China and Australian Coal Combustion Products Exchange: Millmerran Power Station and Independent Fly Ash Brokers

- Brisbane, Australia

A Chinese delegation including academics, power plant professionals and coal combustion product consumers traveled to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns on a twelve day visit to Australia. The program, led by David Harris, Chairman of the Asian Coal Ash Association, and Bill Martin, senior partner with Coal Ash Solutions, included visits to key construction material and building material laboratories and production facilities.  The coal combustion products exchange took place from November 19th – 30th. 

The first stop on the tour was a visit to Millmerran Power Station and the co-located fly ash and bottom ash processing facility owned and operated by Independent Fly Ash Brokers. Millmerran Power Station, located just west of Brisbane, is a 1000-megawatt coal mine mouth power station, using pulverized coal and producing 3000 tons of coal ash per year. An introduction to the power station was provided by manager Joel Rickuss. The Chinese delegation observed an overview Millmerran, which is of one of the most cost efficient power stations in Australia. This is partly due to being located next to the coal mine. However, Millmerran also recycles the municipal waste water from the nearby city of Toowomba, piping the water to the station for use in their cooling system. The station does not use standard cooling towers, but a radiator system that proves to be very cost effective and resource efficient in a region of Australia where water conservation is a top priority. 

Bottom ash from the power station is being used for road base, improving the quality of roads for the coal mining operation. The fly ash is being collected by Independant Fly ash Brokers (IFB), a company jointly owned by three regional construction materials companies.  Due to the large distance from the markets, only 20-30% of the fly ash is being beneficially utilised. The rest is being used to backfill the coal mine.

The Chinese delegation noticed the difference in safety protocols and in the organization of the power station.

Independent Fly Ash Brokers is a joint venture between Wagners, Neilsens and CaldwellsIFB has a fly ash processing facility that is co-located with Millmerran. IFB pumps dry ash to their classifiers and silos pneumatically. The tour was given by Peter Dennis, IFB's operations manager.

The degree of automation at the IFB facility is impressive. After being pneumatically conveyed from the power station, fly ash is classified and then stored in hoppers, ready to discharge into pneumatic tanker trucks. Drivers of the tanker trucks pull into the loading bay, underneath the hopper outlet. The driver parks the truck and then goes to the operator deck to connect the discharge pipe from the hopper to the inlet on the truck storage tank. The hopper is on a gantry and - in the case of a double tanker truck - can be moved automatically by the truck driver from one tank to the next without moving the truck. The computer system indicates when the volume of ash has reached the tank capacity and automatically shuts off the discharge. 

All of this is done at a single loading control unit and is efficiently designed as trucks do not need to move from station to station. The whole loading process is operated by the truck driver, reducing labour costs and chances for human error. 

The delegation was very impressed by the degree of automation, cleanliness, organisation, and the factory design.

The next visit on our itinerary was to Wagner's Geoploymer. Wagner’s three trading divisions - Wagners Concrete, Quarries and Transport include cement, flyash and lime, reinforcing steel, on site concrete supply, contract crushing and bulk transport, as well as lightweight composite fibre products. Please view the next post in our post SACCP exchange series, for more information on that visit.

Sino Australia Coal Combustion Products (SACCP) Exchange: November 19-26

Brisbane & Sydney, November 19-26

On the heels of a successful Coal Ash Asia event this past September in Shuozhou City, AsianCAA will be bringing a delegation of Chinese researchers and companies to Australia for a formal academic and commercial exchange.

The itinerary (see below) consists of a multiplatform approach to coal ash utilization in Australia. A couple goals of our tour will be to focus on sustainable design and management strategies in the construction sector and current research projects and initiatives at UNSW. UNSW Built Environment has a close relationship with the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living based at UNSW. The CRC supports end user-driven research collaborations to address the major challenge of climate change facing Australia. UNSW Built Environment researchers are involved in CRC programs dedicated to integrated building systems and engaged communities.

The Centre for Built Infrastructure Research (CBIR) is a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the faculties of Engineering, Science and Design, Architecture and Building. CBIR's nationally and internationally renowned work focuses on finding solutions to important global problems in building structures, materials, design, management, improvement, safety and conservation.

Our commercial exchange is backed by companies who are operational and technical leaders in the coal combustion products industry. Millmerran Flyash Pty Ltd is an independent processor and marketer of coal combustion products, operating out of the Millmerran power station in South East Queensland. Utilising supercritical boiler technology and low NOx burners.

Wagners CFT Manufacturing Pty Ltd have developed and commercialised a new innovative geopolymer concrete named Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC), that offers customers unique durability performance and the highest level of sustainability of any concrete available in the world today.

Cement Australia has a production capacity of over 3 million tonnes annually. Operations range from the mining of raw materials to the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of a diverse range of high performance cements and cement related products.

Adbri Masonry manufactures and supplies a range of products to the building, construction, infrastructure and mineral processing markets throughout Australia. The company’s principal activities include the production, importation and distribution of clinker, cement, industrial lime, premixed concrete, aggregates and concrete products.

To join our delegation or our itinerary of companies/institutes, please email our communications coordinator, Sonya Laing: s.laing@asiancoalash.org.