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COAL 21 fund looks to future

Published by
World Coal,

The Fund is the cornerstone of the black coal industry’s contribution to the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) of low emissions coal technologies.

It is a unique vehicle which is owned by Australian coal producers and operates on a voluntary levy based on coal production. Its day to day operations are managed by ACA Low Emissions Technologies Ltd.

Since the Fund’s inception in 2006 it has invested over AUS$300 million in a range of significant projects and these funds have leveraged a further AUS$550 million from other sources including from the Commonwealth Government, State Governments and industry.

Chairman of the COAL21 Fund and Director of Centennial Coal, Mr David Moult, speaking on the announcement the Fund’s extension, said: “I am pleased to see that the work of the Fund is helping to secure the future value of Australia’s black coal resources. It is also building wider support for the country’s second largest export industry through its commitment to a low emissions pathway.”

Mr Moult noted the following highlights over the past decade:

  • CO2 has been successfully captured at Queensland’s Callide coal-fired power plant – the largest demonstration of oxy-fuel technology in the world so far.
  • 65 000 t of CO2 have been sequestered in a depleted gas field in Victoria’s Otway Basin through the CO2 Cooperative Research Centre (CO2CRC).
  • R&D activities have been undertaken through Australian National Low Emissions Coal Research & Development Ltd (ANLEC), (jointly funded by the Australian Government and COAL21 Fund) – this is helping reduce the investment risk associated with the demonstration of low emissions coal technologies in Australia thereby accelerating the technology development cycle.
  • Improved understanding of the CO2 storage resource in Australia and assisting in intensifying the search for storage.

Mr Moult said: “The next 10 years offers many opportunities to build on our achievements and to further solidify the place of coal in Australia as both a strategic export and underpinning domestic energy supply.”

With learnings from the Fund’s first 10 years informing new investments, the industry has committed a further AUS$255 million and endorsed participation in a range of ongoing and new initiatives to support the Fund’s objectives of building confidence in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and demonstrating CO2 storage capacity within Australia.

The forward looking strategic project portfolio covers:

  • CO2 capture.
  • Geological storage.
  • Abatement of fugitive emissions from coal mines.

Important projects include:

  • The Queensland Surat Basin CCS Hub development
  • the CTSCo  Project.
  • the University of Queensland Surat Deep Aquifer Appraisal Project.
  • The NSW Storage development project in conjunction with Coal. Innovation NSW.
  • Supporting R&D through ANLEC and the CO2CRC.
  • Safe abatement of methane in ventilation air from underground coal mines.

The Fund also has a specific work programme to consider options for the uptake of High Efficiency Low Emission (HELE) coal-fired generation in Australia. To date this has included commissioning the independent report from energy advisers and power sector engineers Solstice Development Services and GHD which showed HELE coal generation as the lowest cost electricity source available.

The COAL21 Fund has a bright future and the strong endorsement of the coal industry. We now look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders including the Commonwealth and State governments.

The attachment provides further background on the achievements of the COAL21 Fund to date and its future direction.

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