Altona proposes to convert its coal into a range of high value, clean transport fuels and co-generation power.

Altona believes that with the application of the right technology, including carbon capture and storage (CCS), the Project can produce fuel products that, on a well to wheel basis, result in a lower emissions footprint than using conventional fuels and technology. Altona will actively seek to minimise carbon emissions by:

Coals to Liquid Fuel (CTL) Products are environmentally clean

The Arckaringa Project will produce fuel products that are much cleaner than fuels produced from a conventional refinery.
For example, Ultra Clean Diesel Fuel:

Source: Shell

It is important to remember that the Arckaringa Project is NOT ‘just another coal mine’. The coal produced will not be burnt; it is feed stock for a range of hydrocarbon products that include low-sulphur fuels but could extend through a vast array of products from plastics to fertilisers. In addition, the synthetic gas produced as part of the refinement process will be used to produce electricity for the State grid – with a much lower carbon footprint than a traditionally fuelled baseload power station.

However, it is the application of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) (additional link to the Australian Federal Department of Resources Energy and Tourism) techniques that make this a 21st century clean-technology operation.

Carbon dioxide will be captured during the first stage of transformation, when it is separated from syngas. For storage, one option is to pump the captured and compressed CO2 to a suitable site to be geo-sequestrated. Another storage option is bio sequestration, such as using CO2 to promote algae production and the derivation of bio fuels. Further work will be undertaken during the BFS to determine the optimum storage options.

In that regard, the South Australian Government has passed legislation that will allow carbon storage underground in such places as depleted oil and gas reservoirs. Altona has already identified a potentially suitable long-term storage site with suitable proximity to the Arckaringa Project.

During the BFS, the AUEJV also plans to investigate the post combustion capture of CO2 from the gas-fired power plant, which would increase total capture to around 90 per cent. We expect this to be done by the Study Engineer in co-operation with research institutions including the CSIRO and the new Global CCS Institute.

Synthetic diesel and CO2

It is important to note that the synthetic diesel Altona intends to produce burns more cleanly than conventional (mineral) diesel – which is itself more efficient than petrol.

This means that there is less CO2 emitted per kilometre travelled than with conventional mineral diesel – which is already better than petrol on this criterion.

Combined with CCS, CTL fuels will, on a well to wheel basis, produce a lower emissions footprint than conventional refinery fuels.

Conventional oil production and refining is a significant source of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and on a well to wheel basis the Altona plant is less CO2 intensive than conventional mineral oil sourced diesel.