West Australian company Greenpower Energy is transforming Victoria’s coal sector.
It unveiled a plan to use the State’s enormous brown coal reserves, which stands at 430 billion tonnes, for the production of synthetic crude oil using a coal to liquids process (CTL).
Approximately 80% of all the State’s brown coal reserves are found in the Gippsland Basin.
Announcing the results, chief investigator Professor Richard Billo said results had been positive and paved the way for a larger scale pilot plant to test the technology.
“It is very clear to us Gippsland brown coal is suited to crude oil conversion and that these conversion could be undertaken on a much bigger scale,” Billo said.
Greenpower has access to areas in the Basin, just outside of Moe, which were formerly licenced to Esso.
The company plans to meet with representatives from Clean Coal Victoria (CCV), which is part of the Department of Primary Industry, to have the CTL pilot plant approved.
CCV was developed by the Victorian Government to investigate, manage and develop the lignite resource.
Greenpower CEO John Watt said the plan is to sell the crude oil product to Victorian refineries.
He went on to say that the introduction of a carbon tax would make the technology more viable.
“The process being developed by Professor Bill and his colleagues will have a carbon dioxide footprint which is significantly lower than other CTL schemes,” Watt said.
Greenpower feels that this CTL technology will allow the Gippsland brown coal resource to be used in an environmentally friendly way.
The Hazelwood, Loy Yang and Yallourn mines are all brown coal mines just outside of Moe.
View Operating Mines in Australia (2010) in a larger map