Australian gas-to-liquids startup Linc Energy said its Chinchilla pilot plant in Queensland had produced its first hydrocarbon liquids.
The Sydney-listed company is pioneering the use of underground coal gasification as a feedstock for GTL plants. Existing coal-to-liquids projects require the coal to be brought to the surface before it is gasified to produce fuels.
Linc believes the technology will help it to produce fuels from Australia’s coal resources. The company said the technology could also be used in the US, China and India, which are all seeking cleaner ways to tap their vast remaining coal reserves.
At present, much of the coal is burnt in conventional power stations, a major source of global carbon emissions.
Linc said it would use the demonstration plant to fine tune its technology, which it plans to scale up to a 20,000-barrel-per-day commercial facility. Work on the full-size plant is expected to start in the next year.
The plant will tap an estimated 600 million tonnes of coal at Linc’s Chinchilla site.
The company said separately today it had signed a business co-operation agreement to pursue develop both underground coal gasification and GTL technology in Vietnam.
The deal was signed with partners Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) and Japan's Marubeni and covers the development of a four-stage project in Vietnam's Red River Delta. The project will assess the viability of using coal from the area to supply both GTL production and conventional power plants.