GreatPoint Energy

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GreatPoint Energy
Type Private
Headquarters 222 Third Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Key people Andrew Perlman, Co-founder, President and CEO;
Avi Goldberg, Chief Operating Officer
Industry Gasification Technology Research and Development
Products Coal and Biomass Gasification Technology
Total equity over $150 million

GreatPoint Energy of Cambridge, Massachusetts was founded in 2005.

Mayflower Clean Energy Center

On October 2007, Dominion and GreatPoint Energy of Cambridge, MA announced plans for a coal gasification demonstration plant and research center at the Brayton Point Station.[1][2] The $37 million project broke ground in February 2008 and began operating in March 2009.[3][4][5][6] The plant will be a 14-story steel tower with a structure for storing coal and other fuels, and will cover around five acres of Brayton Point’s two hundred and fifty acres.[4][5] The coal gasification project at Brayton Point has been celebrated by government and industry representatives for creating a hundred jobs; it has also been reported that employees working for GreatPoint Energy in Illinois will be relocated to Brayton Point. [1][3][4]

Along with coal, GreatPoint Energy’s coal gasification plant will burn petroleum coke and biomass such as wood chips, corn stover, switchgrass, and wood waste.[1][2][7][5] GreatPoint Energy’s gasification process uses a proprietary catalyst to break down carbon bonds in coal to create methane gas; GreatPoint also intends to capture at least some pollutant byproducts (such as sulfur, mercury, and nitrogen) to sell to chemical makers.[3][7][5][8] Nitrogen might be sold to become ammonia fertilizer in agriculture.[6] GreatPoint's long-term plans for carbon is to sequester it, a practice that is expensive and largely untested.[6] The company's alternate plans is to sell it to gas and oil companies; the carbon would injected into the ground to force the oil and gas out.[6] The gas produced at the pilot plant would be used at the Brayton Point station, which can use both coal and gas to produce electricity.[5]

GreatPoint Energy was looking at three locations for this project, and came to decide on the Brayton Point station after Governor Deval Patrick introduced representatives of GreatPoint and Dominion to each other at a roundtable energy discussion at Patrick’s office. [2] [3] The meeting was held in 2007, two weeks after Patrick took office. [2] Other reasons GreatPoint Energy chose Somerset include "access to engineering and technical support at MIT and other universities." [3]

In 2007, GreatPoint Energy raised "$100 million from investors, one of the industry's biggest venture capital rounds ever," a package put together by Citi Alternative Investments, Dow Chemical Co., The AES Corp., and Suncor Energy, Inc..[1][3][8] This was the largest "green tech" investment of 2007.[6] GreatPoint will use the $100 million for constructing and operating the Brayton Point facility. In the future, the company plans to build numerous commercial coal gasification plants near potential carbon sequestration sites.[8] A full-scale version of this type of coal gasification plant would cost one billion dollars to build.[6]

The center costs $1 million per month to operate. Building costs came to $30 million.[9] As of August 2009, two types of coal had been tested there.[9] GreatPoint Energy planst to keep the test center open after building full-scale plants in order to keep testing different fuels and methods.[9]

Texas Coal Gasification Facility

On August 12, 2009, Chief Operating Office Avi Golberg announced that GreatPoint Energy plans to open a full-scale coal gasification conversion plant in Texas.[9] The company already has a site in Texas in mind, and hopes to sequester carbon from the plant nearby.[9] GPE expects the construction of the plant will take three or four years.[9] The announcement came after news and media took a tour of GPE's test facility in Somerset, MA.[9] The tour was originally scheduled for U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, who canceled because of the weather.[9] GreatPoint Energy is also considering a site in Illinois for a full-scale conversion plant.[9]

Partnerships with Peabody Energy

On January 25, 2008, GreatPoint Energy and Peabody Energy announced an agreement between the companies where Peabody Energy became a minority investor in GreatPoint Energy, and that Peabody would be the coal supplier for GreatPoint's gasification process. [10][11] The two companies will collaborate on building coal gasification plants near Peabody's mines in the Powder River Basin.[10] Peabody's investment will be used to bring GreatPoint Energy's technology to a commercial scale.[10] The agreement also included creating an observer role for Peabody Energy on GreatPoint Energy's Board of Directors.[10]

On February 18, 2010, GreatPoint and Peabody announced that the companies would work together to develop coal-to-gas and coal-to-hydrogen plants in and beyond the U.S.[12] The hydrogen could be both used for electricity and sold to industries[12]. Synthesized natural gas could be transported through existing pipelines.[12] The companies plan to use carbon capture and storage in the process.[12] Peabody plans to use captured carbon "to extract even more oil out of once-depleted oil reserves".[13] The companies have not announced any details such as locations, costs, or timeline for the prospective plants.

Partnership with University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

On March 5, 2009, GreatPoint Energy and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth signed an agreement allowing GreatPoint access to the University's Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center, where the company can continue to work on its coal gasification technology.[14] The deal also involves the creation of twenty paid internships for University engineering students at the Mayflower Clean Energy Center. [14][15]

Partnership with University of Montana

The University of Montana (UM) has asked for $5 million for a new research project with GreatPoint Energy in the school's appeal for federal funding for fiscal year 2011.[16] The project would create a facility to test if wood could be gasified into a synthetic gas in an economically viable way.[16] UM would work with GreatPoint Energy's coal gasification technology and would use "waste" wood, such as wood that is dead or decomposing in forests.[16][17] Of UM's overall $19.75 million request, the partnership with GreatPoint Energy is considered "one of the highest priorities."[16]

