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Source: The Newcastle Herald



THE Hunter is fast becoming a base for world-leading clean coal technology.Sydney company Binderless Coal Briquetting, a wholly owned subsidiary of listed company White Energy, received a $4.35 million grant yesterday towards construction of a plant at Cessnock.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the project would create up to 30 jobs in the region.

White Energy told the Australian Stock Exchange in a statement yesterday that the grant would enable the company to expedite the building of its demonstration plant. The plant will improve White Energy’s capability to process and test its patented coal technology, which is attracting attention from coal producers and power companies around the world, including China and Indonesia.

White Energy managing director John Atkinson said the binderless coal briquetting process, which was developed in conjunction with the CSIRO, reduced the moisture content of low-value coal but increased its energy efficiency significantly. It involves crushing and drying high-moisture coals, resulting in the reduction of the moisture content of the coal and converting it into a higher energy product with lower carbon emissions. The technology specialist received the funding under the Australian Government’s Commercial Ready program.

Mr Atkinson said yesterday’s funding followed word this month that mining giant BHP Billiton would invest $US35 million ($42.35 million) in White Energy through a sevenyear unsecured convertible funding facility to accelerate the introduction of the briquetting technology.

As part of the agreement BHP Billiton will act as White Energy’s exclusive global marketing agent. Mr Atkinson said the demonstration plant would be built on land off McFarlane Street near UCC Energy’s ultra-clean coal technology plant.