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Clean Coal Technologies' Breakthrough Dehydration Technology to Revolutionize the Coal Industry



September 4, 2019 - Clean Coal Technologies Inc is developing the world’s first commercially viable and scalable coal dehydration technology that creates stable, dust-free coal.

The Madison Avenue, New York-based company’s patented Pristine-M technology puts low-quality coal through a mild gasification process, removing moisture as well as coal’s worst pollutants. Along with producing more energy than untreated coal, the refined product also produces fewer harmful emissions when burned, including carbon dioxide, sulfur and mercury. The technology developed over ten years, has undergone rigorous testing.

The technology applies controlled heat to extract pollutants and moisture from low-rank coal, transforming it into a cleaner-burning fuel. The coal cleaning process ensures the carbon in coal maintains its structural integrity during the heating process, while the volatile matter — often polluting heavy metals — turns into liquids and gas and escapes the coal.

The technology is handy as deposits with high moisture coal emit less energy than low moisture coal. Think about trying to burn wet logs to warm a room. You need more logs and it takes longer. The same applies to coal. The higher the moisture content of coal, the more coal power plants need to consume.

“The processed stabilized coal reduces the carbon footprint on the environment by burning more efficiently and prevents dust pollution during transport. Our tests show a 33% increase in heating value which means a coal power plant will need to consume 33% less coal to achieve the same energy output,” Clean Coal Technologies CEO Robin T Eves told Proactive in a recent interview.

In addition to Pristine-M, the company has a portfolio which includes its legacy technology, Pristine, which is designed to remove moisture and volatile matter, as per client-specified requirements, rendering a cleaner thermal coal.

Similarly, Pristine-SA is a technology designed to remove volatile matter in coal feedstock to achieve stable combustion by co-firing it with natural gas.

How Is It Doing

It has been a busy spell for Clean Coal Technologies which has signed several license agreements for its coal upgrading technology.

The first license deal was with Jindal Power and Steel out of India, and the second was with US-based Wyoming New Power for their second-generation plant.

Initially the clients will be charged a $1 per ton upfront fee followed by a $3 per ton royalty fee under the license agreements, according to CEO Eves.

Clean Coal has also signed an agreement with the University of Wyoming to bolster its efforts to help secure the future of the state’s cornerstone coal industry.

The University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources recently validated the company’s Pristine-M technology. The university also awarded the company a $500,000 grant for 2019 and another $500,000 for 2020 to fund the construction of a rotary absorber kiln to stabilize the surface of treated Powder River Basin coal in a demo facility at the former Fort Union mine site near Gillette.

Inflection Points

The studies by the University of Wyoming’s engineers sets the stage for the design of a commercial plant using Pristine-M technology. This is key in establishing the technology commercially in the Powder River Basin. Researchers have also quantified the potential of manufacturing valuable byproducts as a consequence of the coal-beneficiation process.

Clean Coal’s technology could throw a lifeline to America’s coal towns in the Appalachian region and the western state of Wyoming, which is the country’s largest coal producer.

Globally the demand for higher quality, lower moisture coal continues to rise. The company has said that its Pristine-M technology can target nearly 81% of the world’s coal reserves which are predominantly low-rank coal.

Cheap and plentiful, coal remains the single largest source of energy to generate electricity worldwide. Nearly 3.916 billion ton of coal was produced globally in 2018. There has been a steady rise in coal production since 2015. Actual global coal consumption in 2018 totalled 3.772 billion ton. This was the highest rate of coal consumption since 2012 and was driven mainly by China, India and Indonesia which together consumed 2.4 billion tons of coal. 

The US company has three global process patents for the beneficiation of coal. In April, Clean Coal said Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Australia granted the company full patents on its Pristine technology. The company said it is now in a position to work on partnerships with government institutions and commercial entities in these coal countries.

The patents take up to seven years to be granted from initial application and are valid for up to 20 years. With key patents in place, the firm’s propriety technology has the potential to revolutionize the coal industry and upgrade billions of tons of low-rank coal around the world.

What the Boss Says

In a recent interview with Proactive, Clean Coal Technologies CEO Robin T Eves said: “This is a multibillion-ton global opportunity where less than 1% market penetration would provide an enormous opportunity. India, China and most of Asia will continue to increase their coal consumption."

“Economically viable technology is the only solution to helping developing nations use coal efficiently in an environmentally responsible manner. We are commercializing an affordable and proven technology to help mitigate the harmful effects of the continued use of coal. We stayed below the radar with respect to marketing our technology until we had fully tested and validated it. That time is now. We create a more environmentally responsible coal,” he added.