China and Victoria to work together on carbon capture technology for brown coal.

The China Daily reports today that Victoria, is seeking to collaborate with China on developing new and cleaner ways to extract and use brown coal reserves, as well as carbon capture and storage technologies.

Brown coal, a low grade of coal is not easily exploited because of its high moisture content, sometimes as high as 66 percent, and high ash content. Additionally, carbon dioxide emissions from brown coal fired plants are generally much higher than for black coal plants.

Australia has about 20 percent of the world’s recoverable brown coal, second behind Germany which has 22 percent.

A project with China is being planned using Integrated Drying Gasification Combined Cycle (IDGCC) technology. Under this system the brown coal is dried before it is used for fuel.When coal is brought into contact with steam and oxygen, thermo chemical reactions produce a fuel gas, mainly carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which, when combusted can be used to power gas turbines. The Australian Coal Association reports that power generating systems using IDGCC technology

“give increased efficiencies by using waste heat from the product gas to produce steam to drive a steam turbine, in addition to a gas turbine. Gasification systems can achieve efficiencies of greater than 50 per cent, produce less solid waste, lower emissions of pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide. and lower carbon dioxide emissions”.

By doing so, green house gas emissions can be reduced by 30 percent and 50 percent of the water can be saved.

It is expected that under this project equipment will be produced in China, then shipped to Australia for a new brown coal-fired power plant with a capacity of 0.5 million kW, which is expected to start construction at the beginning of next year. The Australian government and the state government have committed about $140 million to this project Integrated Drying Gasification Combined Cycle (IDGCC) technology.

In April, the world’s largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility also opened and Victoria is willing to cooperate with Chinese enterprises specializing in this area. Peter Batchelor, minister for Energy and Resources of the Brumby Government of Victoria had this to say of the project:

“In Victoria, what we are doing is transforming new technologies from the research and development scale to demonstration projects and working out how to deliver them on a commercial scale, Victoria is willing to be a laboratory open to China and any other countries.”

China has large brown coal reserves and has paid little attention to them because of the high moisture content. Whether we should be encouraging the proliferation of coal fired power stations still remains the question. As long as we are secure with coal there is little impetus to find more innovative green technologies. With the drive for expanding energy usage in China perhaps fostering cleaner technologies will benefit the environment but it will also hinder innovation in newer energy technologies.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: The first glow of sunrise appears above McMurdo Station, Ross Island, Antarctica.

Sunrise over McMurdo station

Photograph by: Chad Carpenter, National Science Foundation. Date Taken: July 13, 2007

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~ by abstraktbiblos on Tuesday, 13 May, 2008.

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