A Dry Subject?
This month we’re excited to be commissioning our new, low emissions ore drying pilot plant.
Queensland’s kerogen shale contains over 20% moisture and the first step to produce fuel is drying the shale down to 5% moisture.
This has traditionally been done using natural gas at fairly high temperatures. However, QER has shown that we can dry the shale by just blowing warm air through it (amlost like it wants to dry). This uses 1/6 the energy of conventional drying and has much lower GHG emissions.
QER has developed a design to commercialize the process. We’ve shown that it can work in a batch process, and now we’ve built a pilot plant to demonstrate a continuous process. We are using a perforated “walking floor” (used in the trucking industry) to slowly move the shale through a stream of warm air.
We’ve done most of the design, fabrication and instrumentation ourselves with the support of local contractors.
As always, I continue to marvel at the talent and innovation in our company and in Gladstone. We might be a small Queensland community, but we punch well above our weight when it comes to innovation in industrial processes.
Once we commission the plant, the planned trials will run for the rest of this year. Once the process is demonstrated, we can ‘bank’ the environmental and commercial improvements as part of our project design. Watch this space!