Clean Coal Technologies Targets Multibillion-Ton Coal Opportunity With its Disruptive Dehydration Technology
By Uttara Choudhury
August 29, 2019 - Clean Coal Technologies Inc (OTCMKTS:CCTC) has a patented technology that creates stable, dust-free coal. The Madison Avenue, New York-based company is developing what could be the world’s first commercially viable and scalable coal dehydration technology.
In layman’s terms, the coal-converting technology puts lower-quality coal through a mild gasification process, removing moisture as well as coal's worst pollutants. The company’s proprietary, Pristine M technology is the result of ten years of intense research and testing.
The company’s technology could throw a lifeline to America’s coal towns in the Appalachian region and the western state of Wyoming which is the country’s largest coal producer.
The University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources has validated Clean Coal’s Pristine technology which essentially removes the water from coal, and converts it into a cleaner-burning fuel. The University awarded the coal technology company a grant of $500,000 in 2019 and another $500,000 in 2020.
Proactive sat down with Clean Coal Technologies CEO Robin T. Eves to learn more about how Pristine M technology has the potential to revolutionize the coal industry and upgrade billions of tons of low-rank coal around the world.
Your company has a patented technology which produces stable, dust-free beneficiated coal. Can you talk about how Pristine M technology works?
Pristine M is a globally patented technology that is the result of 10 years of research and testing. Our unique first of a kind proven technology removes moisture from the coal after it is mined and replaces that moisture with hydrocarbons. The end result is you produce a higher heat value, stabilized and dust free coal. Our tests show a 33% increase in heating value which means that a coal power plant will need to consume 33% less coal to achieve the same energy output. It also avoids paying to transport "water" when transporting the coal. We create a more environmentally responsible coal.
Other technologies have come and gone. Why is your technology different?
Our technology has taken in excess of 10 years to get to where we are today. We have studied all previous technologies and identified their issues. The real unique aspect of our technology is that it does not include any third-party chemicals in order to stabilize the processed coal for transportation. The DNA of the coal does not change. It is a modular design which eliminates many of the problems other technologies have encountered when scaling up from their test plants to a one-million-ton plant.
How can your technology help troubled coal towns in the Appalachian region of the eastern United States and the western state of Wyoming?
Globally the demand for higher quality, lower moisture coal continues to increase. Simple supply and demand economics come into play, so we see a wide spread between the price of low quality coal, and higher quality coal. Wyoming Powder River Basin coal is generally viewed as lower energy coal. Our technology has successfully beneficiated their coal so they can compete with other coals and compete in the global export market.
Can you talk about the work being done at the University of Wyoming linked to your pre-combustion solution?
In 2017, the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming signed a partnership with us. They are recognized as one of the pre-eminent coal technology research institutions in the world. After watching our test facility operate in Oklahoma, they set their process, mechanical and chemical engineers to work and in conjunction with our engineers identified a number of small but very meaningful upgrades to the facility that will further increase the energy value of the processed coal and ensure complete stabilization.
They spent six months last year independently testing our technology in their research lab and following their successful validation they have agreed to advance up to $1 million in matching grants to us. Their involvement reaffirms the positive test results we saw in the field, but they bring a degree of independence to the process.
Since your technology is pre-commercial, can you provide some insight into how you plan to grow revenue? Have you already signed contracts?
Initially we will commence with signing license agreements with our clients that will be a $1 per ton upfront fee followed by a $3 per ton royalty fee. We have signed two license agreements. One with Jindal Power and Steel out of India and one with Wyoming New Power out of Wyoming. However, the second-generation plant being assembled in Wyoming will produce char which is a valuable by-product with immediate local demand for it in Wyoming and from the University of Wyoming.
Since you have a market disruptive technology how will you prevent it from being stolen and protect your intellectual property?
Our technology is fully protected globally via our patent lawyers Nixon Vanderhye. We also take the necessary precautions when dealing with certain countries where our patents may not be sufficiently protected. This includes dealing with reputable law firms in that country. Our engineering, procurement and construction contractor, although they might not be the actual company doing all the construction work, will retain project management of projects around the world which is also a large step in protecting the intellectual property.
Why is Clean Coal Technologies a good long-term investment?
This is a multibillion-ton global opportunity where less than 1% market penetration would provide an enormous opportunity.
Coal is here to stay for the foreseeable future. India, China and most of Asia will continue to increase their coal consumption. We are not advocating the increased use of coal. We are simply recognizing its continued growth and have a unique first of a kind technology that can upgrade the coal that is currently being used so that less will be consumed. Also, as it is a dust free product that addresses coal dust pollution during transportation. We decided to stay below the radar with respect to marketing our technology until we had fully tested and validated it. That time is now.
Cheap and plentiful, coal remains the single largest source of energy to generate electricity worldwide. Can you talk about global coal consumption and which parts of the world are the heaviest users?
Approximately 3.916 billion ton of coal was produced globally in 2018. There has been an increase in coal production every year since 2015. Actual global coal consumption in 2018 was 3.772 billion ton. This was the highest rate of coal consumption since 2012. This increase is primarily driven by China, India and Indonesia with 2.4 billion ton consumed by those three countries alone. In China, there was a year-on-year increase of 1% while India showed an increase year-on-year of 8.7%.
Is coal declining in the United States as cheaper alternatives and climate concerns push it out of the market?
I would be very careful using the word cheaper when it comes to alternative energy. The states that have moved away from coal power generation have the highest energy costs per resident. Louisiana and Arkansas for example charge $0.101 per kilowatt hour, while states that have moved away from coal like Connecticut charge $0.233 kWh. so more than double. It is our view that coal has been reducing in the US because of ill thought out regulations that have ignored the need for reliable and affordable energy for their residents. It also ignores the incredible cost of clean-up from obsolete solar panels and overall ecological impact of wind farms
What is the difference between high-quality and low-quality coal?
Coal comprises many chemicals one of which is water. Every coal deposit is different. The coal deposits with high moisture coal emit less energy than low moisture coals. Think about trying to burn wet logs to warm a room. You need more logs and it takes longer. The same applies to coal. The higher the moisture content of coal the more you need to consume.