A Joint Venture has been formed to acquire and commercialise technology specialising in the manufacture and combustion of Activated Coal Water Fuel (“ACWF”) from low ranking black and brown coal which can be used as a high quality, low cost feedstock replacement for energy producers of coal water slurry (“CWS”), pulverized coal and heavy industrial oils.
The JV currently holds currently holds a trademark over the ACWF name and patent application for this know-how and process is currently being prepared for lodgement.
In addition to this, the JV has patented (currently only in Russia) a new and unique coal gasification method from a specialized feedstock known as Uniform Activated Coal Water Fuel (“UACWF”), Integrated Coal Slurry Gasification Combined Cycle (“ICSGCC”) technology, which will revolutionize the production of synthetic gas (“Syngas”) and electricity.
- The company (JV) mission is to demonstrate and commercialise the ACWF and ICSGCC technologies, resulting in the manufacture and combustion of ACWF and manufacture of UACWF as a feedstock for the gasification, respectively. The ultimate high-tech, high quality low cost alternative CWS and Syngas (produced via conversion of UACWF) will present itself as an economically viable solution to the world power generation market.
- The JV offers a true alternative group of fuels through its highly technical staff. With over 30 years of practical experience and know-how in the scientific power engineering field, The JV’s staff are well placed to integrate, design, manufacture and install industrial manufacturing equipment globally. The initial focus will be the development of the ACWF and ICSGCC technologies for the Russian, Indian, Australian, Chinese and European markets.
History and Current Status
- Since the end of 1950’s, the Soviet Union started developing new ways for utilising coal slurries and using them for power generation. It was due to economic changes in the Soviet Union and very low oil and gas prices which made the use of alternative ways of coal combustion useless. Recently, the Russian Federation renewed the development and implementation of CWS technologies for district heating and power generation. For the last 30 years, there has been substantial attention towards the development of new methods for the production of cheaper and higher quality CWS. The advanced methods for the production of such CWS is based on the thermal dynamic activation (“TDA”) technology. Despite all of the research undertaken by Russian and Western companies, a better solution remained to be found.
- The JV has heavily invested in research within these fields. A group of Russian scientists and power engineers, developed a new environmentally friendly and cost effective technology utilising low rank coals for production and combustion of ACWF.
- The JV further developed and patented the technology for the manufacturing of UACWF, cutting-edge Coal Gasification and high efficiency power generation technology, ICSGCC.
- New methods of CWS and Multi Component Fuels production, developed by the JV delivering a completely new kind of super-charged feedstock for gasifiers and combustion reactors named UACWF.
Current Status of ACWF and ICSGCC
- The JV is currently in the process of manufacturing an ACWF and combustion demonstration unit, in Novosibirsk – Russia, for the purpose of demonstrating its efficiency and integrity for prospective clients.
- The company plans to construct a commercial ACWF and combustion plant within the next 12 months and an ICSGCC demonstration module within the next 36 months, and is currently in discussions with parties in Russia, Australia and China concerning prospective commercial arrangements.
Objectives / Goals / Target
- The JV’s initial objective is to enter into an agreement to supply an ACWF plant to a major client in heat and power generation in Russia, China, Australia or Europe, within the next 3-6 months after the demonstration of manufacture and combustion of ACWF.
- The JV proposes to utilise the first ACWF plant, with the consent of the client, as a demonstration centre for marketing purposes.
Subsequent to the development of the commercial ACWF plant, the JV intends to design, manufacture and erect an ICSGCC demonstration module, within a time period specified above. It will then endeavour to source prospective clients for the utilisation of the ICSGCC technology, at which point it will commence the development of commercial ICSGCC equipment.
- The inventions relate to the field of heat generation and power engineering and more specifically, to systems for generating heat and electricity based on the use of solid fuel, primarily low quality black and brown coal.
