Global economic growth is closely correlated to energy consumption, with total world consumption of marketed energy projected to increase significantly in the next twenty years. The largest projected increase in energy demand is for the non-OECD economies, with energy demand from China and India expected to double in the next 20 years. China is currently the second largest energy consumer after the United States, however Chinese demand for energy is forecast to grow at 4.4% p.a through to 2020, a rate more than double the global average.
Global Demand for Energy
Amongst the major energy sources, coal is one of the most rapidly growing fuels on a global basis due to its low cost and broad accessibility.
Coal currently fuels about 40% of electricity worldwide, and in many countries such as China this figure is much higher at approximately 70%.
Rapidly developing countries, such as China and India, are building new power plants continuously to satisfy population growth and economic advancement. China is building the equivalent of two 500 megawatt coal fired power plants per week, and a capacity comparable to the entire United Kingdom power grid each year. Large coal consumers such as China, India and the United States have begun to seek out new sources of supply and identify ways to improve efficiency of coal consumption.
Despite its vast abundance and low cost to mine, there are a number of negative aspects associated with the use of coal:
- Coal combustion releases CO2 into the atmosphere;
- Coal is a major source of other pollutants such as SO2 and NOx;
- Dust from coal transportation causes environmental, economic and logistical problems; and
- Due to its high carbon content the use of coal will increasingly attract penalties and associated taxes.
To address these challenges new technologies are needed to drive innovation in the production, combustion and emissions control of coal. White Energy aims to improve the environmental profile of coal while maintaining and expanding its role as a prime fuel for electrical power generation. New coal technologies will need to be harnessed to ensure the continued supply of affordable energy while conforming to more stringent environmental regulations and standards.
As the world adapts to a low carbon future, White Energy is well positioned to provide a technology based solution that addresses this reality by enhancing the energy efficiency of coal and reducing the volumes consumed. A number of key factors in recent years have made the market for White Energy’s coal upgrading technology highly favourable.
These factors include the following:
- World demand for coal is growing steadily.
- Hard coals are depleting more rapidly than soft coals; demand for higher quality hard coals is increasing at a more rapid rate as coal’s share of fossil fuel usage continues to grow in step with the growth in electricity demand globally.
- Transportation costs of low quality coals can be prohibitive, reducing the economic viability of a needed global resource.
- Coal market dynamics are changing: large consumers, such as the People’s Republic of China and India, are changing the dynamics of the energy markets – the coal markets in particular – and have begun to seek out new sources of supply with sub-bituminous coal beginning to gain attention in world markets.
- Coal needs to be clean to be viable. There is an increasing emphasis on decreasing emissions. Around the world, emissions of CO2, SOx, NOx, and Hg are coming under increased regulation.
White Energy has a technology that represents a first step in building a cleaner coal solution. White Energy’s coal upgrading process removes coal moisture and improves heat content and quality while essentially retaining the low emission profile of the feedstock coal.