Australia’s national science agency CSIRO and its industry partners plan to conduct a trial of the Direct Injection Carbon Engine (pictured) intended to reduce emissions from brown coal-generated electricity by 50 percent compared to current technology.
Industry partners include Exergen, Ignite Energy Resources, AGL , MAN Diesel & Turbo and EnergyAustralia.
Brown Coal Innovation Australia (BCIA) has allocated A$1 million ($930,000) to the technology trial in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, the second largest and lowest cost brown coal resource in the world.
The coal technology involves converting coal or biomass into a water-based slurry that is directly injected into a large, specially adapted diesel engine. The fuel burns to produce intense temperature and pressure in the engine, which provides highly efficient power to turn electrical generators.
An existing laboratory-scale prototype engine will trial fuel based on Victorian brown coal and this work will be followed by trials using the same fuel in a large-scale test engine in Japan.
This research will help determine whether DICE can enable brown coal to produce Australia’s lowest cost, reduced CO2 electricity for the staged replacement of existing coal power plants.
Power plants that use natural gas and a new technology to squeeze more energy from the fuel release far less CO2 than coal-fired power plants do, according to research by NOAA and the University of Colorado, Boulder, published earlier this year. The so-called “combined cycle” natural gas power plants also release significantly less nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which can worsen air quality.
Image Credit: Murray McKean