- The JV’s ACWF technology (manufacture and combustion of ACWF) has been subject to significant scientific and technical improvements from the current TDA technology. The key improvements that have been incorporated into the JV’s ACWF technology are based on:
– Technological devices
– Software management
- The JV will utilise low ranking black and brown coal as a feedstock for the preparation of ACWF that will be fed into The JV’s combustion unit, specifically designed and manufactured for the combustion of ACWF. Using the milling and homogenisation technologies ACWF is produced by causing high energy and high pressure cavitation in the coal-water mixture. The thermal and chemical properties of the ACWF produced mean higher rates of reactivity when fed into combustion reactors. The input energy required to produce ACWF as a feedstock to other processes is much lower than for conventional feedstock, thereby reducing CO2 emissions over the process life-cycle.
- Any type of coal can be used as feedstock for ACWF, with low quality Lignite or brown coal being ideal. This enables developing countries with low quality thermal coal reserves to gain greater energy independence by utilising locally mined reserves rather than importing black coal or diesel for their power generation requirements, which is unsustainable in the long term due to import expense and process.
- The raw material (coal lumps) will be fed into the crusher which will process the coal, reducing its size to 3 – 10 mm. The coal will be fed into the disintegrator for program automated fine grinding. The disintegration process is highly technical and has been described form a scientific and engineering perspective in the JV’s patent application.
- Depending on the quality and characteristics of the feedstock and the configuration of the ACWF technology to achieve the optimal fuel quality, the coal will be disintegrated between 15 – 200 microns. Pre-heated water will be added to the disintegrated coal in the mixer. This intermediate coal water mixture is fed into the hydro-acoustic activator which uses hydro-shock cavitation processes to produce homogeneous substance. This substance will possess the properties that will allow the coal water mixture to remain in an integrated form for a substantial amount of time, without any additives or stabilizers.
- The CWF will be pumped into the correction vessel where the fuel and excess water will be separated and removed. This product, now titled as ACWF, will be fed into the storage facility.
- Assuming that the heating and power stations have adopted ACWF technology, ACWF can be utilised in place of:
– Pulverized coal
– Conventional CWSBenefits
- ACWF technology possesses significant benefits over its competitors. Through the utilisation of ACWF technology, 10 – 15% less coal will be required as feedstock for the same MW output in comparison to a power plant that does not utilise ACWF, however, using the same quality and characteristics of coal.
- The presence of water in ACWF reduces harmful emissions into the atmosphere and makes the product explosion-proof. By converting the coal into a liquid form, delivery and dispensing of the fuel can be simplified. Due to the relatively low cost of coal when compared to other energy sources, ACWF is a very competitive alternative to heating oil and gas.
- By replacing oil or gas with ACWF and dependent on the geographical area, the JV can achieve 30 – 70% lower price per unit energy.
Combustion of ACWF means:
– More effective burning of volatiles. Combustion of additional H2 and CH4 adds significantly to heat produced
– More effective burning of fixed carbon. Reduces to nearly zero of the proportion of unburned fixed carbon
– Increase of thermal efficiency of up to 5 – 15% (using Victoria’s, Australia brown coal) results in 4 – 8% reductions in CO2 output
– Significant reduction of greenhouse and noxious gas emissions CO2, NOX, SOX
– Minimising slagging of the boilers using high ash coals
– Significantly more efficient use of available energy from carbon and volatiles in the raw material compared to other processes which underburn both carbon and volatiles
– Reduction of energy input for coal preparation
– Reduction in coal preparation plant size to approximately one third of standard size
– Reduction in capital and operating costs
– Reduction in fuel and import costs
- ICSGCC technology for the conversion of coal to electricity comprises three key components:
– Preparation of UACWF as a feedstock for the gasifier
– Gasification of UACWF
– Combined Cycle (gas, steam and organic turbines) to generate electricity
- The patented and environmentally friendly technology outlines the scientific process required for utilising all types of coal, however, lignite and brown coal is most suited for the production of low cost hydrogen enriched Syngas. The resulting product is a long-term, and cheaper, alternative to oil, gas, pulverized coal and CWS for generating electricity in power stations.
- The technology produces high yielding, low emission Syngas, the basis of a revolutionary new type of Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle process. The Syngas produced utilising this technology can be used for direct combustion in converted coal or oil-fired boilers, coal-to-liquid fuel production, electricity generation and can replace natural gas to produce heat.
