Greenpower chases holy grail of coal
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.