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Coal-to-Liquids Producer Forms JV for Algae Bioreactor for CO2 Conversion

21 November 2007

Linc Energy Ltd, the Australian company developing the Chinchilla Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) to Gas to Liquids (GTL) facility (earlier post and earlier post), has formed a joint venture with BioCleanCoal Pty Ltd to develop an algae bioreactor for the conversion of process CO2 into oxygen and biomass.

The joint venture will be owned on a 60/40 basis with Linc Energy owning 60% and having the day to day management and BioCleanCoal owning the remaining 40%. The JV Company will develop a bioreactor which will convert CO2 through a photosynthesis process into oxygen and solid biomass, permanently and safely removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Linc Energy will spend A$1 million over the next twelve months on the development of a prototype unit which the partners aim to have operating at the Chinchilla site.

The Joint Venture with BioCleanCoal and the bioreactor technology we are jointly developing are important parts of Linc Energy’s business plan. Linc Energy owns its own coal assets and has the capacity to gasify that coal into cost effective gas via its Underground Coal Gasification process. We also have the capacity to significantly monetize that gas into diesel or jet fuel via the Gas to Liquids (GTL) process or power generation via gas turbine generators. With this JV, Linc Energy has fulfilled one of its final aims of ensuring that whatever Linc Energy does, it now does so with as small a Greenhouse Gas footprint as possible, effectively putting Linc Energy at the forefront of clean coal and in particular coal to liquids.

In addition to being extremely excited about the environmental benefits of this technology, the commercial outlook for this Joint Venture should not be underestimated. It will allow Linc Energy to produce clean ‘green’ power and oil (diesel) from coal, in a greenhouse friendly way, which is truly one of the ultimate aims of clean coal companies. Linc Energy is also confident that this technology can be retrofitted to existing power stations and industrial facilities and as such, offers a significant commercial opportunity to the Company.

—Peter Bond, CEO of Linc Energy Ltd

BioCleanCoal is a Queensland-based biotechnology company that is specializing in the breeding and propagation of useful algae and plant species for the conversion of CO2 to oxygen and biomass.

It has two sister companies: BioAdapt International Pty Ltd and BioFuelGenomics Pte Ltd. BioAdapt International is a company formed to commercialize a scientific breakthrough in molecular biological research that has resulted in the consistent advanced growth of trees by up to 39%. BioFuelGenomics is a company formed to commercialize the scientific breakthrough of polyploid creation in biofuel feedstocks. The company’s objective is to increase biofuel feedstock production by means of advancing feedstock growth rates.

November 21, 2007 in Biomass, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Climate Change, Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)


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I think there is a pea and thimble trick going on here. The GTL will put carbon atoms into the atmosphere which were once safely underground. Presumably the algal sludge will be buried like the original coal, except with less carbon. The process cannot fully replace the oxygen without a large external energy source. Why not just work with natural biomass?

The debate over this will be revealing.

As long as the CO2 comes from coal the only green thing about it is that it delays the time before the CO2 is released to the atmosphere.

I which they would develop this technology so that the algae could use CO2 from the atmosphere instead. Alternatively why don’t they use an ethanol plant? They also produce CO2 in large volume and it is much closer to be CO2 neutral than coal.

I think you are both making the wrong comparison. The algae step captures solar energy and produces (via algae) biofuel. This is good what ever the source of CO2 is, if they can get it working.

So the source of CO2 is from coal mining. Though coal is bad in terms of CO2 output per energy produced, we currently still need it to provide enough energy. The only open issue seems to be how good this form of coal mining is. It appears to be more environmentally friendly than open cast mines, though I don't know how energy efficient it is.

One problem with underground coal gasification is that you have to move the operation when you have utilised the coal from a particular location. You basically gasify the coal in situ. If it can be made economically viable you can however drill horizontally out to sea so opening up more reserves.
My prefered option with the C02 captured by algae would be to dry it and transport it to a coal carbon capture and sequestration power plant, there it could be co-fired with coal and the C02 would be stored permanently underground.
Does anyone have any idea as to what area would be required, to capture the C02 from say a 500MW coal fired power plant?
Another interesting point about this approach is that it would make C02 capture more viable in isolated locations for instance in regions of China.

David J who are you?
This is a total croc. The earlier posts refer only to the disreputable and highly polluting Fisher-T process.
(now Mysteriosly called BTL) One should assume his is a an example of the spin doctors (To put it politely) craft.
You picked the wrong technology to hide in mate.

I Understand from this report that the intention is to attempt to sequest some CO2 via a solidified lignin process as yet undescribed. I dont know that that process could be particularly relevent to or the best utilization of the product stream. I Recall a conversation with a fellow decades ago re the use of a paper like product tha was applied as a road sufacing anothe ruse may lie in the area of high grade paper, or even the mainstrem paper making industry. That would make consevationists and environmentalists happy. Offsetting tree pulping. One would have to think that carbon storage in wood already produces a quality storge mechanism, depending on species and end use. Useful Life Expectancy 'ULE'. Not much storage if the product life is less than hundreds of years. Logically the longer life the better the outcome. Ideally , and the way nature has (one should assume for good reason) been at this Sequestration model is to store carbon in the form of sinks like coal or oil. We too easily dismiss nature as a Dumb mechanism and that certainly goes against our understanding of climate science and modification in The natural environment. Lets face it planetary life forms have always altered the composition of earths atmosphere and it is
through these processes that the current life forms have evolved.
You cant blame them for trying, But I thought it was already established hat a near 0 carbon future is the only viable option. It's a shame that buisness think a little spin will keep us in the dark.
In fact the balance of comments here should serve as a warning to unethical companies that they bare simply raising our awareness while sinking heir own ship.
The military AND OTHER Backroom dealers might get away wih this attitude for a while yet. But I stress only a little while.
Previous posts are indeed revealing.