- This method of the ICSGCC technology is unique due to:
– The surface of the fuel droplets are sprayed with thinly dispersed coal particles, during exposure to radiation, migrating to the surface of the droplets during their drying, which form agglomerative membranes of the fuel droplets, bearing properties of durability and ductility
– Carbon dioxide is fed into the gasifier in cold form to harden the ash and to form the protective-boundary layer for the inner surfaces of the walls of the gasifier in the areas of cooling and hardening of plastic ash
– The production of synthetic gas with the highest known saturation of hydrogen occurs utilising activated coal water fuel as the hardened fuel droplets explode
- The JV has developed a new type of feedstock (UACWF), prepared by special milling and hydro-shock disintegration methods and equipment, for the production of hydrogen enriched Syngas and electricity. The technology for the preparation of UACWF focuses on the use of any type and grade of coal, including low-grade coal, waste of coal processing plants, slag containing unburned carbon and coal fines.
The method for the preparation of UACWF, which includes:
– grinding of coal
– coal degassing and classifying as per grain size
– mixing of coal with water and heating of pre-product hydro-mixture with heat energy, recovered from adjacent processes, including the finishing processing of slurry with impulse hydro-percussion impact, as well as the utilization of coal degassing, by burning them in a separate combustion chamber
- This process is unique due to:
– The coal lumps are grinded to the required level which is highly regulated. Through the mechanical destruction and performance of deep classification of coal, as per the grain size, it results in highly homogenous ACWF of different grades, differing from each other as per the grain size of coal particles used for their preparation. Partial degassing of coal is carried out not only during its grinding, but also during the hydro-percussion activation of fuel.
– In the course of spraying fuel forming droplets, its final mechanical activation is carried out, by giving each fuel droplet a determined amount of motion.
– When using vitrinite or leptynite grade coals, on the surfaces of the fuel droplets, before the start of the process of their combustion, finely dispersed coal particles are sprayed.
– The CWF is additionally activated, saturating the water component of the fuel, dissolved it under pressure of hydrogen and oxygen.
– During the transportation of the pre-product slurry between technological equipment used for the preparation of fuel and during the supply of the ready UACWF electromagnetic devices of transport activation (kinetic activation) are installed on the pipelines of the technological subsystems.
- The manufactured UACWF is fed into the gasifier in droplet format. The droplets are of equal size and the coal particles in the droplets having similar granulometric composition. The fuel droplets are introduced intermittently in separate doses of fuel with a certain amount of motion being imparted thereto.
- This method of gasification of coal uses gravity in a vertical gasifier to move reactive components within the gasifier. A protective gas is created to form a boundary layer to guard against cooking of the gasifier’s walls. The use of cooled protective gas hardens plastic slag, and is fed into the gasifier in rotating motion through apertures, located in the gasifier walls.
- The fuel droplets are administered at intervals in separate fuel doses and with the attribute of a certain amount of motion to each droplet. The vector component helps give rotational motion to each fuel dose of droplets and performs the formation of a stable duo-phase gaseous-liquid vortex structure. This facilitates the initial movement of the fuel dose of droplets by blowing downwards, along the centre of the formed vortex structure of the gaseous vortex and blowing mini gas vortices on the periphery of this formed vortex structure from side walls of the gasifier tangentially to it.
- The gasifier has several through-technical zones, one of which performs synchronized explosive combustion conversion of UACWF. Synchronization of the explosive behaviour of the conversion combustion is carried out with the help of sequential feeding of fuel doses into the gasifier at intervals, which conform to measured interval from entry of the fuel dose to its detonative combustion. The measurement of intervals from the injection of the fuel dose till its detonative combustion is carried out with the help of acoustic information, with the help of acoustic sensors.
- At the same time, to protect the inner surfaces of gasifier walls at the time of detonative conversion combustion, in the zone of this burning a shock protection is applied, increasing the density of the gaseous protective-boundary layer for a short time.
