|Latrobe Valley Brown Coal R&D Stakeholder Roundtable Forum|
|More than 50 brown coal industry, government and R&D stakeholders attended a roundtable forum hosted by BCIA at Federation University’s Churchill Campus in the Latrobe Valley about six weeks ago.|
|The aim of the forum was to inform the development of an industry-led brown coal R&D agenda for Victoria. Our focus for this roundtable event was on shorter-term research activity, where outcomes can be delivered in a timeframe that will help accelerate the development of low-emissions, value-added, brown coal industries over the next five to ten years.|
Presentations were given by companies considering major new brown coal projects in Victoria, with a particular focus on possible and expected technology challenges, and from universities and research organisations which outlined their major research streams and capabilities.
In addition to the presentations, facilitated discussion enabled the participating organisations to contribute to the definition of common areas of research focus that offered the potential to contribute to multiple projects, as well as key areas of research activity that could accelerate or optimise specific individual projects.
The event helped build a consensus on future research topics required to support the development of environmentally responsible uses of brown coal and, equally importantly, new value-added industries and associated employment opportunities.
Topics of interest were extremely varied, and included brown coal upgrading for oils, chemicals and liquid fuels (including coal-water fuels), higher value coal products for iron and steel manufacture, briquetting and handling of dried coal products, hydrogen production from coal, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and the use and processing of waste streams from coal upgrading processes.
BCIA intends to use the outcomes of the forum as a foundation for future plans, including providing input into R&D focus areas, and the timelines and resourcing that will be needed to ensure focused R&D is undertaken to enable the development of new brown coal industries.
The forum will also assist BCIA’s consideration of how to best fund identified research areas through grants, tenders or commissioned research, open innovation challenges, or by partnering with research teams and institutes with expertise in specific areas.
|Above: Daniel Mourant, Process Chemist at Ignite Energy Resources (IER) presents on IER’s Cat-HTR Technology for upgrading brown coal.|
|One early outcome of the event has been the development of a proposal, for submission to the Australian Research Council (ARC), for a research hub focussed on advanced manufacturing opportunities for upgrading raw brown coal to a variety of value-added products.|
As funding available for brown coal R&D in Australia is currently very limited, the results of the BCIA forum will help identify the R&D priority areas that will enable the development of new industries, markets and diverse products from brown coal, and hence support regional development in the Gippsland area and Victoria more broadly.
|A further outcome from this event is the list of identified research topics that may help support the short-term demonstration activity. If you wish to receive a copy, please send an email requesting this to email@example.com.|
It should be noted that the research themes included in this document are by no means an exhaustive list of the R&D activities required to support future environmentally responsible uses of brown coal, but are primarily a reflection of the focus on advancing the outcomes of those projects presented on the day.