Coal analysis technology to aid greener electricity
According to international minerals analysis company Intellection it has opened up new markets for its technology with the sale of a QEMSCAN® system to South African power utility, Eskom.The 65th system sold globally, the Eskom purchase represents the first commercial use of QEMSCAN® for coal analysis, and the first by a power generation company anywhere in the world.Intellection CEO Calvin Treacy said the sale was a milestone for the innovative Australian-based company.“This is a ground-breaking initiative on Eskom’s part, and we’re excited to be part of it,” he said. “There is real potential for our technology to produce tangible benefits for coal exploration, mining, handling and processing, power generation, and other coal users, so we’re delighted Eskom is showing the world how it’s done.Eskom is owned by the South African government and generates 95% of electricity used throughout the country. It ranks among the top seven utilities in the world for generation capacity.As a large consumer of coal, Eskom is seeking to use the resource more efficiently, and will apply QEMSCAN® data to predict coal performance in a pulverised fuel boiler and environmental impacts.Eskom will locate the QEMSCAN® within its Corporate Service Division, Research and Innovation Department. It will initially be used to establish a research program, and then operationally for decision-making within the Generation Division.“QEMSCAN® gives us a thorough understanding of the mineral/phase composition of our coal and ash,” said Eskom Chief Advisor Chris van Alphen.“From this knowledge, we have developed models to predict with some degree of certainty the performance of certain coal types in our boilers. This provides an opportunity to efficiently manage our coal supplies, reduce incidence of unplanned outages and to reduce the impact on the environment.“The potential of using QEMSCAN® in research to determine the elemental and maceral proportions is being actively investigated by Eskom. This combined with the proven mineral/phase identification capability of QEMSCAN®, will provide a comprehensive and cost-effective analysis of coal.”The purchase also represents the second QEMSCAN® sale via Intellection’s Southern Africa distributor, Carl Zeiss South Africa. The distributorship builds upon the strategic agreement between Intellection and Carl Zeiss SMT Ltd for the development and supply of microscopy technologies for QEMSCAN®.Its capabilities in modal mineralogy, element deportment, discrimination of organic structures and textural analysis are already recognised by coal industry groups. The company has built on this to develop a suite of coal applications for commercial release.“Intellection is in a stage of growth and business diversification, based on the strength and flexibility of our QEMSCAN® technology,” Calvin Treacy said. “From our original core market in mining, we have now established a presence in the oil and gas market. Expanding on our coal applications is a strategic priority for us in 2008.”Headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, with operations in the UK, US and Chile, Intellection provides integrated solutions and services for the automated, quantitative analysis of minerals, rocks, metals and other inorganic compounds based on the company’s QEMSCAN® technology.