Queensland government inaugurates alternative energy plant

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: energy management
Queensland Minister for Mines and Energy Stephen Robertson on September 29 formally opened one of Australia‘s most powerful onsite power plants fueled by waste coal mine gas (WCMG). Today’s event highlights the mining industry’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its activities while ensuring that coal remains an important national export and global energy source.

The 45.6-megawatt (MW) alternative energy plant, located at Anglo Coal's Moranbah North mine in the state of Queensland, allows the operator to capture the mine‘s methane-rich gas and use it as a fuel to generate electricity instead of venting the gas into the atmosphere. The plant is powered by 15 of GE Energy’s ecomagination-certified, three-MW J620 Jenbacher gas engines.

"Our successful project at Moranbah North illustrates the importance of using proven technologies like GE's Jenbacher gas engines and relying on experienced alternative energy services partners like Clarke Energy to help Australia achieve its emissions reduction goals," said Greg Pritchard, managing director of Energy Developments Limited (EDL).

Anglo Coal is one of the country’s largest coal mining companies. The Moranbah North mine is located 1,117 kilometers north of Brisbane.

The new cogeneration plant offers Anglo Coal an important environmental benefit because methane has 21 times the greenhouse warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2), the greenhouse gas most closely associated with climate change.

GE‘s Jenbacher combined heat and power (CHP) technology also allows the operator to use an available source of fuel to help reduce its operational expenses. Through the capture and utilization of mine gas, the Moranbah North project will deliver significant environmental and energy security benefits. The distributed energy plant will save up to about 1.3 million tons of CO2 equivalents, or the average of taking 330,000 cars off the road each per year.

Energy Developments Limited, owner and operator of the plant, will sell most of the plant's 45.6-MW output to the national grid.

EDL had designated Clarke Energy Australia to install GE's Jenbacher units as part of a turnkey contract. Clarke Energy Australia is a subsidiary of Clarke Energy Group and GE's longtime Jenbacher authorized distributor in the United Kingdom. The overall power station design, balance of the plant, SCADA controls and turnkey construction were provided by Clarke Energy Australia.

The WCMG plant was completed seven weeks ahead of schedule and within budget to meet EDL’s aggressive schedule as a growing number of Australian mining companies are seeking to utilize their mine gas to generate electricity and reduce their site emissions.

Australia, which exports nearly 75 percent of its coal resources, now has one of the world's most commercially advanced coal mine methane gas industries, according to the Australian Coal Association.

GE’s Jenbacher gas engine technology is designed to be flexible to also handle fluctuating gas qualities—a longtime industry obstacle—allowing the utilization of gas from both active as well as closed sections of mines. Through Clarke Energy, GE has supplied its Jenbacher engines for most of Australia's WCMG projects, demonstrating the environmental benefits and reliability of the engines.

“We are excited to participate in this important project, which helps send the message to other coal mining companies around the world that they also can modernize their operations with GE’s cogeneration technology to help achieve their business and environmental requirements,“ said Prady Iyyanki, CEO of GE’s Jenbacher gas engine business.

GE Energy also is working with partners in Queensland to develop one of the world’s first integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plants, incorporating 90 percent carbon capture and storage (CCS). The Queensland government recently moved the project to the next stage in the Australian Federal Government’s CCS Flagship Program; this stage includes pre-front end engineering and design work to help ensure success of the proposed plant.

The proposed Wandoan Power Project IGCC plant with carbon capture would use Queensland’s abundant coal resources and would be an important step in helping the future of cleaner coal technology for power generation in this state and around the world.

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