CTL gathers pace in Australia

GREENPOWER Energy has tapped GE on the shoulder to provide coal-to-liquids technology as it seeks to commercialise its coal resource in the Latrobe Valley.

James McGrath

The agreement with GE gives Greenpower an option to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of building a CTL plant based on GE’s technology.

GE’s process uses microwave energy to heat the coal to create plasma conditions, making the chemical conversion to liquids easier.

Should the numbers all line up, Greenpower will have an option to take a commercial licence for the project.

Tests will be carried out on Greenpower’s coal later this year with an eye towards a possible pilot plant in 2013.

Development drilling on Greenpower’s coal resource has delineated a resource of 567 million tonnes of brown coal at mineable depths.

Greenpower said the characteristics of brown coal in the Latrobe Valley made it ideal for the CTL process, including having a very low ash content.

The latest announcement adds to a good week for CTL in Australia, with the CNOOC-backed Ackaringa CTL joint venture telling the market last Tuesday that it was finally ready to drill 30 holes as it tries to gather technical data.

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