A step closer to clean coal

The Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, and Queensland's Minister for Mines and Energy, Geoff Wilson, have attended a ceremony to mark the commencement of works at the Callide Oxyfuel demonstration plant in Biloela, Queensland.

The Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, and Queensland’s Minister for Mines and Energy, Geoff Wilson, have attended a ceremony to mark the commencement of works at the Callide Oxyfuel demonstration plant in Biloela, Queensland.

The Callide Oxyfuel Project is retro-fitting an existing power station with technology which burns coal in oxygen and re-circulated gases (rather than in air), creating a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide which can be captured, transported, and stored.

“This project will lay the foundation for the widespread deployment of low emission coal technology,” Ferguson said.

“Despite the growth of renewable energy, coal will remain a major source of the world’s energy for some decades and the International Energy Agency expects that by 2030, coal will provide a higher proportion of the world’s electricity than it does today.

“Clearly, no serious response to climate change can ignore the need to reduce emissions from coal.”

The Australian and Queensland Governments have committed $50 million and $35 million respectively to the project, which will demonstrate technology capable of reducing emissions from a typical coal-fired power station by 90%.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said the oxyfuel process, coupled with carbon dioxide storage, has the potential to re-invent the State’s existing coal-fired power stations.

“Moreover, the technology’s successful application globally could be a start to stabilising and eventually reducing carbon dioxide emissions, while ensuring that the most abundant and reliable energy fuel on earth can continue to be used in a more environmentally-friendly way,” Roche said.

Roche said the $85 million investment in the pilot project from the Australian and Queensland Governments was being matched by $68 million from the coal industry’s COAL21 fund, along with financial and in-kind contributions from CS Energy, IHI Corporation, J-Power, Mitsui, Schlumberger and Xstrata Coal.

“This is the type of international effort that’s required to address a challenge of this magnitude and it’s gratifying to see technology development of this kind in Australia, and Queensland in particular,” he said.

A feasibility study is continuing into the ZeroGen project low-emissions project, while a post-combustion pilot project is under way at Tarong Power Station under a partnership agreement with the CSIRO.

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