[ASC-media] Media release: coal ready for low emissions technology

JCA Media jca.media at starclass.com.au
Thu Sep 20 01:20:52 CEST 2007

CRC for Coal In Sustainable Development Media Release

20 September 2007


Australia has black coals capable of producing electricity with near-zero greenhouse emissions.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development (CCSD) and its research participant CSIRO Energy Technology have just completed a $1 million dollar industry- sponsored pilot gasification trial program for a range of Australian coals at a German test facility.

Coal gasification is one of the three principal technologies for producing energy from coal that allows the capture and storage of carbon dioxide.

"Australia has coals which are highly suitable for the new greenhouse-friendly power generation technologies of the future," says Frank van Schagen, CEO of  the CRC for Coal in Sustainable Development (CCSD).

"The tests will deliver a major step in understanding how our coals perform in advanced power generation technologies.  It is vital as our coal industry moves towards trading in new and greenhouse-friendly markets," Mr van Schagen said. 

CCSD program leader for entrained flow gasification, Dr David Harris of CSIRO, says the test program is a significant step forward for Australian gasification research. "The gasification trials complement our extensive laboratory based research which has examined the gasification reactivity and slag behaviour of a wide range of Australian coals. It is also the first time our laboratory data has been validated in conditions like those in commercial power generation," Dr Harris explained.

"These trials will provide vital information to determine the most important coal performance factors for developing test procedures, coal selection criteria. They will help optimise operating strategies for the use of Australian coals in gasification technologies."

Mr van Schagen says that instead of burning coal to produce heat and make steam - the current power generation technology - gasification produces hydrogen gas and pure CO2.  The hydrogen can then be used to produce electricity, while the CO2 is buried using geosequestration. This eliminates the main greenhouse contribution of coal as a fuel.

"The research is an important step in building our understanding of how - and which - Australian coals are most suitable for the new clean energy technologies, and how they perform in those technologies.  It allows us to select the coals which are best to use in the new technologies.

"The information and knowledge gained from this work will have an important role in defining the future scope and needs for Australia's coal gasification and related low emissions power technology research," says Dr Harris.

"Coal technologies are changing worldwide and we need to gain an understanding of coal performance in gasification technologies to service and adapt to future market expectations. These trials will add to Australia's existing capabilities in advanced coal technologies, which have been strongly supported by the CCSD for many years."

"The involvement of the Australian coal and power generation industries in the pilot test program is particularly encouraging and recognises the importance they place on developing clean coal technologies at scale," Dr Noel Simento, CCSD Manager - Technology Transfer, said. 

The gasification trials included coals from Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. 

The program was funded by the Western Australian Coal Futures Group, Australian Coal Association Research Program, CCSD, Xstrata Coal, Verve Energy and Delta Electricity.  

The pilot test program was developed in consultation with staff of the Siemens gasification test facility in Freiberg, Germany.

Mr Frank van Schagen, CEO
CRC for Coal in Sustainable Development
Phone: 07 3871 4400 or 0412 149 951
Frank.vanSchagen at ccsd.biz

Dr David Harris, 
CSIRO Energy Technology
07 3327 4617
david.harris at csiro.au

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