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Shell-Anglo Collaboration Says LaTrobe Coal Has Clean Coal Future


Shell-Anglo Collaboration Says LaTrobe Coal Has Clean Coal Future

Monday, August 25, 2008

There are viable emerging alternative uses for the massive brown coal deposits of Victoria’s LaTrobe Valley which could contribute to a reduction in Australia’s carbon emissions footprint, according to one of Australia’s lead clean coal energy proponents.

The strong forward looking forecast was touted in Melbourne today at the inaugural Paydirt 2008 Victoria Resources Conference by Monash Energy’s Project Director, Mr Roger Bounds.

Monash Energy is a collaboration of Shell and Anglo American and which jointly aims to develop a clean coal to liquid project in the LaTrobe Valley, east of Melbourne, utilising the latest low emissions technologies.

Mr Bounds told delegates that the greener energy opportunities for the LaTrobe Valley should be matched with a parallel effort to transform the Gippsland Basin – home to the Valley’s coal deposits and nearby offshore oil and gas production – into a central hub in southern Australia for carbon sequestration.

“Within the carbon climate debate, we have entered a transition period for these world-class coal deposits where there is demand for cleaner diesels and other by-products able to be generated through new-age coal to liquids technologies,” Mr Bounds said.

“The LaTrobe’s future, considering Australia’s increasing reliance on fuel imports – and pressures on the use of coal for power generation – can slow this global fuel reliance by using coal to liquids technology to produce sulphur free diesels, aviation fuel, fertilisers and feedstock for other cleaner petroleum products.

“Monash’s intention is to evolve a clean coal project in the LaTrobe capable of producing 70,000 barrels a day of mainly ultra clean, zero sulphur synthetic diesel.

“To achieve that volume will require, however, the mining and gasification of 30 million tonnes of coal a year – but that will require a carbon capture and storage capability (CCS) of 15 million tonnes a year. 

“That is equivalent to one year’s operation at the Loy Yang open-cut coal mine, or just over half the annual production capacity of the Geelong refinery.

“However, this CCS opportunity could be enhanced if there is a collective approach to using the Gippsland Basin as a central hub for sequestration – a carbon sink for greenhouses gases. There are enormous cost savings from co-operation that make CCS competitive.

“So effectively we convert LaTrobe’s brown coal deposits into two new energy streams of clean fuel and gas storage.”

Mr Bounds called however for more rapid Federal and State Government assistance in facilitating investment in the CCS infrastructure required to realise this vision. 

He said that a carbon dioxide price alone would not be enough to provide the investment certainty required. 

“Only at that point does this emerging sector have the opportunity to address the challenges of coordinating clean coal energy investment, risk, and regulatory certainty,” Mr Bounds said.

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