Research Developing Brown Coal's Future...
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BCIA is not the only organisation seeking to build a future for Australian brown coal through R&D. In fact, BCIA strongly encourages projects where there is significant industry involvement as this helps to better define problems, disseminate research results, accelerate adoption of new technologies and provides further funding.

When contributions from industry, research institute and state and federal government funding are included, the total value of our 2011 research funding round is well in excess of $20 million.

There is also significant international interest and BCIA’s research portfolio involves researchers from Japan, the USA and Europe, as well as research teams across Australia.

The projects funded under the 2011 portfolio are:

• $1,500,000 of funding for ‘CO2CRC’s Solvent-Based Carbon Capture Technology in Brown Coal-Fired Power Plants – Capture Demonstration for Cost Reduction’; submitted by CO2CRC Limited in association with International Power Hazelwood, CO2CRC partners and Process Group.

• $1,500,000 of funding for ‘Combined Low-Cost Pre-Treatment of Flue Gas and Capture of CO2 from Brown Coal-Fired Power Stations Using a Novel Integrated Process Concept – coCAPco’; submitted by Loy Yang Power Management Pty Ltd, in association with TRUenergy and CSIRO Energy Technology.

• $1,300,000 of funding for ‘High Efficiency Power from Victorian Brown Coals’; submitted by CSIRO Advanced Coal Technology. Project participants include Exergen Pty Ltd and Ignite Energy Resources Pty Ltd.

• $1,000,000 of funding for ‘Development of Contactor Internals for Application of the WES Froth Generator Gas/Liquid Absorption Technology’; submitted by Process Group Ltd in association with Westec Environmental Solutions LLC.

• $605,000 of funding for ‘Development of Chemical Looping Process for Fuels Production and CO2 Capture from Victorian Brown Coals’; submitted by Monash University in association with TRUenergy, CSIRO Process Science and Engineering and leading European universities engaged in chemical looping research, Chalmers University of Technology Gothenburg, Sweden and Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.

• $603,028 of funding for ‘Development of Entrained Flow Gasification Technology with Brown Coal for Generation of Power, Fuel and Chemicals’; submitted by Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, in association with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

• $525,000 of funding for ‘Improved Handling of Lignite-Based Products’; submitted by Monash University. Project participants include Environmental Clean Technologies Ltd, LawrieCo, and Keith Engineering (Australia) Pty Ltd.

• $500,000 of funding for ‘Next Generation Lower Emissions Gasification Systems R&D – Power and Products’; submitted by HRL Technology Pty Ltd in association with Monash University and CO2CRC.

• $450,000 of funding for ‘Coal Derived Additives: A Green Option for Improving Soil Carbon; Soil Fertility and Agricultural Productivity?’; submitted by Monash University. Project participants include Clean Coal Victoria, International Power, LawrieCo, Exergen Pty Ltd and Environmental Clean Technologies.

• $300,000 of funding for ‘Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain Development’; submitted by HRL Developments Pty Ltd in association with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Limited. Project participant is HRL Technology Pty Ltd.


In addition to the provision of funding through grant programs, BCIA also funds research studies in areas of significant interest to its members and to inform the direction of the company’s future funding activities. An example is the Novel CO2 Capture Task Force study jointly funded by BCIA, ANLEC R&D and Global Carbon Capture Science Institute (GCCSI).

The Task Force study is an independent assessment to ascertain the feasibility potential and costs in Australia of novel CO2 capture and sequestration techniques such as bio-sequestration and mineral sequestration. The project is intended to inform organisational decision making about R&D by providing a development horizon for various storage technologies.

BCIA also contributes to intelligence gathering and analysis of global R&D for the company’s members and the broader Australian community. As a result, we are rapidly establishing our authority as a trusted source of independent research and analysis in both the brown coal and innovation sectors.

For more information on our R&D innovation portfolio, visit the research section of our website.


BCIA has conducted two R&D funding rounds since our inception in 2009 and our innovation portfolio currently encompasses 20 research projects and six student projects. Our key brown coal R&D project areas are:

• low-cost, low-emissions (improved efficiency) power generation
• capturing CO2 emissions from brown coal projects
• alternate uses of brown coal, including low-emissions production of chemicals and fuels and novel, high value products.

Our innovation funding supports R&D initiatives that are technically excellent and that will lead to increased commercial deployment of low emissions brown coal technologies in the short, medium and long term.

Collaborative R&D activity between industry, research institutions and government is particularly encouraged.

In addition to R&D, BCIA funds skills activities that support the implementation and adoption of advanced brown coal technologies. We have established two BCIA Research Fellows, a program of PhD scholarships, and, more recently, we have brought a focus to the more practical, on-the-ground skills requirements.

To kick-start this we held two workshops in the Latrobe Valley to define a program of activities under the heading ‘Future skills requirements for the utilisation of brown coal assets in a low-emissions environment’. It was clear from these workshops that there is insufficient planning for the workforce requirements, assuming success of new low-emissions coal projects, and BCIA is now seeking to catalyse new activity in this area.