About 50% of the world’s coal reserve is low-rank coal (lignite, sub-bituminous). Despite being geographically dispersed, abundant, and accounting for almost half of the world’s coal reserves, low-rank coals find limited use due to their high moisture content.
Reducing the moisture content of low-rank coal enhances its heating value and reduces transportation costs, thus increasing its economic value. In addition, dried low-rank coals have been proven to improve plant efficiency, enhance safety, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An ever increasing number of countries are looking for coal-upgrading technologies that can help them utilize their low-rank coal reserves domestically and for export.
Microwave energy is effective for drying coal because water that is contained with and within the coal is preferentially heated rather than heating the coal. Microwave technology is in widespread industrial use, for example for the small scale laboratory drying of coal samples, and on a larger scale in continuous applications such as in food processing and textile manufacturing.
MicroCoal® Technologies Inc. has recently announced the first commercialization project of its patented microwave coal drying technology designed to reduce moisture and contaminants in coal. The technology provides a significant benefit to both coal producers and coal-fired utilities due to its ability to reduce moisture in most coal types economically and at a scale adaptable to all utilities large or small.
MicroCoal® Technologies Inc.
MicroCoal® Technologies Inc. is a public company listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) (formerly the Canadian National Stock Exchange) under the symbol “MTI”. The Company is also quoted on the OTC-Pink marketplace in the U.S under the trading symbol “CFQSF” and on the Frankfurt Bourse under the trading symbol “OFS.F”. MTI is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
MTI is engaged in the global commercialization and initial roll-out of its proprietary microwave coal drying technology known as MicroCoal®. Classified as “coal-upgrading technology” MicroCoal® removes unwanted moisture and contaminants in all types of coal. The MicroCoal® process is an ideal solution for coal-fired utilities wishing to achieve substantial fuel cost savings by switching to low-rank fuels (up to $40 million per year for a large 1000 MW power plant) or to simply make improvements to boiler and plant operating efficiencies when combusting their normal fuel type. The process occupies a small footprint and takes place either on site the coal-fired utility or at any point between the power plant and the mine site provided a suitable power supply is available.
Utilizing its patented and patent pending technology, MicroCoal® evaporates moisture in a highly efficient manner increasing its heating value, and facilitating chemical reactions that can reduce contaminants and other impurities. Reducing moisture allows low- rank coal to burn cleaner and more efficiently. This allows coal fired utilities to purchase lower cost fuels (fuel switching) that result in substantial savings. Other benefits can also be achieved such as a reduction in SOx , NOx and CO2 thereby allowing utilities to reduce costs and maintenance of expensive Flue-Gas Desulfurization (FGD) systems or scrubbers used to remove pollutants from exhaust fumes released to the atmosphere.
First, raw coal is crushed at the power plant facility using existing machinery and processes and delivered via conveyor belt into hoppers above the MicroCoal® facility. Next, the coal feeds by gravity into the vertical reactors and is saturated with microwaves that excites the inherent and surface moisture in the coal, causing the moisture in the coal to be expelled in vapor format, which is then collected by a vacuum system to be filtered and recycled for future use. The coal temperature is maintained at or below 90°C. In this way, the processed coal neither combusts nor volatilizes, and its coking properties are retained. The process occupies a small footprint and takes place either on site the coal-fired utility or at any point between the power plant and the mine site, subject only to the availability of an adequate power supply.
At the same time, the coal undergoes chemical processes resulting in reduced sulphur and other undesired impurities. After treatment, the coal has substantially increased energy content and is transported to existing pulverizers at the power plant for immediate use or to be stored in bunkers.
Bringing Value to the Customer
MicroCoal® can save coal-fired power plants millions of dollars annually, by switching to low-rank coal. At around US$ 14 per tonne, low-rank coals can be utilized, compared to high-rank coals that are priced as high as US$70 per tonne. For a typical power plant of 500MW, current savings by utilizing MCI’s technology have the potential to reach more than US$ 10-200 million annually.
Through this patented process, higher energy coal, when combusted during peak hours, also returns electricity used to upgrade the coal onto the grid. Pollutants are greatly reduced, ash is reduced, and boiler and related efficiencies are improved overall.
Co-developed by Orica Ltd., an $8 billion market cap conglomerate, MicroCoal® has over $10.0 Million invested in technology development and commercialization. Technology has already been secured by multiple process patents.