- The final conversion after burning of the fuel components, as they move through the gasifier, is carried out predominantly through exposure to radiation from the side walls of the gasifier, which also are the walls of the combustion chamber of the gas turbine. At this stage the protective-boundary layer along the inner surface of the gasifier walls is formed of the products of burning of the synthetic gas, which are fed from the side walls of the gasifier tangentially
- Therefore, the finishing activation of the fuel is carried out directly in the gasifier, in the environment of high pressure, thus providing a high degree of activation of fuel for its conversion.
- Pre-products of conversion, having vertical and tangential motion containing hardened fly ash and heavier particles of slag are released by rotational motion and in the process of their extraction from the gasifier they divert the heat of the slag to the technological process of preparation of gasified UACWF.
- In conclusion, hydrogen-rich Syngas is achieved through the properties of UACWF. The activated water components of UACWF decompose into hydrogen and oxygen gas, due to the intensity of the radiant energy in the reaction chamber of the gasifier.
- The invention provides for more extensive recovery of thermal energy from coal and more efficient electricity generation.
- The JV has acquired all documentation and know-how of the technology which is covered by non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, and will make this available to potential investors and partners. The JV will be able to receive quality returns on its proposed investment acquisition in a relatively short timeframe as the first commercial plant.
- The JV’s UACWF and gasification process will facilitate low cost:
– Coal-to-Liquid fuel production
– Electricity generation
– Heat generation
- The efficiency of the ICSGCC (2 Cycles) technology, utilising brown and/or black coals is estimated to be in the range of 64-70%, CO2 emissions 0.48-0.44t/ MWh.
16. Additionally, the efficiency of the ICSGCC (3 Cycles) technology, utilising brown and/or black coals, is estimated to be in the range of 80-85%, with CO2 emissions of 0.40-0.38t/MWh.
- In addition to the environmental benefits of ICSGCC, the estimated production cost, utilising Latrobe Valley brown coal, in the range of AUD 15-20/MWh (net), depending on the size of the power plant and price of coal.
- Current natural gas high price increased the cost of electricity produced by NG powered energy plants. Utilising local brown coal and the JV’s gasification technology, estimated Syngas production cost will cost approximately AUD 1.00-2.00/GJ, depending on the size of the gasification plant.
- An IGCC plant price typically falls within AUD 3,000 to 3,400 /kW range. With a degree of reuse of existing site infrastructure The JV’s ICSGCC plants are targeted to enter the marketplace with a price that will reduce that capital cost by 30% to 50%.
- For production of hydrogen enriched syngas the JV has developed UACWF as a new type of the feedstock which is prepared by special milling and hydro-shock disintegration methods and equipment. The JV technology for UACWF focuses on the use of coals of any type and grade, including low-grade coal, waste of coal processing plants, slag containing unburned carbon and coal fines.
- The JV has extensive know-how and is currently in the process of patenting the ACWF and combustion technology.
- The JV’s ICSGCC technology has been patented in Russia and a WIPO PCT application has been filed enabling the JV to commence the national phase of patent coverage throughout selected areas of the globe.
Stage of Development
- ACWF has been successfully developed over approximately 23 years and is a mature product. The JV has recently undertaken further development work over the past 3 months to enhance the ACWF manufacturing process, its combustion and quality of product. The JV proposes to commence to patent its latest innovative development processes during the second half of 2012.
UACWF and Coal Gasification Technology
- The JV proposes to construct a demonstration gasifier which will incorporate a UACWF system within 24 months of the commencement of the commercialization program.
Market and Industry Analysis
Market Size and Growth
World primary energy consumption grew by 5.6% in 2010, the strongest growth since 1973
Growth was above average for oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydroelectricity, as well as for renewables in power generation
Oil remains the dominant fuel with 33.6% of the global total but has lost share for 11 consecutive years
The share of coal in total energy consumption continues to rise
In 2010, world coal consumption for fuel use was 3335.8 million tonnes oil equivalent, growing by 7.6% over the last year
1. Source: BP
The Asia Pacific region continues to lead global energy consumption, accounting for 38.1% of the world total and for 67.1% of global coal consumption
Within the Asia Pacific countries, coal is the dominant fuel, accounting for 52.1% of energy consumption
Oil is the dominant fuel for all other regions except Europe and Eurasia, where natural gas is the leading fuel
Global primary energy demand is expected to grow by 40% by 2035
Oil continues to be the dominant fuel however this is decreasing
Coal is expected to make up 25% of energy source by 2035
Coal is expected to make up 25% of global energy source by 2035
1. Source: International Energy Agency
Global coal consumption grew by 7.6% in 2010, with Asia Pacific countries accounting for 79.7% of the increase. Consumption growth was above average in all regions except the Middle East and Africa.
