Coal could become carbon neutral with new tech


The Allam-Fetvedt Cycle technology could provide a net-zero avenue for coal by producing saleable hydrogen as a by-product, while capturing the emitted CO2.

A feasibility study, commissioned by Low Emission Technology Australia (LETA), found that Australia’s annual energy export revenues could increase by 71 per cent to $35 billion using the Allam Cycle.

LETA explained that the Allam Cycle is a zero emissions technology that uses CO2 instead of steam to drive a turbine, while eliminating air pollution and capturing the CO2.

LETA chief executive officer Mark McCallum said the benefits of the Allam Cycle benefitted the environmental and Australian economy.

“This feasibility study makes a compelling case for continuing to develop low emission technologies which are critical to a net-zero carbon emissions future, energy reliability and Australia’s prosperity,” McCallum said.

“This technology’s use at scale would introduce on demand and near-zero emission hydrocarbon and biomass power for Australia — complementing renewables’ increasing role in the energy mix — and can also produce clean hydrogen and ammonia.”

The technology does, however, depend on the development of carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) technology which remains a debated method of reducing carbon emissions.

The Allam Cycle has been identified by the Federal Government’s Low Emissions Technology Statement as a potential key to improving the country’s emissions reductions credentials.

Hydrogen can be produced using the Allam Cycle at or less than $2 per kilogram, with a potential export value of $35 billion, according to the study.

McCallum added that the use of this technology could bolster foreign relations.

“What our feasibility study shows, is that aside from the domestic application, the Allam Cycle can unlock lucrative new, clean industries and assist our regional trading partners — for example, Korea, Japan and Singapore — meet their own emissions reduction aspirations and energy needs,” McCallum said.

“Now that we know there is a strong business case for the Allam Cycle as a producer of hydrogen, hydrogen as ammonia, or electricity on its own, potentially there could be a baseline plant-scaled facility operational this decade.”

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