http://www.quantexenergy.com/ () —
Quantex Energy Inc. (QEI), a private Alberta-based company, is pleased to announce that New Hope Corporation Limited (NHC), a public company operating three open-cut thermal coal mines in Australia, has made a strategic equity investment in the company through its energy initiative, New Hope Energy Pty Ltd. (NHE)
QEI has a 25-year exclusive license to a patented (pending) technology, developed by West Virginia University, which creates high value carbon products using a direct coal liquefaction process. The Quantex Process has superior environmental performance over many of the competitor technologies, produces a synthetic crude oil (SCO) and high grade synthetic coke with high carbon conversion rates from a range of coal types.
NHE's initial investment, for 25% of QEI and sister Company Quantex Research Corporation, will immediately allow QEI to move forward with construction of a demonstration/pilot plant. NHE has the right to acquire up to 51% equity in the technology at agreed costs.
NHE and QEI have undertaken to commercialize the technology over the next few years supported by an extensive research program to provide even greater flexibility in coal use, maximizing a range of alternative operating configurations and testing even higher quality product scenarios.
QEI's Chief Executive Officer, Gilbert Chalifoux, states that "We have been working on this technology for a few years now, refining and developing it to the point where it offers tremendous potential for crude oil and carbon product production that can make a meaningful difference in today's world. Working with New Hope, we have a very strong and skilled partner who is a powerful proponent of alternative energy sources. We are extremely pleased to be moving the technology forward with them."
The Process is essentially a closed loop system with the coal diluents being recycled without CO2 gas production, nor the requirement for water in the process itself. Detailed engineering is underway and should be completed by the end of the year with the construction of a "proof of concept" plant in 2011 providing process results in 2012.
Gordon Eberth, Chief Operating Officer of QEI advises that "We are well on the way to selecting a site for our demonstration unit. Opportunities exist in North America, and elsewhere, and we will make a final decision before the end of this year. The important thing to remember is that coal is geographically very dispersed, and with our Process, coal producers and crude oil refiners are able to produce SCO at well under current market prices We believe this technology can, and will be, welcomed around the planet."
"Our objective is to maximize the flexibility of the process with the main economic driver being the capacity for SCO production" continued Mr. Chalifoux. "The Process is already proven in making anode and needle grade coke for the aluminum and electric arc steel making industries. The SCO production process also has the potential to provide a by-product of high quality synthetic metallurgical coke for the steel industry. If successful, the scale of commercial plants is likely to be in the range of 10,000 to 50,000 barrels per day."
Mr. Eberth added. "We are engaging refining and upgrading expertise to evaluate the best mix of existing technologies and product value. It is likely that specific coal properties, geographical location, infrastructure and local refinery capabilities will determine the optimal technology to maximize financial returns."
In summary, the wide global distribution of existing coal reserves provides the opportunity for this Process to replace a portion of the global crude oil supply. The process is compatible with conventional oil industry refining techniques, and offers the opportunity to provide a secure, cost competitive crude supply to refineries.