• GTL Energy’s first commercial scale coal upgrading plant module successfully commissioned
  • Successful production of high energy, low moisture briquettes
  • Completion of bulk sample trial and USA combustion trial for Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd

GTL Energy Ltd (GTL Energy) today announced that construction and commissioning of its proprietary ‘first-of-a-kind’, low rank coal upgrading plant, located near South Heart, North Dakota, USA has been completed.

GTL Energy CEO, Robert French, said today, "We are delighted that GTLE's clean coal technology has proven successful on a commercial scale. We are satisfied that the commissioning of GTLE's plant in North Dakota has validated the ability to expand plant capacity on a modular basis, with few of the risks normally associated with scale up."

The GTLE Dakota Plant has been designed as a single module commercial scale plant which will provide proof of the cost-efficient GTL Energy technology to coal consumers and producers from around the world. The Company intends to increase both the length and volumes of production runs through the remainder of 2010.

Mr French said, “Our low temperature drying process has now been proven to be effective in preserving lignite coal characteristics. We produce high energy, mechanically strong briquettes without binders and without creation of environmentally hazardous waste streams.”

“GTL Energy’s technology provides significant opportunities to utilize low rank coal in an environmentally responsible way. It will enable stranded resources to be monetized and help to meet the world’s ever growing demand for energy.”

GTL Energy’s unique coal upgrading process (coal drying / beneficiation) removes moisture from low rank coals to produce low moisture, high energy briquettes. The technology improves the efficiency of low rank coals ensuring a reduction in emissions including CO2, as well as increasing the market value of low rank fuels.

The first large scale production of North Dakota lignite at the GTLE Dakota Plant reduced the moisture by an average of 65%, providing an uplift in energy content of approximately 40%. This was followed by a successful large scale production trial of New Zealand lignite for its joint venture partner, Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd, a major Government-owned resources company and leading producer of high quality coal for export and New Zealand markets. GTL Energy reduced the moisture of the New Zealand lignite by an average of approximately 65%, thus raising the energy content by approximately 50%. Briquettes of New Zealand lignite have been shipped to Solid Energy for further combustion trials with its commercial customers, following a successful industrial scale combustion trial in North Dakota.

Data derived from these and further planned commercial scale trials will be used to prepare multiple feasibility studies for projects under various stages of development in New Zealand, Indonesia, Australia, the USA and Asia.

Mr French said, “These achievements are significant milestones for GTL Energy. We believe that our technology has resoundingly addressed the challenges often associated with coal drying, and we are pleased to have advanced to this stage of development which now provides a very strong platform for growth.”

“We are working with major global engineering firms and clients who recognize the need for our clean coal technology that is now poised for widespread deployment worldwide.”