MicroCoal™ Pilot Plant
Located in Golden, Colorado, the pilot plant was commissioned in 2009, and has tested over 100 types of coal from regions such as North America, China, Indonesia and Europe. The pilot plant processes coal at a rate of up to 3 tonnes per hour. Some coal that have been tested and processed include the following:
- Antelope, Powder River Basin, Wyoming USA – Moisture content reduced from 20.46% to 5.21%
- Wara, Borneo (Kalimantan), Indonesia – Moisture content reduced from 43.09% to 10.59%
- Inner Mongolia, China – Moisture content reduced from 34.48% to 10.53%
Strategic partners and customers
MicroCoal® is currently constructing its first commercial facility in the PT Wijaya Tri Utama power plant in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, Indonesia. In December, 2013, the Company received an initial USD $1.32 million from PT Wijaya Tri Utama for the purchase and construction of a MicroCoal® clean coal upgrading facility for a completed contract price of USD $6,000,000. In addition to the agreed contract price, MicroCoal® will receive an annual royalty fee of $360,000 (6% of the construction price) for a period of six (6) years after completion, plus maintenance fees.
Other customers and strategic partners include:
- Negotiations with Indonesian state-owned electrical utility in progress. Expected value +/- $35 million.
- Agreement under discussion with many North American utilities for demonstration facility.
- The largest coal generating power plant in the world, in Taiwan, is currently in discussion with Mico Coal for implementation of the process.
Experts in science, technology, management
Lawrence Siegel, Chief Executive Officer
- Past CEO of Atari, Seeburg, US Digital, and a consultant to countless Fortune 100 companies.
- Hands-on management skills necessary to implement the company’s technology.
Stan Lis – President
- Co-founder, President & Director of MicroCoal® Technologies Inc. Since its inception in 2006
- Former president, CEO and director of Stream Communications Network & Media Inc.
- President, CEO and Director of Trooper Technologies Inc., an environmental company
- focused on waste management in Central Europe.
Ping Shen – Chief Financial Officer
- Chief Financial Officer of MicroCoal® Technologies Inc. since 2008.
- 18 years of professional experience in both China and Canada and a member of the Certified General Accountant Association of Canada.
Steve E. Sears, MBA, B.Sc. – Chief Executive Officer, MicroCoal® International
- Joined MicroCoal® International Inc. in July, 2012.
- 31 years of knowledge and experience in the coal industry.
- Former VP Sales and Marketing of Massey Energy.
Larry Palmer, CMA, MBA – Finance Director, MicroCoal™ International
- Joined MicroCoal™ International in July, 2012. Mr. Palmer has been in the coal industry since 1980, focused on financial, legal and tax aspects of coal transactions.
- Served in a transitional position at Alpha Natural Resources during its acquisition of Massey Energy Company.
Randall Johnson, P.Eng. – Senior Project Manager
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
James Young, PhD – Director and Chairman
- Chairman of Board of Directors of Novavax, Inc. and is on the Board of Directors for 3-V Biosciences, Inc.
- President of R&D for Medlmmune, Inc. (sold to Astra Zeneca for $15.6 Billion)
William C. Hudson – Independent Director
- Independent Director of MicroCoal® Technologies Inc. since 2010 Founder of The Domus Group
Ian Hume – Independent Director
- Independent Director of MicroCoal® Technologies Inc. since 2010
- Economist; career at the World Bank included macroeconomic work, project assignments, and management positions from Division Chief, Assistant Director of Energy Department, Resident Representative and Country Director in Poland.
Slawek Smulewicz, M.Sc. – Director
Stan Lis – Director
Mr. Wojciech Balczun, MBA – Executive Vice President for Business Development (Europe)
- A specialist in the field of management and international trade.
- From 2007-2013, Mr. Balczun held the position of Chief Executive Officer for PKP Cargo SA., the largest railway cargo carrier in Poland and the second largest in the European Union
Dr. Isaac Yaniv
- 35 years of experience as a materials scientist
- Responsible for more than 20 patents related to materials and mineral processing, including key patents in separation of contaminants from coal. Currently, CEO of ORIS Advanced Materials Ltd.
- Mr. Drolet has worked in the energy and technology innovation industries for over 43 years.
- He brought a wealth of experience at senior management levels to the electrical utility industry at Ontario Hydro, the fourth largest electrical utility in the world (Nuclear, Coal, Natural Gas, Hydroelectric, Renewables) where he ended his career there as President and CEO of Ontario Hydro International doing work for Utility clients in 44 countries around the globe.
- He then joined American Electric Power working in China and Canada on Power System acquisitions and then at DTE Energy of Detroit Michigan in Distributed Generation systems worldwide.