Green­power chases holy grail of coal

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor -

TRI­ALS: US sci­en­tists hosted by an Aus­tralian com­pany say they have dis­cov­ered tech­nol­ogy to turn coal into crude oil C O AL e x p l o r e r G r e e n - power En­ergy be­lieves it may have lucked on to the holy grail of coal to liq­uid tech­nol­ogy that would al­low it to pro­duce crude oil.

The com­pany is host­ing two US sci­en­tists who say they con­ducted suc­cess­ful lab tri­als on a 60kg sam­ple of brown coal from Vic­to­ria’s Gipp­s­land re­gion.

The tech­nol­ogy they de­vel­oped could use Vic­to­ria’s vast brown coal re­serves for the pro­duc­tion of syn­thetic crude oil, Univer­sity of Texas sci­en­tists Richard Billo and John Pri­est claim.

The s c i e nt i s t s p l a n a larger scale pilot plant to fur­ther test the tech­nol­ogy.

Coal to liq­uid tech­nol­ogy is of­ten ma­ligned be­cause it is re­garded as too ex­pen­sive, car­bon-in­ten­sive, comp l i c a t e d a n d l a b o u r - i n t e n s i v e , w i t h l a r g e amounts of wa­ter re­moved.

High crude prices are needed – such as the cur­rent $ US100-plus per bar­rel prices – to jus­tify the cost.

Prof Billo won’t re­veal how the coal to liq­uid tech­nol­ogy works other than to say it uses a cold rather than com­mon heat process. He said the in­tro­duc­tion of any car­bon tax would make the tech­nol­ogy more vi­able, with Prof Billo say­ing the tech­nol­ogy pro­duced a low emis­sion to pu­rity rate of 2 per cent.

G r e e n p o w e r E n e r g y ’ s shares shot up by 76 per cent in a day this week from 3.8 cents to 6.7 cents with a lift in vol­umes.

The jump re­sulted in a ‘‘ please ex­plain’’ from the ASX, but the com­pany cited strong drilling re­sults by Em­pire Oil & Gas off­shore West­ern Aus­tralia near an area Green­power En­ergy in which has in­ter­ests.

Green­power shares closed at six cents, down 1.1 cents.

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