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GasTechno Portable Flare Gas To Methanol Device Up And Running

WALLOON LAKE (WWJ) -- A new, portable device that turns waste gas into usable chemicals is now in production at an oil well in Kalkaska County in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Walter Breidenstein, founder and CEO of Gas Technologies LLC, said the device fits into a medium-sized, easily hauled trailer. Using a patented one-step chemical process, it turns untreated natural gas that comes out of the ground at most oil wells -- gas that oil well operators frequently just burn off in a process called "flaring" -- into usable methanol (wood alcohol) and other useful chemicals, including formaldehyde.

Breidenstein said using free flare gas without pretreatment to produce these chemicals significantly reduces their cost -- by 40 to 50 percent -- while the technology's single step reduces capital cost by up to 70 percent.

Breidenstein is a veteran of Michigan's oil industry who has been working on the Gas Technologies gas-to-liquids process for more than a decade.

"This step in demonstrating the technology is a major step for us. The past two years we have learned a lot of proprietary information from our pilot plant operations, and the past six months of engineering and constructing this new Portable Mini-GTL system," Breidenstein said, "We started production Thursday and everything was a terrific success. Now our focus will be on funding the technology commercialization with confidence."

Next up for the Walloon Lake-based company, Breidenstein said, is a new technology that is involved in advanced gas separations.

Breidenstein said the company is also evaluating opportunities to install the devices overseas.

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