Behind the business, technology for Gladstone's $1b project

ONE of the nation's newer energy industry players has revealed its plans to produce secure, long-term supply of ammonia and gas.

Australia Future Energy's above-ground coal gasification plant will use technology that has been commercially proven over a number of years at six plants in Asia and the United states.

The plant, proposed to be built in Gladstone's State Development Area, would use cheap, low-quality coal to create gas and ammonia for domestic use.

Chief operating officer Ron Higson told The Observer the technology was commercially proven and that he was confident to bring the "relatively complex" process to Australia.

"To the naked eye it will look like any one of those plants operating in Gladstone already," he said.

The plant will have two product streams, gas and ammonia.

It will convert coal to gas by heating it to 1000C.

Part of the gas will be split into hydrogen, which will be mixed with nitrogen to produce ammonia. The remainder of the gas will be converted to a pipeline-suitable product.

Australia Future Energy was launched in 2014.

This is not its first furore into Central Queensland.

A former subsidiary of Australia Future Energy, Batchfire Resources, purchased Callide Mine from Anglo America in 2016.

Batchfire was later spun off into its own company later in 2016.

Mr Parker said there was initial consideration to build a coal-gasification plant at Callide but the project was now focussed in Gladstone.

Mr Parker said this was just the first stage of investment in the region and the energy sector.

"Longer term, hydrogen production is an option but now our focus is firmly on getting this first project up and running," he said.

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