Report: Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power station in North Queensland is viable

The Townsville Bulletin ran a revealing article recently (see link at bottom of page).

It turns out a report delivered earlier this year confirming the viability of a high-efficiency, low-emission (HELE) coal-fired power station was never made public.

Prepared by Brisbane-based consultancy Energy Edge for the Queensland State Labor government, the report details the viability and broader benefits of an ultra-supercritical plant in north Queensland, including improvements in energy reliability and affordability.

“The report says the introduction of a new ultra-supercritical (USC) coal-fired asset would allow existing subcritical power stations to be phased out.”

Energy policy failure has negatively impacted the reliability and affordability of electricity for all Australians. it’s a huge issue for all voters. Such reports are essential to a balanced analysis of our future energy mix.

The backdrop to energy policy failure is broad and complex. From ‘gold-plated’ networks to the $3 billion a year in renewable subsidies, much of it boils down to the elusive balance between reliability, affordability and emissions. The so-called ‘trilemma’. Unfortunately, ideology and dogma

If we want zero emissions, renewables aren’t yet affordable (hence subsidies) or reliable (hence batteries and gas back up).

If we want affordable power, it tends to be higher emission coal that fits the bill. The cheapest is brown coal, which is the most CO2 intensive.

Nuclear can achieve reliable power with zero emissions, but it’s not on the table.

So, what to do? Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet (there never is).

In short, we believe HELE technology is the best option for maintaining reliability and affordability, especially as we retire old coal power stations.

However, Victorian lignite, with its high moisture content, isn’t suitable for use in ‘off-the-shelf’ HELE technology. Lignite needs to be dried first.

Drying lignite is easy. Drying it efficiently and cost-effectively as part of a viable HELE solution… that’s a challenge.

Our Coldry process can meet that challenge.

You see, most drying processes utilise high temperature or high pressure, or both. This requires a high amount of high-grade (expensive) energy input.

This is where Coldry differs. Coldry is a low temperature, low-pressure process. It achieves this using a unique combination of:

  • Brown coal densification
  • Waste heat utilisation

Brown coal densification is a physical and chemical phenomenon exhibited by a range of high-moisture coals that results in the expulsion of moisture and densification of the remaining coal solids.

Waste heat is a by-product of power generation. In the case of brown coal power stations, almost one-third of the energy of the coal is lost as waste heat.

The Coldry process operates at relatively low temperatures ranging from 30 to 60 degrees Celsius, which allows it to harvest this tremendous low-grade waste heat source for its drying energy.

The potential?

It’s possible to design and build an integrated Coldry-HELE power station that could deliver emissions cuts of up to 62% compared to conventional brown coal-fired power generation while delivering reliable, affordable power.

As a gateway process, Coldry can also enable the use of lignite in higher value applications such as coal to oil, gas, fertiliser and other chemicals.

In short, this article highlights the viability of HELE technology here in Australia, and we believe Coldry can make HELE technology an option for markets with brown coal.

Click below to read more…

Report: Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power station in North Queensland is viable

Townsville Bulletin | 1 Nov 2017

A SECRET report buried by the State Government has revealed an ultra-supercritical coal-fired power station in the North is viable, citing the need for new technology to allow for existing plants to shut down.

Source: Report: Ultra-supercritical coal-fired power station in North Queensland is viable | Townsville Bulletin