Adelaide-based GTL Energy has completed the construction and commissioning of its first ‘low-rank coal upgrading plant’ near South Heart, North Dakota.
According to the company, this plant will be the first to use this form of clean coal technology on a commercial scale.
The coal upgrading process, also known as coal drying/beneficiation, removes moisture from low-rank coals to produce low-moisture, high-energy briquettes.
GTL Energy said the technology improves the efficiency of low-rank coals, which therefore means that greenhouse emissions are reduced.
In a joint statement, GTL chief executive Robert French and the Australian Director Nick Smart said the low temperature drying process had proven results in preserving lignite coal characteristics.
“We produce high-energy, mechanically-strong briquettes without binders and without creation of environmentally hazardous waste streams,” they said.
“The technology provides significant opportunities to use low rank coal in an environmentally responsible way.
“It will enable stranded resources to be monetised and help to meet the world’s ever growing demand for energy.”
The first large-scale production of North Dakota lignite at the plant reduced the moisture by an average of 65%, increasing the energy content of approximately 40%.