Low Rank Coal Symposium

  • Focus on sustainable use of low-rank coals
  • Broad international presence
  • Announcements by State and Federal Ministers promoting the use of technology to value add while mitigating CO2

The 2nd Annual Low Rank Coal Symposium was held in Melbourne last week (16-19 April) and attended by over 200 delegates from 23 countries.

ECT staff attend the proceedings which covered an extensive range of topics over three days, where  Coldry receive a mention on several occasions, enhancing the networking opportunities.


  • International perspectives; Brazil, China, European Union, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Poland, Turkey and the USA.
  • Community Engagement; the importance of communication and grass-roots engagement with communities in which coal-based projects intend to operate.
  • Technology Solutions; highlighting the challenges and opportunities or utilisation of Victorian brown coal, an overview of technologies on the pathway to commercialisation (including Coldry) here in Victoria and look at technologies being deployed internationally.
  • Finance Investment and Policy; a look into mechanisms and opportunities for funding technology deployment and the impact of Government policy investment decisions.

Government Policy

Of great interest during the conference were the announcements on government policy at State and Federal level to promote the development of the brown coal resource in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, subject to strict usage and development criteria.

Part of the policy framework includes a tender process for new coal allocations in Victoria. Tied to the granting of any allocation will be rigorous milestones, a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ clause and the requirement to value add while mitigating CO2 emissions.

Naturally, ECT will seek to fully understand the framework and assess options for participation in the tender process.

The bi-partisan promotion of the sustainable use of Victoria’s brown coal reserves was picked up extensively in the media:

Key Messages

Coal Demand Forecast to Increase

Source: International Energy Agency – World Energy Outlook 2011 – Page 356

A common thread throughout the event was that despite the carbon dioxide tax here in Australia and elsewhere around the world, coal demand is likely to rise by several billion tonnes a year by 2035 under current policies.

This message highlighted the very clear and urgent task ahead; how best to mitigate CO2 emissions from the inevitable increase in low-rank coal use driven by emerging nations to achieve the goals under the ‘New Policies’ or ‘450’ scenarios.

CCS was discussed at length. Carbon Capture and Storage has the ability to significantly mitigate CO2 emissions. At a significant cost.

Whereas CCS is a post-combustion technology designed to deal with emissions after the coal has been burned, our Coldry technology is a pre-combusion technology designed to avoid much of the emissions before the coal is combusted, at significantly less cost than CCS estimates. In between Coldry and CCS sits a range of power station efficiency improvements which when combined with demand side efficiency enhancements will contribute to significant mitigation whilst allowing the use of this cheap and abundant energy source

It’s worth noting that the conference generally acknowledged there is no silver bullet, no single solution to mitigating CO2 from brown coal use. We need a multi-pronged approach to deliver CO2 abatement at least cost.

Coldry Pilot Plant Visit

We’d like to thank Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries for including and promoting the opportunity for delegates to visit our Coldry and MATMOR facility on Friday 20th April, following the main program.

The visit attracted a broad group of 30 attendees including engineers, technology developers, multinational companies, academics and investors from around the world.

Our guests were given a tour of the Coldry pilot plant in operation, and an overview of our MATMOR test plant, followed by an overview of our planned commercial scale Coldry project here in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.