Coal-fired power plants currently fuel 41% of global electricity production. In some countries, coal fuels a higher percentage of electricity.
- The target market for ACWF and gasification process includes:
– World power generation market
– Major electricity providers
– Major mining groups
– Major fuel manufacturers
- At present, there are more than 20 processing plants, producing coal water slurry with the total production capacity of more than 4 million tonnes in China; there are more than 5,000 oil burning boilers, available to be converted to CWS fuel, with the annual oil burning amount of over 39 million tonnes and the demand of coal water slurry about 117 million tonnes, if the ratio of calorific value of oil to CWS is 3 to 1. Meanwhile, with the increase of petroleum price and strengthening of environmental protection, more and more coal burning boilers and petroleum burning boilers will be reformed to CWS burning boilers.
- One known competitor to the JV is CHIPS Energy, a corporation for advanced clean coal and green energy application, based in Hong Kong which holds the licence of CWS technology developed by the Institute of Thermal Power Engineering of the Zhejiang University of China.
- The application of CWS technology developed by Zhejiang University has been proven in more than 90 steam and power generating plants utilizing CWS in China, with capacity ranging from 1.5 MW to 200 MW. It has also been applied in Japan, Italy and Russia.
- The JV does not consider CHIPS as a competitor as the JV can produce a higher quality fuel – the JV’s syngas produces 4 times the current industry level of hydrogen, the JV technology is monopolistic as no competitor can produce similar levels of hydrogen enriched gas. Furthermore, the JV can produce higher quality fuel at a much lower operational and capital cost as the example below demonstrates.
|Unit cost of preparation of ACWFTM (cost of coal not included)||$5 / tonne||$25 / tonne|
|Specific volume of the building installation for preparation of ACWFTM||40 – 50 m3/tonne per hour||1000m3/tonne per hour|
|Unit costs for construction of the facility for the preparation of ACWFTM||$6 /tonne a year||$16 / tonne a year|
The table above takes into account the value of electricity, water, salaries of operating personnel, maintenance services and overheads.
The technology can be easily installed into existing power plants with relatively low capital costs
- The technology is based on ultrasonic chemistry, activating coal water mixtures so coal behaves as a liquid, which provides cleaner and higher efficiency combustion. As the technology is a bolt-on device for existing power stations to process low quality coal as an alternative to diesel, fuel oil and black coal expensive upgrades are not required. This means pulverised coal combustion (PCC) plants can be converted to ACWF plants, utilising the JV’s coal preparation and combustion technology, with very low capital costs in a short space of time.
- For a 300MW black coal or diesel fuelled power station, the bolt-on device is expected to cost USD 40 million. Astra does not intend to get into stand-alone power generation, but will seek revenues from providing the technology, royalty and operating cost savings due to higher efficiency and lower fuel/logistics costs to existing power stations.
- ACWF has prospective growth potential for the Central European region, with vast resources of brown coal and a high demand for low emission production of electricity, and a number of potential users have welcomed the planned opening of the ACWF plants, indicating their intention to purchase the full initial output.
– By utilising coal the JV can replace heavy oils with ACWF for a fraction of the cost
– Through the gasification process the company can produce syngas which in turn can provide a cheaper alternative to natural gas
– Syngas can also be used to make other fuels like gasoline and diesel
– Syngas can be used to drive gas turbines to produce electricity and heat
As the JV syngas produces 4 times the current industry level of hydrogen, it means electricity generation cost can be approximately halved
Target Market Strategy
- The initial focus will be South East Asia followed by Latin America and Europe.
