BCIA Activities Presented at US Clean
Coal Conference

By Prof Klaus Hein, BCIA Research Fellow

For the first time, the Australian brown coal R&D scene was presented at this year’s ‘International Technical Conference on Clean Coal & Fuel systems’; better known as the ‘Clearwater Clean Coal Conference’.

A number of Australian experts in the brown coal field attended the conference held in Florida, United States, in June this year. The Australian delegates participated in panel sessions and provided 10 technical presentations which were all well attended.

Now in its 37th year, this annual conference was first held in 1975 and has been held in Clearwater, Florida since 1998.

The conference is a well-established forum for exchange between industry and science in the field of coal utilisation in both application and research, with the aim to provide attendees with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information.

Panel discussions with international experts, plenary and technical sessions and tutorials present detailed information on fuels, advances in technology and equipment as well as strategies and regulatory and political issues. An exhibition and a technical site visit complete the program.

Approximately 250 delegates participated in the conference with 45 per cent representation each from industry and academia and 10 per cent from government.

Technical highlights this year included sessions on advanced and high efficient coal combustion and multi emission control, biomass co-utilisation, gasification and syngas conversion to high value products and carbon capture technologies such as chemical looping, oxyfuel and post-combustion processes.

As well as participating in the conference, Australia also had an information stand on ‘Coal in Australia’ as part of the exhibition. The stand proved popular with conference delegates and included representatives and information from Xstrata, BCIA, ANLEC R&D, CSIRO and Monash and Newcastle universities.

International presentations on the use of brown coals and lignites were specifically included in this year’s conference program.

Experts from the USA, Europe, China, Japan and Australia participated on a panel titled ’Utilisation of Low Rank Coals – Present Status and Future Chances’, organised by the conference co-chair and BCIA Research Fellow, Professor Klaus Hein.

Views were presented on the on-going or potential utilisation of these fuels for electricity generation, as well as for the production of high value goods such as fuels and chemicals. A summary is provided below:

  • Prof Dr Yue Guanxi, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, showed the large resources of lignites predominantly situated in inner Mongolia and the strong increase in the utilisation of these fuels for the production of both power and chemicals.
  • Mr Frank Kluger, Alstom Power, Stuttgart, Germany, gave an insight into the present utilisation of brown coals in Europe, the technology development for large scale combustion equipment and the recent activities on efficiency improvements and CO2-emission reduction.

  • Mr Katsuya Tanaka, Nippon Steel Engineering, Tokyo, Japan, explained the Japanese strategy to convert low rank coals into syngas as feedstock for the chemical industry and described a proposed technology for such processes.
  • Mrs Jenny Tennant, Department of Energy, Morgantown, USA, explained the Low Rank Coal Research Program of the US Government and described the on-going activities of the various partners involved, followed by the expectations related to gasification application for highly efficient electricity generation in the USA.
  • Dr Michael Swanson, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, USA, described recent developments in industrial application of gasification of lignite in his country.
  • Dr Phil Gurney, CEO of BCIA, Melbourne, Australia, presented an overview of the brown coal sector in Victoria, strategies and technologies for low emission use of such fuels and highlights of brown coal research projects supported by BCIA.

In addition, several papers on brown coal R&D activities in Australia were presented in the conference technical sessions including ’Carbon Capture Considerations for Victorian Brown Coal’ by Dr Gurney.

Two papers were also presented on BCIA co-funded research projects on-going at Monash University and CSIRO and CO2CRC presented papers detailing their post-combustion projects at the Loy Yang and Hazelwood power plants in the Latrobe Valley.

The conference closed with a visit to the 300MWe IGCC Polk Power Plant of the Tampa Electric Company (pictured).

ABOVE: Tampa Electric Company 300MWe IGCC Polk Power Plant.

Based on the strong interest evident in low rank coal technology this year, the 2013 Clearwater Clean Coal conference program will again include this topic. Visit www.coaltechnologies.com to view the call for submissions.

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ABOVE: The Low Rank Coal Utilisation panel, from left to right:
- Mrs Jenny Tennant, Department of Energy, Morgantown, USA
- Dr Phil Gurney, CEO at BCIA, Melbourne, Australia
- Mr Katsuya Tanaka, Nippon Steel Engineering, Tokyo, Japan
- Dr Christopher Zygarlicke, Energy and Environmental Research Center, Grand Forks, USA
- Prof Klaus Hein, Moderator of the panel and Co-chair of the conference, Monash University, Clayton, Australia
- Mr Frank Kluger, Alstom Power, Stuttgart, Germany
- Prof Dr Yue Guanxi, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
- Dr Michael Swanson, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, USA