The relevant research and development activities are grouped into a multi-phase program of study comprising five phases which start at the examination of the performance characteristics of a laboratory-scale proof of concept SDL prototype under controlled settings and end with a pilot-scale demonstration.
The key outcomes of the current phase II include identification of the optimum operating conditions for SDL process; identification of the stone dust tolerance limit for moisture and coal dust; enhancement in the cyclic stability of the stone dust material; and demonstration of SDL process for 150 hours of operation.
While each phase of the proposed study is the subject of a separate project, they are complementary.
However, the overall program is stage-gated and, hence, commencement of each phase is subjected to successful completion of prior phases.
SDL is the only VAM abatement process being developed by an Australian university which provides a near zero emission mining option. SDL process development has positioned Australia in the forefront for the development of innovative zero emission VAM abatement technology.
The work plan included comprehensive experimental and modelling work. The optimum SDL process conditions were evaluated in a Fluidised Bed Reactor.
Also, further improvement in the stability of stone dust with different additives was studied, as well as the effects of moisture and coal dust on stability. Extensive testing and experimentation was carried out on the prototype 10 l/min SDL plant, with over 150 hours of operation logged.
Detailed process simulations were carried out to investigate the feasibility of the SDL process, specifically to quantify the energy footprint and identify the self-sustainability of the SDL process. Comparison of the SDL process has also been made with TFRR.
Finally an empirical model was developed to assist with reactor design and allow for the prediction of a number of operating parameters in a continuous system utilising the inherent kinetic parameters derived from single fluidised bed experiments.