Clean Coal Conversion
During the 1950’s, Russia started developing new methods of power generation, including coal slurries. Development continued through from the mid-1980’s to 2004, with full commercialisation of methods and techniques hampered in Russia due to the abundance of oil and gas, which translates into low prices. This in turn made the use of alternative methods of coal fuel preparation and combustion uneconomical.
As the price of coal and gas has risen significantly over the past decade, Russia renewed its interest in the development and implementation of Coal Water Fuel technology for district heating and power plants. Astra’s Joint Venture partner, Interecotech, has heavily invested in research within these fields. A group of Russian scientists and power engineers utilised the latest engineering solutions, cost effective technologies and equipment using low rank of coals for production of Uniform Activated Coal Water Fuel (UACWF) to be used as feedstock for production of low cost hydrogen enriched Syngas. Interecotch further developed and patented its cutting-edge PDG process to deliver a high efficiency Power Generation Technology.
While Coal Water Fuel has been developed and used in Russia for over 50 years, Uniform Activated Coal Water Fuel is a new and highly advanced feedstock variation of Coal Water Fuel. Astra aims to access cheap and abundant Syngas through the application of its UCAWF and PDG process.
Astra has begun the process of acquiring Interecotech’s clean coal conversion technology. A Joint Venture has been signed between Astra’s subsidiary, Astra Energy Technologies Pty Ltd (AET), Interecotech Pty Ltd (IET), CG Technologies Pty Ltd and Sevastyanov Vladimir Petrovich, which will result in retaining a 75 per cent stake in the JV Company, Astra Interecotech Pty Ltd (AI).
The initial stage of the acquisition, to occur by late 2012, includes all intellectual property pertaining to the technology, along with the independent reports for global marketing and financing of the commercial plants.
Astra’s clean 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, significantly reducing generation costs and resulting in greater energy independence.
The environmentally friendly technology outlines the scientific process required for utilising poor quality coals for the production of Activated Coal Water Fuel (ACWF) and low cost hydrogen enriched Syngas. The resulting product is a long-term, and cheaper, alternative to oil for generating electricity in modern power stations. The patented, revolutionary, Integrated Coal Slurry Gasification Combined Cycle (ICSGCC) technology comprises of three highly integrated processes which are capable of being implemented independently.
Any type of coal can be used as feedstock for ACWF or UACWF, with low quality Lignite or brown coal being ideal. This enables developing countries with low quality thermal coal reserves to gain greater energy independence by utilising locally mined reserves rather than importing black coal or diesel for their power generation requirements, which is unsustainable long term due to import expenses. By reducing feedstock and importation costs, significant savings can be seen in the overall costs to produce heat and electricity (about 30 to 70 per cent lower than equivalent oil or gas, depending on the geographical area).
- Production of UACWF (Uniform Activated Coal Water Fuel)
- Production of Syngas
- Production of electricity
AI also intends to introduce an additional step to the process, Coal Slurry Gasification, which uses ACWF as a super-charged feedstock. This process can also be used for high yield, low emission production of syngas, the basis for a revolutionary new type of IGCC process. The syngas produced utilizing this technology can be used for direct combustion in converted coal or oil fired boilers, coal-to-liquid fuel production, electricity generation, and can replace natural gas to produce heat.
The technology is based on ultrasonic chemistry, activating coal water mixtures so coal behaves as a liquid, which provides cleaner and higher efficiency combustion. As the technology is a bolt-on device for existing power stations to process low quality coal as an alternative to diesel, fuel oil and black coal expensive upgrades are not required. This means pulverized coal combustion (PCC) plants can be converted to ACWF plants, utilising IET coal preparation and combustion technology, with very low capital costs in a short space of time.
Some benefits of utilising IET coal water fuel in PCC plants include:
By using ACWF technology, 20 to 30 per cent less coal is required for the same MW output compared to a power plant which does not use ACWF using the same coal. Additionally, the efficiency of the ICSGCC (3 Cycles) technology, utilising brown and/or black coals, is estimated to be in the range of 80 to 85 per cent, with CO2 emissions of 0.40 to 0.38t/MWh.
- Significant reduction of greenhouse gas CO2, NOX, SOX
- Minimising slagging of boilers using high ash coals
- Significantly more efficient use of available energy from carbon and volatiles in the raw material compared to other processes which underburn both carbon and volatiles
- Reduction in energy input for coal preparation
- Reduction in coal preparation plant size to approximately one third of standard size
- Reduction in capital operating costs
- Reduction in fuel and import costs
Astra has acquired all documentation and know-how of the technology, which is covered by a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, and will make this available to potential investors and partners. Astra will be able to receive quality returns on its proposed investment acquisition in a relatively short time-frame as the first commercial plant outside of Russia will be able to begin production 12 to 24 months after the acquisition of the IP is completed.