|BCIA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Phil Gurney|
|New Opportunities for Brown Coal|
|In recent months, the Australian manufacturing sector has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. |
|Announcements of company closures such as Ford, Holden and Toyota in the car industry, and Alcoa in the aluminium sector, have had a significant impact on local employment prospects, and will have flow-on effects such as a drop in demand for electricity. |
If Australia is to retain a world class manufacturing capability, there must be compelling reasons for the manufacturing to be done locally – otherwise the industry will continue to move off shore. The unique chemical makeup of Victorian and South Australian brown coal assets has the potential to give Australia such an unassailable local advantage.
Brown-coal derived manufacturing opportunities will not be created overnight, and new industries will need to address environmental considerations. However, the ability to produce a wide range of products from coal has the potential to underpin a number of industry sectors, from manufacture of liquid fuels and fertilisers, through to production of biodegradable plastics, petrochemicals and upgraded coal products.
The creation of a manufacturing hub, supporting a wide range of manufacturing sectors, will require Australia's State and Commonwealth Governments to take the lead in addressing the common challenges. These include transport and logistics infrastructure, carbon capture and storage facilities, R&D to localise technology to address the unique properties of Australia’s brown coals, as well as the provision of a policy environment that encourages industry players to work collaboratively in projects requiring common infrastructure.
| BCIA, together with its members, has put a submission to Government through the manufacturing industry taskforce, and will be seeking to continue to support the R&D needs of the future industry.|
In this issue of Perspectives on Brown Coal (Perspectives) we once again have an excellent range of articles.
Picking up on the theme of manufacturing, Ken Anderson provides a follow up to his well received presentation from BCIA’s December seminar, and outlines how Thermaquatica is developing a new oxidative process for generation of coal derived chemicals.
Sharmen Rajendran, a PhD student at Monash University, provides his personal view of the Shell Global Energy forum, where he presented a paper as one of four finalists from universities across eastern Australia.
Lian Zhang provides an update on the BCIA funded brown coal oxy-fuel project that he has just completed in conjunction with Shanghai Boiler works, local electricity generators and international research partners. Lian also gives us an update on the Australia-China seminar co-sponsored by BCIA and ATSE.
You will also find all the news about other events in BCIA’s seminar program, the progress of our PhD top-up scholarship program, and our skills development activities.
As always, I trust that you will enjoy this issue of Perspectives.