Astra Energy Technologies (AET), a subsidiary of international diversified resource company Astra Resources, has completed the acquisition of Interecotech’s innovative clean coal conversion technology. The acquisition, which resulted in the formation of Astra Interecotech (AI) to oversee the commercialisation of the technology, follows the successful completion of due diligence into the project.Included in the acquisition is the scientific process required for the manufacture of Activated Coal Water Fuel (ACWF), and Integrated Coal Slurry Gasification Combined Cycle (ICSGCC) technology, with the latter expected by the company to “revolutionise the production of synthetic gas and electricity.” Astra’s CEO, Dr Jaydeep Biswas says that the technology is based on ultrasonic chemistry activating the coal water mixtures so brown coal behaves as a liquid, which provides cleaner and higher efficiency combustion in existing coal-fired power stations.“AI’s ACWF technology has been subject to significant scientific and technical improvements from the current thermal dynamic activation (TDA) technology, a process which has taken approximately 23 years,” Biswas stated. “The technology is a bolt-on device for existing power stations to process low quality coal as an alternative to diesel, fuel oil and black coal, meaning expensive upgrades are not required. This means pulverised coal combustion plants can be converted to ACWF plants, utilising AI’s coal preparation and combustion technology with very low capital costs. Low ranking brown coal is the ideal feedstock for the preparation of ACWF, which is then fed into a specially designed and manufactured combustion unit. Using the milling and homogenisation technologies, ACWF is produced by causing high energy and high pressure cavitation in the coal-water mixture.”The thermal and chemical properties of the ACWF means higher rates of reactivity when fed into combustion reactors. As the input energy required to produce ACWF as a feedstock to other processes is much lower, a reduction in CO2 emissions can be achieved over the processes lifecycle. Additional environmental benefits are gained by the presence of water in ACWF which works to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere and makes the product explosion-proof. AI’s ACWF technology also provides users with significant cost savings, requiring 10 to 15% less coal as feedstock for the same MW output in comparison to a power plant that does not utilise the technology.“As any type of coal can be used as feedstock, developing countries with low quality thermal coal reserves will be able to gain greater energy independence by utilising locally mined reserves rather than importing black coal or diesel for their power generation requirements, which is unsustainable in the long term. By replacing oil or gas with ACWF, and dependent on the geographical area, AI can achieve a 30 to 70% lower price per unit of energy.”While the production of ACWF is a relatively simplistic process, AI’s ICSGCC technology is a more complex process, converting coal into electricity in up to three cycles. Including the preparation of Uniform Activated Coal Water Fuel (UACWF) as a feedstock for the gasifier, gasification of UACWF and combined cycle (gas, steam and organic turbines) to generate electricity this process can successfully produce low cost hydrogen-enriched syngas by implementing either a two or three cycle process.Astra Managing Director Silvana De Cianni says the patented and environmentally friendly technology outlines the scientific process required for utilising all types of coal for the production of low cost hydrogen enriched Syngas, however lignite and brown coal is most suited. “The technology produces high yielding, low emission syngas, the basis of a revolutionary new type of Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) process. The resulting product is a long-term, and cheaper, alternative to oil, gas, pulverized coal and coal water slurry, and can be used for direct combustion in converted coal or oil-fired boilers, coal-to-liquid fuel production, electricity generation and can replace natural gas to produce heat.”AI’s method of ICSGCC technology is unique in part due to the new type of feedstock (UACWF) that has been developed, which is prepared by special milling and hydro-shock disintegration methods and equipment. The technology for the preparation of UACWF focuses on the use of any type and grade of coal, including low-grade coal, waste of coal processing plants, slag containing unburned carbon and coal fines.The initial focus for AI’s ACWF technology will be SE Asia, followed by Latin America, with prospective growth markets identified in the Central European region due to the vast resources brown coal and a high demand for low emission production of electricity. AI is currently in the process of manufacturing an ACWF and combustion demonstration unit in Russia for the purpose of demonstrating its efficiency and integrity for prospective clients. The company plans to construct a commercial ACWF and combustion plant within the next 12 months and an ICSGCC demonstration module within the next 36 months. AI has also entered into discussion with interested parties that span the globe concerning prospective commercial arrangements.Astra Resources’ global portfolio includes gold interests in SE Asia, coal mine in Africa, iron ore in India, Norway and the Philippines, carbon efficient and commodity businesses, the production of the high-strength T-Steel technology in Hungary, clean coal technology and the provision of mining services housing in Rockhampton, Queensland.