A back of the envelope calculation gives
coal 13 MJ / kg CO2
biodiesel 30 MJ / kg CO2
So 500MW of coal tranlates to 500*30/13 = 1.1GW of biodiesel.

The average daily solar radiance is 164W/m^2 hence the need for at least 670 hectares. Increase this further to allow for inefficiencies in the system (power plant 40%, algae < 15%??) and you've got over 100 km^2. That's a lot of real estate.

Who am I? An Oz living in UK who doesn't like spam.
This article is about producing algae from CO2, which is green. What ever the CO2 source.

Then there is the question of coal which is a separate issue. Sure coal is the worst at MJ/CO2 but it is still being used. We should look at ways to clean it up because it is not going away.

I meant environmentally friendly in that there is no open cast mine. What's the problem about Fisher-T? That it's energy inefficient? Or that people use it to make transport fuels? Because the second it not really a problem with FT, just with what it's used for.

Hi All.and David I note your reply Your research?
I am a motor mechanic with major mobility disabilitie, not enough to stop me walking but, I certainly have NO problem with the transport and mobility industries. That is why I'm here. I believe there is every reason to be seriosly concerned about F-T process (Use the proper name).
And scammers Who use this site in this cynical way really get on my goat. see copy of "Alternate action"
regs arn
A quuick note about a scam underway involving thes energy companies.
I've been doing lot of work on my favourite website
In my capacity as a predictive technology analyst.
Last night A concern was raised in person with me re the very dirty Fisher-Tropsh coal to liquids process by the local cantidate's partner as an expression of concerns raised by other parties with him.
Yesterday a posting came up on my site announcing a BTL or biomass to liquids project. When I read the article, It was obviousbly not at all reearched and I had put a comment to he backburner for further consideration.
This morning, I returned to nte article and discovered that the announced BTL sequestration with UCGL (as you do when Fisher-Tropsh very dirty technology VDT? becomes a dirty word) is on further investigation a total con.
A quick look back hrough the earlier posts (2) and a google of the two companies involved reveals a systematic process of deception.
ie: Share prices on one chart are in freefall, but on another are apparently going through the roof GOOGLE , till you note he comment that it is the volume of trades going through the roof. THE thing that p's me off is that the Bio component they are rying to suck in the punters in order to boost their share price is MY baby.
I'll scrub this Email up remove your name and post it in appropriate places.
I think there is a good case for Aus securities commision here.

regs Arnold

Go get em Arnold

Talking of clean technologies do you know of ESI and GHT, these technologies are not getting the investment interest they need but you watch, when they reach paydirt i.e. geothermal hot rock for power generation, their share prices will go throught the roof and pollies will undoubtedly take credit. ESI by the way almost whent into bankruptcy, a technology that produces a cleaner coal (sounds like an oxymoron) and unless we pay carbon tax these technologies may not get through, check em out. RMP.

Hi, RM I'm sure you wont mind me posting your reply.
By way of introduction.
The state of play so far.
Mysteriosly Linc energy and "Professor" now 'doctor' Andrew Lowe an apparently reputable horrticulturalist involved in numerous projects including a 5 Million Euro project. Have both seen fit to pull the references from their web sites.Linc energy have pulled 12 months of dodgy press releases. And now no mention of the "green" coal so loudly trumpeted on this site. and numerous media releases over the last few weeks in particular. Good work at cleaning up the sites boys but like I say you picked the wrong crew.
How do I know? . I got the copy.

This co and readers be sure that there are other scammers out there trying to cash in on the clean green
thats a given . No brainer.
I'll be writing more on this matter in as I can
Meanwhile I suggest readers go to the sites indicated in the article above and get an Idea how the world works.

I'm not sure I follow all of the posts above, as to whether the complaints are mainly about technologies, companies or individuals.

I am intrigued by the prospect of Underground Coal Gasification, as it would seem that unless coal can be abandoned entirely, UCG would be better than the alternatives. Or is it? I'd be interested in any links that anyone has from environmental organizations that might have looked into UCG. NRDC speaks out a lot against other coal technologies but seem to have not yet looked at UCG.

For those not familiar with UCG, one extensive description can be found at

Despite being from the National Lab that did a lot of UCG development, this report does mention some of the possible environmental issues.

One of the cited potential benefits of UCG is that it naturally produces a concentrated output of CO2 and could store the CO2 back in the same underground formations from which it came. Considering that, it would seem unlikely adding algae biofuel to the mix would really be cost effective.

I take that point on board.
Iam not in a position to critisize the proposed technnology the way you put it.
Blind freddy though can see that algae will have nothing to do with it other than as a vehicle to make any operation sound green.
The plant if you can believe anything is "on fire as we speak. Oxyfuel process.
The clean undoubtably refers to the high quality of the finished product.
I just object to being conned.

UCG will increase the total quantity of coal that can be extracted, so it will increase the total amount of CO2 that can be released. I doubt environmental groups will like this.

CO2 capture by algae is a way of using solar energy to convert fossil-derrived CO2 back into fuel. If you have enough solar energy (collector area, greenhouse area, whatever) to convert most of the CO2 back to a fuel, then you have enough solar energy to avoid using the coal in the first place. If you don't have enough solar energy for this, then the technology is "greenwash".

Some plr articles has niche articles in them which makes them really good.

This company is creating a power plant that burns coal, and using a bioreactor, turns the CO2 into 02 and burns the remaining smaller amount of carbon left. If it works it would definitely slow down carbon emissions. Another company is also working on an algae based system that would permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. These are great projects and need to be promoted.

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