(EnergyAsia, August 15 2012, Wednesday) — ASX-listed Environmental Clean Technologies (ECT) said it will apply for part of an A$90 million funding package offered by the Australian government to accelerate new lignite upgrading technologies in the Latrobe Valley.

Under the terms of the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program (ALDP), funds will be allocated to companies, which can demonstrate pre-commercial coal upgrading technologies with the potential to deliver environmental and economic benefits.

Accessing funds under this programme will help companies fast-track commercialisation plans for selected technologies.

Announcing the joint State-Federal funding plan, Victoria state’s Energy Minister Michael O’Brien said the brown coal resource has underpinned economic growth and provided Victoria with a strong competitive advantage.

“There is a long term viable future for the Latrobe Valley based on the sustainable use of brown coal,” he said.

Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said the programme would ensure continued opportunities for economic growth, employment in the Latrobe Valley region and a sustainable source of energy for Victorian industries and households.

“There is also potential for brown coal to develop into a valuable export, which would not be possible without the technological innovation that may also assist in meeting the government’s emissions reductions targets of five per cent fewer emissions than 2000 levels by 2020,” he said.

ECT said its Coldry lignite drying technology is a worthy contender for funding support under this assistance program.

The company said: “Not only do we have a technology that is a more environmentally friendly means of transforming raw lignite into a ‘black coal equivalent’ for energy supply, we have already commenced our detailed engineering designs for both a commercial demonstration plant and a commercial-scale (2 million tonnes per annum) plant. tender and targeted 2014 as our completion timeframe.

“While we have applied for government funding in the past, the narrow selection criteria that previously applied often prevented our Coldry technology from complying.”