Alternative Energy Policy
Astra Resources – Commercialisation of Alternative Energy Technologies
Alternative energies will play an ever-expanding role throughout the world and are becoming more cost effective as technologies develop and the price of conventional energy sources increases.
Astra Resources has continued to commercialise its alternative and green energy opportunities by investigating and investing in new areas of energy technologies.
The company has already made headway into the area of alternative energy technologies with a 45 per cent stake in the CO2 reduction technology for the revolutionary steel product, T-Steel, and a number of other innovations including rubber recycling and clean coal conversion, which will all provide the framework for its alternative energy platform.
Government and regulatory push for alternative and green energy
With assistance from the Australian governments recent commitment to renewable energy through the carbon tax and the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, businesses aiming to improve innovative energy proposals and technologies will be best placed to be funded, enabling new technologies to be used in a broader commercial arena.
Astra Resources intends to take advantage of this new regulatory framework both in Australia and will explore similar opportunities overseas.
Advancement in energy technologies and the business and jobs opportunities that flow from them are a key ingredient for economic prosperity.
However, given the complexities of global competitiveness, it remains a challenge to maintain or expand leadership in energy R&D without continued investment and innovation.
Astra Resources sees this as a vital step in the commercial viability of alternative energy technology, and is establishing a comprehensive inventory of conventional and alternative energy assets – from basic to applied R&D and intellectual property, and maximizing the effectiveness of government assistance in catalyzing and supporting these activities.
Astra Resources’ initial foray into alternative energy was cemented by the introduction of the CO2 reducing manufacturing technology of its T-Steel product.
Expert opinion from a study into the production of T-Steel confirms it has better qualities than traditional steels, while also indicating the CO2 emissions from its manufacture can be up to two times less than with traditional steel making technologies.
The second key alternative energy project Astra Resources is pursuing is the acquisition of clean coal conversion technology.
The technology outlines the scientific process required for the manufacture of Activated Coal Water Fuel (ACWF), and Uniform Activated Coal Water Fuel (UACWF) based on ultrasonic chemistry activating coal water mixtures so brown coal behaves as a liquid, which provides cleaner and higher efficiency combustion in existing coal-fired power stations.
The technology can be used to gasify the fuel to create hydrogen enriched Syngas, which can be used to manufacture high-grade fertilisers and as a cheaper and environmentally friendly alternative for generating electricity in IGCC plants.
This coal conversion technology is cleaner and less risky than nuclear power, and offers a long term and environmentally friendly alternative to oil for the power generation industry that can be used to supplement renewable energy sources.
The ACWF technology is a bolt-on device for existing power stations to process low quality lignite or brown coal as an alternative to diesel, fuel oil and black coal.
It removes the overriding need to construct new gas plants, which can take anywhere from six to seven years and will be incredibly costly, something investors are hoping to avoid as alternative energy is privileged by law.
European Union governments plan to meet 14 per cent of the Union’s electricity demand with wind power by 2020, however that won’t see immediate reductions in the current pressure power stations are feeling, with blackout and load shedding a very real possibility.
While Astra’s clean coal conversion technology is not CO2 free, the substantial reduction in greenhouse and noxious gas emissions will benefit any long-term desire to reduce CO2 emissions and fight climate change.
Astra’s coal conversion strategy will enable developing countries with a heavy reliance on importing costly high quality coal, which is unsustainable long term, to use locally mined, low quality thermal and brown coal reserves for power generation, thus significantly reducing generation costs and resulting in greater energy independence
The company’s third alternative energy project is Green Gum, which operates in the area of waste recycling of rubber into high value products.
The technology will be able to produce various grades of the rubber granules ranging from approximately 600 microns to 150 microns, which is almost talcum powder quality.
Astra Resources owns a 76 per cent stake in Green Gum Technologies through its subsidiary Astra Innovations Pty Ltd.
The patented process is able to produce fine and superfine granules with technology that produces a small carbon footprint.
One of the main advantages of the technology is the process uses substantially less energy for the production of fine granules than the traditional methods that utilise nitrogen freezing or high-pressure water.
The sale price of the granules in these premium industries is expected to exceed 600 Euros per ton, and for certain applications such as rubber manufacturing in excess of 1,500 Euros per ton with net margins as high as 50 per cent of the sale price.
The granule products are used in a range of industrial base materials and may be a substitute in the rubber industry, as a filler in the paint industry, and for the substitution of plasticisers in the plastic industry and are expected to be sold at a premium price into the plastics industry.
A particularly sought after property of the larger granules is the granule surface geometry which allows stronger and more consistent bonding under loads.
These larger granules are intended as an additive to be used in road construction by an Austrian company, and there is already interest from a prospective customer and outside investors in a joint venture production.
The plant will be able to produce over 15,000 tons per year, once the machinery installation is complete. The interest shown in the product suggests that 25,000 tons per year will be required in 2012 and possibly up to 30,000 tons soon after.
The plant is also located in a local government designated Green Belt, which further enhances the company’s green credentials.
Through Astra’s existing projects in Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Australia there will be room to move into further alternative energy realms, an important part of the company’s ongoing strategy in this area.
Astra Resources’ business model of working with strategically located resource partners to service the robust demand from the world’s major urbanisation growth markets of China and India means alternative energies will increasingly play a part in the ongoing expansion of the company.