Tech company eyes Yallourn takeover

Yallourn Power Station (yallourn fire)
Yallourn Power Station (Image: Kip Scott/Shutterstock)

Melbourne-based tech company Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ECT), along with a consortium of businesses, wants to purchase the land and mining rights at Yallourn Power Station in the Latrobe Valley when it retires in 2028.

Owned and operated by EnergyAustralia, Yallourn supplies up to 22 per cent of Victoria’s energy and eight per cent of Australia’s electricity. It will be replaced with a battery by 2026.

ECT wants to take its demonstration plant at Bacchus Marsh and move it to the Yallourn site.

Related article: Coal bunker fire hampers generation at Yallourn

“We’re looking at how we can take brown coal and transform it into higher value products with zero emission and zero waste discharge, to create products for future industries,” ECT CEO Glenn Fozard told A Current Affair.

More than $100 million has been spent to create the dried brown coal pellet, which ECT says is made with net zero emissions and can be used for battery production, fertiliser for soil health, and fuel as clean hydrogen.

Fozard said it was a way to take the billions of tonnes of brown coal that’s available in Victoria and turn it into products for future use.

“We’re approaching it from taking the moisture out; using low grade recycled waste heat and that’s the key difference, we don’t use a lot of energy and we don’t combust anything,” Fozard said.

But the company has opposition, with some experts saying brown coal was best kept in the ground.

Related article: Energy Australia charged over Yallourn death

“The worst thing to do right now is to raise people’s expectations that there’s a future for brown coal, when we know with climate change it is very unlikely,” Richie Merzian from the Australia Institute told A Current Affair.

“We’re not on track to avoid dangerous climate change—we need to keep as much coal and gas in the ground.

“That’s not going to waste; that’s actually the best carbon capture solution we have, because releasing that brown coal into the atmosphere is terrible for Australians, is terrible for the world when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.”

Read the full report here.

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