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NEWS


SPOTLIGHT ON BCIA
What’s News at BCIA?

Overview from Latest BCIA Research Symposium
by David McManus, Research Investment Manager, BCIA

On 19 February 2015, BCIA held a Research Symposium to showcase the nine projects involved in its 2013 Funding Round. This was the first opportunity for the brown coal community to gain an overview of the scope of the various projects and their progress to date. Due to space limitations at the venue (CSIRO, Clayton), invitations to the event were limited mainly to interested parties in Victoria. Fortunately, the researchers agreed to share their presentations through the BCIA website, making them accessible to the wider community.

The nine projects presented in the 2013 Funding Round were selected to address three broad areas of technology development:
  1. Improved efficiency of brown coal-fired power generation;
  2. Adaptation of carbon capture technologies for use with brown coal-fired power generation; and
  3. Oxy-fired brown coal combustion technologies to further reduce the cost of carbon capture.

1. Improved efficiency of brown coal-fired power generation
The first area involves three projects, having short-, medium- and longer-term horizons for commercialisation:
  • ‘Laser based O2 and CO monitoring’, presented by Mr Tom Cooper of HRL Technology, is evaluating the potential of laser instruments to provide tighter control of boiler operation, with the potential to deliver significant efficiency improvements and cost savings.
  • ‘Victorian DICE development – derisking and small scale development’, presented by Dr Louis Wibberley of CSIRO Energy Technology, will demonstrate the potential of stationary diesel engines to deliver high-efficiency power using micronized coal-water mixtures as fuel.
  • ‘Feasibility study for Direct Carbon Fuel Cell on Victorian brown coal’, presented by Dr Christopher Munnings of CSIRO, is developing a roadmap for development of ultra-high efficiency electricity from brown coal, without combustion, by using fuel cell technology.

2. Adaptation of carbon capture technologies for use with brown coal-fired power generation
The second area involves four projects, investigating different aspects for adapting carbon capture technologies to deal with brown coal-specific issues:
  • ‘Evaluation of advanced PCC systems’, presented by Dr Erik Meuleman of CSIRO, is a major collaboration between CSIRO and IHI of Japan, to gain long-term operating data with efficient carbon capture technology and advanced amine solvents.
  • ‘Combined capture of CO2 from flue gas’, presented by Dr Erik Meuleman of CSIRO, is an extension of a successful previous project and is developing technology to recover both CO2 and SO2 in a single system, thereby eliminating the cost of a separate process step.
  • ‘Carbon monoliths for capture of CO2 by electrical swing adsorption’, presented by Professor Alan Chaffee of Monash University, involves a collaboration with Professor Paul Webley, of the University of Melbourne, and an EU-funded consortium of industry and academia. This project is investigating the use of brown coal itself as a carbon capture substrate, in conjunction with energy-efficient electrical swing adsorption technology.
  • ‘Dispersion modelling for CO2 pipelines: Fit for purpose and best practice techniques’, presented by Dr David McManus of BCIA, is compiling a best-practice report which will provide guidance on dense gas dispersion modelling techniques for use in the design of CO2 transportation pipelines in Australia.

3. Oxy-fired brown coal combustion technologies to further reduce the cost of carbon capture
The third area involves two projects that are developing technologies to produce highly concentrated flue gas streams, thereby reducing the size and cost of the carbon capture equipment required:
  • ‘Accelerating the deployment of oxy-fuel combustion technology’, presented by Dr Lian Zhang of Monash University, is investigating the propensity for ash formation and fouling when brown coal is burned in oxygen instead of air.
  • ‘Advancing the development of chemical looping combustion technology’ presented by Professor Sankar Bhattacharya of Monash University, is investigating the cost-effectiveness of new oxygen-carrier materials in a pilot-scale fluidized bed reactor system.

BCIA has invested $3.65 million in these nine low emissions R&D projects. Altogether, the total leveraged value of these projects is nearly $12 million, including contributions from research institutes, companies and the State and Commonwealth Governments (via Australian National Low Emissions Coal R&D).

The significance of these projects extends well beyond the confines of Victoria, through the active involvement of coal-fired power companies in NSW and Queensland. Major international technology providers are taking a leading role in these projects, intending to utilise the research outcomes to further the development of low emissions technologies for the world market.

From the feedback received from some of the 70 or so attendees at the Research Symposium, participants were impressed at the sophistication of the skills and equipment involved in the creation of new options for brown coal power production. It is quite remarkable to see engineers gaining hands-on training with advanced analytical equipment and modelling software, including gaining rare access to the ultra-high resolution capabilities of the Australian synchrotron. It is clear that the projects in BCIA’s 2013 Funding Round are providing the next generation of engineers and scientists with skills that will be highly regarded both in Australia and overseas.

Edited versions of each of the nine presentations given at the Research Symposium may be accessed from the BCIA website.

Please click
'NEWS AND EVENTS' and scroll down to 'Recent Events' to find the BCIA Research Symposium Presentations.




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