Brown coal receives R&D funds

THE Australian brown coal industry has received a boost, with Brown Coal Innovation Australia receiving $4.2 million in funding for six research and development projects in brown coal low emissions and product innovation technologies.
Brown coal receives R&D funds Brown coal receives R&D funds Brown coal receives R&D funds Brown coal receives R&D funds Brown coal receives R&D funds

Brown coal mining in Victoria

Lou Caruana

BCIA chairman Gerry Morvell said the total leveraged value of the initial BCIA 2011 research projects was $10 million including industry, research institute and state and federal government funding.

“Our 2011 R&D funding round proves the significant international industrial interest in Australia’s world-class brown coal resource and the enormous potential to create new industry and employment opportunities for our nation,” he said.

“We have an opportunity to lead the world in the creation of new low-emissions coal technologies and to ensure Australia’s future economic prosperity. Each project funded by BCIA offers Australia a substantial opportunity to maximise low-emissions utilisation of our natural resources for the benefit of all Australians.”

As part of its initial 2011 R&D program funding release, BCIA has committed to research emerging technologies for the capture of CO2 at a lower energy and cost penalty compared with existing technologies and an international collaboration to enable gasification for brown coal-fired power generation.

BCIA has made an investment in skills development over the last 18 months and finalised state and commonwealth funding agreements.

BCIA’s 2011 R&D funding program will also support trials to determine the merits of using brown coal to improve soil health and plant yields and research of processing methodologies to reduce spontaneous combustion of dried or de-watered brown coal.

“Both of these projects offer the potential of significant new domestic and global markets for Australian brown coal,” Morvell said.

The remaining two projects in the initial 2011 funding program are focused on determining the best-performing, most cost-effective solvent absorbent technologies for the capture of CO2 emissions from brown coal and completing a literature review of next generation high-efficiency, low-cost, integrated drying and gasification systems for the production of power and high-value products from brown coal.

Chief executive Dr Phil Gurney said BCIA had established cost and risk reduction targets as focus areas for its 2011 R&D investment program.

“We believe these targets – which seek to demonstrate cost-effective technologies to significantly reduce emissions from brown-coal utilisation by 2020 – are necessary to ensure a sustainable future for brown coal,” he said.

BCIA is negotiating contracts for a further four R&D projects submitted via the 2011 funding round. These projects are expected to be announced during the next two months and will represent a further $4.1 million in BCIA funding, plus an additional $10.6 million in total leveraged funds.