Australian Clean Coal Technologies

This week i’d thought i’d throw some light on Australian Clean Coal Technologies – the economic and funding environment and a couple of Australian companies. Australia has a significant vested interest in clean coal technologies with funding and technology development occurring around the country. The vested interest is due to Australia having large coal resources and more importantly coal is a major export earner for Australia and accounts for around 80% of Australia’s total energy generation. The full stats are below.

The energy debate in Australia shifts from nuclear, clean coal and renewables with developments on all fronts. Its worth noting the funding environment for clean coal technologies in Australia as well, with support at from industry and at the state and federal government level.

The major areas of technology development are in the areas of:

  • Coal Seam Gas & Methane Capture
  • Coal pre-processing & storage (demoisturisation, pelletisation)
  • Coal gasification and turbine tech
  • C02 separation & flue-gas cleaning
  • C02 sequestration

Some of the companies and technologies that have recently been in the press have been the pre-processing technologies:

LaTrobe Lignite Developments Pty Ltd (LLD) has patented technology for the drying of Brown Coal to levels of 15% moisture content for use in low emission power generation. The low temperature evaporation tech can be achieved using waste heat available from electricity generation. The process yields a high quality thermal coal called PacCarb®. This can achieve increased boiler performance, higher outputs, and greatly reduced greenhouse emissions. LLD are seeking partners and A$400million to scale up from a demonstration plant to a 100MW Large Scale Demonstration Plant.

Another company the Binderless Coal Briquetting Company, asubsidaryy of White Energy Technology Limited, is commercialising the efforts of CSIRO researchers who have been the first to develop a binderless coal briquetting process. According to the company website “Binderless briquettes are briquettes formed from either bituminous or sub-bituminous coals that are held together by the natural bonding mechanisms in coal. They do not require any of the binders normally used to briquette coal which substantially reduces the production cost.”

Stats from Australian Coal Association and Energy Information Administration

“Australia has more than 74 billion tonnes of identified black coal reserves which is enough to last well over 200 years at current rates of production”

“Australia is the worlds largest exporter of coal 2002, Australian coal producers shipped 225 million tons of coal to international consumers and consumed another 160 million tons (both hard coal and lignite) domestically, primarily for electricity generation. Coal-fired power plants accounted for 78 percent of Australia’’s total electricity generation in 2002, a level that is projected to be maintained over the forecast horizon”

To put this in perspective worldwide “although coal deposits are widely distributed, 57 percent of the world’’s recoverable reserves are located in three countries: the United States (27 percent), Russia (17 percent), and China (13 percent)”

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