Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

China to build Asia’s largest coal chemical base to alleviate hunger for fuels

Staff, Peoples Daily China
Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region plans to invest more than 100 billion yuan (12.9 billion U.S. dollars) to build Asia’s largest liquefied-coal base, according to the regional development and reform commission.

The first group of projects, designed to produce methanol and other chemicals from coal, are under construction in the Ningdong Chemical Resource Base, which is located near coal deposits containing 80 percent of Ningxia’s known coal reserves, said Hao Linhai, director of the regional commission.

Chemical plants will be able to convert more than 5 million tons of coal annually into chemicals such as dimethyl ether, olefin and methanol, which are fuel additives, he added.

Several plants that will turn coal into diesel fuel are now under construction and will go into production in 2020. They will be able to convert 50 million tons of coal into 10 million tons of diesel a year, said Hao.

“We are negotiating with South Africa-based Sasol and Royal Dutch Shell Group to introduce liquefaction technologies needed to produce diesel fuel,” said Wang Jian, general manager of Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co., Ltd. ..
(9 Mar 2007)

TXU plans 2 clean coal power plants

Reuters via CNN
XU Corp. and the private equity firms leading the nearly $32 billion takeover of the power company said Friday they plan to build two clean coal power demonstration plants in Texas.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Texas Pacific Group and TXU (Charts) said they have started the planning process for two integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) demonstration plants. IGCC technology turns coal into a cleaner-burning gas to reduce emissions. ..

Critics of IGCC technology have argued that the plants are currently much more expensive to build than conventional pulverized coal plants. Some also doubt the reliability of the technology, pointing out that the only IGCC plants now in operation are relatively small ones. Several utilities have made high-profile investments to build or study building IGCC plants.

TXU does not have estimates for the cost of building the proposed IGCC demonstration plants nor the amount of megawatts these plants will generate, according to a TXU spokesman. As part of the plan, TXU will issue request for proposals from companies offering coal gasification technologies with carbon dioxide capture.

Currently, there is no commercially viable technology to capture and store carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas widely seen as contributing to global warming. ..
(9 Mar 2007)

Japan OKs record coal price

Peter Alford and Andrew Trounson, The Australian
AUSTRALIA’S major thermal coal producers are achieving record price settlements with Japanese power companies in supply contract negotiations for 2007-08.

Both Xstrata and Rio Tinto, the country’s largest thermal coal exporters, have settled most supply negotiations with the 10 Japanese power utilities for the contract year starting April 1 at or above $US55 a tonne ($70), free-on-board. There is no firm annual price benchmark for thermal coal, unlike contracts negotiated with Japanese and Chinese steel mills for iron ore and coking coal, but The Australian has learnt that the big miners are currently winning contract prices about 5 per cent higher than the levels achieved last year.

The $US55-56 price range is a record and significantly better than had been expected earlier in the year, when some forecasters were tipping flat prices or a drop of as much as 5 per cent. Declining exports out of energy-hungry China, which is increasingly consuming its own coal, spooked the Asian utilities and allowed Xstrata and Rio Tinto to stay firm on their price demands. ..
(9 Mar 2007)

Howard government gives another $100m for clean coal

Staff, News Corporation
ENVIRONMENT Minister Malcolm Turnbull will today unveil a $100 million clean coal project in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley which is designed to reduce the cost of coal and slash greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent. ..

The announcements come as both parties attempt to woo voters in the lead up to this year’s election. Mr Turnbull and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane are expected to announce the Victorian-based HRL Limited has won a $100 million taxpayer-funded grant for a $750 million clean coal technology project. ..

The funding will help develop a demonstration project involving a 400-megawatt integrated dry-gas gasification combined-cycle (IDGCC) power-generation plant at the Loy Yang coalmine. ..
(11 Mar 2007)
Compare the AU$100mil gifted to this one coal project with the $23 million total in grants for projects under the Renewable Energy Development Initiative, the complete defunding of several renewable energy research centres and the ’climate of fear’ created among remaining renewables researchers. This is one Australian citizen who looks forward to emissions-triggered trade sanctions (and yes the ruling Liberal Party gets lots of funding/donations from coal mining corporations).-LJ

U.S. Opposes Canadian Coal Mine

Susan Gallagher, ABC News
The Bush administration is challenging a coal mine proposed in British Columbia, saying it poses an environmental threat that could extend south of the border.

The mine that Cline Mining Co. proposed just north of Glacier National Park could cause “significant adverse environmental effects” the United States, the U.S. State Department said in a letter to the British Columbia government.

Montana officials say the open-pit mine would jeopardize water quality in the Flathead area, which includes Flathead Lake and other waters popular for recreation. The Flathead River system spans the international border, and the north fork of the river is Glacier’s western boundary. ..
(11 Mar 2007)