$5 million to revolutionise low emission coal technologies
Tuesday 8 June 2010
Researchers from the University of Newcastle have been granted more than $5 million towards four projects exploring low emission coal technologies that have the potential to transform the future of Australia's coal mining industry.
The NSW Clean Coal Council funding was announced today at the NSW Low Emissions Coal Technologies Summit in Sydney and includes more than $3 million for a project to explore mineral carbonation - a new technology that captures carbon from coal fired power stations and converts it into useful materials.
Professors Bogdan Dlugogorski and Eric Kennedy from the University's Priority Research Centre for Energy, in partnership with the GreenMag Group, will build a demonstration plant to show how large amounts of CO2 can be safely and permanently stored.
The process involves reacting carbon emissions with rocks commonly found in NSW to produce what are known as magnesium carbonates, which can be used as aggregate in construction, in soils and fertilisers, or pressed into pavers and bricks.
"We know this technology works in the lab and with this funding we can develop a demonstration plant to prove the technology at a much larger scale," Professor Dlugogorski said.
"Our aim is that the plant, to be built at the University's Callaghan campus, will provide data to further scale-up testing in the future."
Professor Kennedy said the research team wanted to show there were viable options for New South Wales to store its carbon dioxide emissions.
"This technology would allow the NSW coal industry to be an economical and clean source of energy in Australia," Professor Kennedy said.
"The University of Newcastle secured almost one-third of the total funding package announced today, which demonstrates the calibre of our researchers and their work in this vitally important field," the University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Mike Calford, said.
Note: A photograph of Professors Bogdan Dlugogorski and Eric Kennedy is available on request.