Purchasing Agreement with Dow

On April 27, 2009 Dow & GreatPoint Energy signed an agreement that gives Dow the option to buy GreatPoint's gasified coal if the company reaches the commercial level.[18] If the two companies do decide to do business with each other, they will enter into a fifteen-year contract and Dow will buy gas from GreatPoint's first three commercial plants.[18] The press release states: "Dow is one of the country’s largest industrial users of natural gas and has over thirty years of gasification experience, having developed its own gasification technology, known as E-gas, and extensive chemical industry processing and technology scale-up experience… Daniel Goldman, GreatPoint Energy’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, who led the negotiations with Dow, commented, “having Dow as a potential major purchaser of natural gas further validates our technology and enables financing structures that will reduce our cost of production."[18] GreatPoint Energy CEO Andrew Perlman stated, “This potential gas agreement will also enable us to move forward with the development of large scale facilities in North America.”[18]

China Plant Cancelled

On September 10, 2008, GreatPoint Energy announced a partnership with Datang Huayin Electric Power Company, Ltd to build a pilot coal gasification plant in the Guangdong Province of China.[19] Datang Huayin agreed to pay for design, construction, and initial operation costs, which was expected to be between one hundred million and two hundred million dollars.[19][6] Coal or petroleum coke would have been used as feedstock, and the plant would have used 1,500 tons each day.[19]

Datang Huayin is a subsidiary of China Datang Corp. and is one of the largest single polluters on Earth.[19][6] In 2007, Datang Huayin generated 11.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electrical power.[19] At the time of the agreement, the companies planned for follow-up projects, including a commercial facility in Inner Mongolia.[19]

Construction on the Datang's full-scale plant in Inner Mongolia - what would have been the first coal gasification plant in China - began in the last week of August 2009.[20] Plant construction costs were estimated at $3.7 billion (£2.3 billion).[20] The location for the plant was the city Chifeng of Inner Mongolia.[20] The plant would have used gasification technology developed by GreatPoint Energy and required about 725 tons of coal each day.[20] The synthetic gas was to be piped over 230 miles to Beijing.[20] Datang was covering the majority of costs, with additional funds coming from Beijing Gas Group (a gas distributor) and New Horizon Capital (a private equity fund company in Hong Kong).[20] Datang also planned to use the plant to make synthetic liquid oil.[20]

On December 4, 2009, Datang announced the company decided to cancel its plans to build the demonstration facility "due to the low return rate after pre-feasibility studies."[21]

Lobbyists and PR Consultants

Contact Details

GreatPoint Energy
222 Third Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Email: info At
Phone: 617.401.8760
Fax: 617.849.5691

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "GreatPoint to build gasification plant in Somerset", Mass High Tech, October 25, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Marc Munroe Dion, "Power play", Herald News, October 24, 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Robert Gavin, "Mass. plant will make natural gas from coal", Boston Globe, October 25, 2007]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jay Pateakos, "Plant touts proposed clean energy facility", Herald News, October 26, 2007.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Marc Munroe Dion, "Coal gasification project beginning to take shape", Herald News, June 30, 2008. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "shape" defined multiple times with different content
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Martin LaMonica, "Where coal and clean tech meet", Cnet, April 13, 2009.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Boston Globe Editorial Staff, "Getting to Clean Coal", Boston Globe, November 4, 2007.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "GreatPoint Energy closes $100 million capital raise co-led by Citi Alternative Investments and Dow Chemical", GreatPoint Energy press release, September 24, 2007.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 C. Eugene Emery, Jr., < "Somerset's GreatPoint Energy to build conversion plant in Texas",> Providence Journal", August 13, 2009.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "GreatPoint Energy announces coal supply partnership with Peabody Energy and enters into agreement to build natural gas manufacturing facilities in Powder River Basin", "GreatPoint Energy" press release, January 25, 2008.
  11. "Peabody Energy acquires equity interest in GreatPoint Energy", "Peabody Energy" press release, January 25, 2008.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 "Peabody Energy and GreatPoint Energy Announce Agreement to Pursue Development of Coal-to-Gas and Coal-to-Hydrogen Facilities with Carbon Capture and Storage", Peabody Energy press release, February 18, 2010.
  13. Kelsey Volkmann,"Peabody, GreatPoint to pursue "green coal" plants", St. Louis Business Journal, February 18, 2010.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "GreatPoint Energy partners with University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in support of clean energy education and technology advancement", "GreatPoint Energy" press release, March 5, 2009.
  15. "GreatPoint Energy's vision for clean fuels", "NECN", March 9, 2009.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Chelsi Moy, "University of Montana seeking $19.75 million in federal earmarks for 2011", "Missoulian", January 10, 2010.
  17. Heidi Meili, "Earmark Requests", KECI Missoula, January 5, 2010.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 "GreatPoint Energy and Dow Chemical Company Sign Natural Gas Sales Agreement", GreatPoint Energy press release, April 27, 2009.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 "GreatPoint Energy partners with Datang Huayin Electric Ppower Company to build a hydromethanation plant in Guangdong Province", GreatPoint Energy press release, September 10, 2008.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 Yvonne Chan, "China kicks off construction on first coal-to-gas plant", Business Green, September 4, 2009.
  21. "China's Datang Huayin drops coal-based SNG project", "Antara News", December 7, 2009.
  22. "Contact", GreatPoint Energy website, accessed March 2009.
  23. " David Gerzof", LinkedIn, accessed March 2009.
  24. "Our Clients", GreatPoint Energy website, accessed March 2009.
  25. "GreatPoint Energy", Center for Public Integrity, accessed March 2009.

External Articles