A 421 76.8 86.2 40.5 4.8 0.0011 <0.1
Refinery Coke B 458 53.4 35.9 1.3 1.3 <0.0005 <0.1

Phase II study is currently being completed by Highbury and will include analyses of potential site locations, inclusion of pilot scale gasification, advanced metals extraction process design and initial plant design parameters.

While concentrations of individual metals are low in raw petcoke, Highbury is utilizing its advanced knowledge of the thermochemical gasification process and existing large-scale pilot plant experience to assist MGX in designing a process to generate hydrogen gas and concentrate metals in the form of ash byproduct. Highbury has completed a Phase I report on potential processes and markets for primary and secondary byproducts.

A Phase II study has commenced including analyses of locations, laboratory bench top feedstock results, advanced process design and initial plant design parameters.

Petcoke is a carbon material by-product of the oil and gas industry that forms during the oil refining process. As refineries have become more efficient at processing extra heavy crude oils (bitumen) over the last two decades, output of Petcoke globally has risen significantly. Because Petcoke originates from heavier petroleum fractions, its denser impurities such as metals and sulphur compounds are concentrate in it.

The majority of Canadian Petcoke output occurs in close proximity to oil sand producing regions, where bitumen is upgraded into synthetic crude oil. Specifically, the Province of Alberta is known to host vast stockpiles of Petcoke. According to the Alberta Energy Regulator, petcoke inventories are estimated to have reached 114 million tonnes in 2017(1).

(1) Source: Alberta Energy Industry, Alberta Mineable Oil Sands Plant Statistics