- Strategic alliances will be sought with leading power generation groups and in the case of China the company proposes to target various State Owned Enterprises that are heavily dependent upon power generation
- The company plans to approach the target market and users of the technology directly.
Positioning, Pricing and Sales Strategy
- A demonstration unit for the manufacture and combustion of ACWF is currently being manufactured. The JV intends to invite interested parties to examine the demonstration facility.
- Within the first 36 months, the JV proposes to showcase its demonstration gasifier to the world power generation market.
- Key industry leading corporations will be invited to view the demonstration facility and to review all aspects of the manufacture of UACWF and syngas including all technical specifications of syngas, as well as emissions produced during the process.
- The company proposes to exclusively licence both of the technologies on a geographical basis upon appropriate commercial terms.
- The pricing will be in the form of royalties, based on operating cost savings from the utilisation of the JV’s technology.
Operations and Development Plan
- The JV strategy involves a number of stages.
- Firstly the JV proposes to use its advanced mature know-how to establish an ACWF plant for the purpose of generating cashflow within 12 months of arranging funding. Astra is seeking to raise EUR 10 million to establish an ACWF plant and demonstration gasifier.
- Astra is currently in discussions with various interested parties in South East Asia wishing to licence its mature knowhow to produce ACWF as a replacement alternative to pulverized coal, coal water slurry and mazut oil. It is envisaged that JV’s advanced know-how will be licensed to interested parties upon suitable commercially viable terms. It is anticipated that licensees will be able to recoup their initial capital investment in approximately 12 months following completion of construction of each plant.
- Licensing fees will be based upon the amount of coal that is processed by each plant.
- The JV will manufacture and install all plant and equipment for each licensee.
- Secondly, the company proposes to construct a demonstration gasifier concurrently with the construction of the first ACWF plant to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of the Pseudo Detonated Gasification (“PDG”) process.
- The purpose of the demonstration gasifier is to highlight its outstanding green characteristics and to validate the level of hydrogen enrichment in the JV’s syngas.
- The JV will, upon successfully demonstrating the commercial feasibility of the PDG process, actively market the process to the power generation market and gas to liquids market.
- The PDG process will be licensed to interested parties throughout the globe.
- The JV will manufacture and install all plant and equipment for each licensee.
- It is anticipated that licensed commercial users of the PDG process will be able to produce electricity for approximately one half the current cost of producing electricity.
- The demonstration gasifier will not have the capacity to produce enough syngas to be sold commercially. However, the company intends to demonstrate the potential to use syngas in the Gas to Liquid (“GTL”) process and the environmentally superior qualities of this ultra-clean fuel.
- The JV intends to licence its PDG technology to facilitate the production of low cost and abundant Syngas via brown coal and low ranking black coal resources. It intends to partner commercial parties wishing to use that cheap syngas to produce ultra-clean fuels.
- Over the past year there has been a steady increase in the price of oil. The cause of this price rise has been attributed to the increased demand for oil by developing countries, such as China. The solution to this “oil scarcity” problem is the development of alternative energy sources.
- GTL, as an alternative energy source, is currently used in various countries around the world. Currently Sasol Limited (a South African fuel company) is providing over 25% of South Africa’s fuel requirements by GTL and Coal to Liquids (CTL). Over the past year the price of natural gas in North America has fluctuated between USD 3.01 price to USD 4.94 per gigajoule. The JV believe that it is not viable to undertake GTL with natural gas feedstock at these prices because to economically recover the high capital expenditure involved in GTL plants, large amounts of cheap feedstock gas are required.
- As there is a direct correlation between the cost of syngas and the cost of the end product, the cheaper the source of syngas, the cheaper the cost of the end product will be. The JV believes that the main drivers in establishing a profitable GTL process is access to an abundant source of cheap Syngas.
- The JV are of the view that the largest single cost in running a power generation plant (in particular a gas turbine) is the cost of gas to feed the gas turbine generator. Using PDG Syngas as feedstock for a gas turbine may assist the company to facilitate potentially profitable and competitive electricity generation plants for commercial parties wishing to adopt this technology.