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CSIRO to trial low-emission lignite technology

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World Coal,

CSIRO and its industry partners plan to trial the direct injection carbon engine (DICE) in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, the research organisation said in a press release. The Latrobe Valley is home to the world’s second largest and lowest-cost lignite resource. The DICE project aims to reduce emissions from electricity generated with lignite, which is also known as brown coal, by 50% compared to current technology.

 “Australia has the second largest lignite resource in the world but current utilisation technologies are carbon intensive so we need to implement cleaner and more efficient ways to generate energy from coal,” said Dr Alex Wonhas, CSIRO Energy Group executive. “CSIRO is excited about the potential for DICE to lower power costs, halve CO2 intensity and create a new export market for both brown and black coal.”

The advanced 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 lignite 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.

“The energy sector has long been a lynchpin of our country’s economic prosperity and coal is expected to continue to make an important contribution in decades to come. I believe CSIRO has a critical role to play in supporting industry to minimise the environmental impacts from coal through the application of world leading science,” Dr Wonhas concluded. 

Adapted from press release by

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