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MEI Online: Environmental Issues: Latest News: March 12th 2003


:: Clean Power On Show In India  

New CSIRO technology for generating clean power from coal mining waste will go on show in India this week. The CSIRO-Liquatech hybrid coal and gas turbine could help India, one of the world's biggest coal producers, generate cheaper and greener power.

The system, which was developed at the CSIRO's Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies, will feature in a Federal Government trade delegation to India this week.

There are more than 500 coal mines in India. Coal accounts for nearly 70% of its power generation.

The turbine system will generate electricity from waste coal not suitable for normal power generation and methane gas that would otherwise have polluted the atmosphere.

Research Investment Manager in CSIRO Exploration and Mining in Queensland, Dr Cliff Mallett, said India not only had a vast network of coal mines supporting power generation, but also a steel industry that was also a major coal user.

"The major sources of coal for this system would be the currently under-utilised waste coal available and the methane gas now escaping into the atmosphere from inefficient coal mines," Dr Mallett says.

"India is already heavily coal-dependent, and being under no constraint to cut back coal production - as it is not subject to the Kyoto agreement provisions which apply to many developed countries - the coal industry in the sub-continent is expected to increase production over the next decade."

The system works by burning methane and waste coal in a kiln to produce hot air that is then passed through a specially adapted heat exchange unit to drive a gas turbine which generates the electricity.

The CEO of the Liquatech Turbine Company, John Hocken, said India, as one of the world's biggest coal producers, would have a great deal to gain from the development. "There is a huge potential for India to invest in this technology," Mr Hocken said. "The majority of the country's power stations are coal-fired since coal is a plentiful resource and therefore relatively cheap." "The proposal offers an opportunity for India to burn much of its waste coal in the generation of power in regional areas."

CSIRO and its partners have developed the system over three years as part of a CSIRO research project targeting a 75 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from coal mines over the next 20 years.
Funded by CSIRO, the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP), the NSW Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) and the Brisbane-based Liquatech Turbine Company, the turbine-furnace technology will be commercially demonstrated in NSW this year.



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Dr Cliff Mallett
CSIRO Exploration & Mining
07 3327 4440
0419 753 719

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