Hamilton was poached from his position as Liquid Niugini Gas chief executive, where he headed a $US5-7 billion liquefied natural gas joint venture project in Papua New Guinea.
He did not want to specify reasons for leaving Liquid Niugini, but told International Longwall News he was looking forward to working with Exergen’s unique technology which he said could upgrade brown coal from Victoria’s vast reserves to export quality.
Exergen has developed Continuous Hydrothermal De-watering (CHTD) technology which has had successful trials at a pilot facility in Beaconsfield, Tasmania.
According to the company, the core of its technology is a vertical autoclave that uses gravitational head pressure and a small amount of energy to transform the molecular structure of brown coal to remove up to 80% of its moisture content.
As brown coal is up to 70% water by mass, Exergen said its CHTD process could exert 100 atmospheres of pressure and 300C of temperature upon brown coal slurry for a period of a few minutes.
“The water is extracted from the coal in a liquid state rather than as a vapour, closely replicating the natural transformation that, over millions of years, creates high-grade black coal from sub-bituminous brown coal,” Exergen said.
Hamilton had a 21-year career with oil major Shell before his role with Woodside Petroleum’s NWS Ventures.
Having no prior experience with coal, his upcoming departure from the LNG scene has taken oil and gas industry observers by surprise.
Exergen shareholders include India’s Tata Power, engineering and services giant Thiess and coal process engineering specialist Sedgman.