Co-firing model for collaboration

THE second annual Coal Seam Methane conference was an excellent opportunity to gain networks for future collaborative projects, according to Dr Lila Gurba, research manager with the Brisbane-based Cooperative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development (CCSD).
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At the CSM Conference are Dr Lila Gurba, Minister Steven Robertson and Tim Mortimer, Norwest vice-president.

Staff Reporter

The two-day conference on February 19 and 20 brought 100 delegates from areas of government, industry and research, to Brisbane’s Hilton Hotel.

The CCSD is researching the co-firing of coal, natural gas and coal bed methane in coal-fired power plants, which is expected to give impetus to the search for clean coal technologies.

Gurba said CCSD’s co-firing assessment was a model for government/industry/science collaboration as it had the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce extensive environmental benefits.

“This adds value to the Queensland Government’s discussion paper on legislation requiring energy retailers to source 13% of their power generation from natural coal seam gas.

Gurba said environmentalists recognize gas as an important bridging tool that will take a greater part of the energy mix in the next 20 years. Co-firing was attractive because of Australia’s heavy dependence on coal for its energy needs and the fact that coal combustion is responsible for 38% of carbon emissions.

“The advantage of co-firing gas with coal is that it would make an immediate contribution towards solving GHG emissions. It also provides electric utility companies with a low-capital-cost way to trim stack emissions, improve operating flexibility, and push back generating limitations,” she said.

The CEO of the CCSD, Frank van Schagen, said that Government support for co-firing research is particularly relevant considering the extensive reserves of coal seam gas in Queensland.

Presenting the keynote address at the CSM conference, Queensland’s Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Stephen Robertson, said that CSM offered environmental benefits of significantly reduced greenhouse gases when used for the generating process.

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