Energy technology company Arq has patented a new process for transforming coal waste into high-value, low-cost fuels ready for today’s market.Arq’s process transforms the hydrocarbons from coal into oil products whilst cleaning up environmental liabilities, the company noted in a release to Mining Review Africa.
The Arq purified hydrocarbon fuels are sold to the power and steel-making industries, and as a blending feedstock for liquid fuels.
The company’s trademarked product, Arq Fuels, contains micro-fine hydrocarbons, predominantly less than 5 microns in size, an industry-first, presenting a unique method for converting coal into oil products.
Previous methods for upgrading coal which relied on changing the chemical structure of coal hydrocarbons have proven to be economically unviable and environmentally damaging. The trademarked Arq Technology centres on mechanical processes that turn coal into micro particles and remove over 99% of the impurities.
Arq Fuels are so pure and small that they can be blended directly into oil products, without the need for expensive liquefaction. As a result, the process is ultra-low cost and able to ‘stretch-the-barrel’ whilst simultaneously reducing prices for customers.
Arq has been granted its first patent (9777235) for fuel oil compositions and processes. The company has several other patents pending.
Arq Fuel can be produced from waste discarded during the coal mining and preparation processes. Arq estimates that over 1 Bt of coal waste is created each year, equivalent to throwing away over five million barrels of oil per day. Arq is partnering with the world’s largest coal companies to clean up these environmental liabilities and capture the lost energy, and in turn helping the eenvironment.
“Coal is the world’s most abundant, and lowest cost fuel, with more than 10 Bt of waste lying discarded in the US alone. We estimate that the energy trapped in global slurry lakes is equivalent to 70% of Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves. That gives our cutting-edge technology an extensive, environmentally-beneficial and low-cost feedstock from which we are making these valuable fuels,” says Julian McIntyre, Founder and CEO of Arq.
“With technology, we can open up a bright and alternative future for the coal mining industry,” he adds.
Founded by entrepreneur and investor Julian McIntyre, Arq has already raised over US$175 million from industry investors and blue-chip funds.
Arq’s core team is built from industry leaders in technology, science, energy and finance. It includes chairman, Richard Campbell-Breeden, formerly of Goldman Sachs, Dr Paul Snaith, who was the global head of R&D downstream at Shell, Michael Treanor who was CEO of Shell Coal, industry experts RW West and CK Lane who both have over 30 year’s of experience in mining and heavy construction, and Dr Paul Groves who was MD of Petrofac.
Implementation under way
Arq is currently in the construction phase of its first commercial facility in advance of a rapid plan for global expansion.
The first phase of the Corbin project, located adjacent to the town of Corbin, Kentucky is fully funded and will produce just over 1 Mt in 12 years.
The second phase will produce a further 7 Mt of Arq Fuels which will be blended into fuel oil, used for power generation and offered into the speciality markets.
Arq also owns several sites and has an ongoing programme to identify new sites and supply side partnerships which will most benefit from our technology. These include several international partnership agreements with some of the world’s leading coal companies.
These also include independent sites, whose acquisition will help secure our product for the future.
International expansion plans are already underway in Australia, Europe, South Africa, and India. Joint venture discussions are in progress with major international partners worldwide.