Resource and Process Development
HRL supports clients in understanding the characteristics and value of their resource and in utilising their resource effectively and economically in new or existing processes. Example resources include coal, waste, biomass and minerals.
HRL's highly-qualified and experienced personnel are able to draw on well-developed problem-solving approaches supported by in-house capability and facilities laboratories, workshops, specialist equipment and modelling software to address client problems. Innovative solutions are achieved by:
- characterising and evaluating a fuel resources
- developing a process- or solution-concept based on client requirements
- testing and optimising the concept through laboratory or pilot testing, measuring and/or modelling
- developing and implementing the solution or process
Solutions are realised using a range of in-house services including:
- routine and advanced laboratory analysis and assessment
- desktop studies including technical and economic assessments
- process and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modelling
- bench - and pilot-plant and full-scale trials
- measuring and optimising processes and plant operation
- briquetting and agglomeration research, and pilot-scale trials
- mitigating risks of dust-explosion, self-heating and spontaneous-combustion
- environmental remediation; monitoring and compliance; and National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) and greenhouse consulting
- materials engineering and plant-integrity services
- managing and implementing projects
HRL's services cover characterising and investigating a broad range of resources and materials including:
- fuel such as coal, biomass, oil shale, bio-wastes and other organic materials
- wastes including contaminated soils
- liquid streams and effluents
- gaseous streams
HRL assists clients to use a resource effectively and economically in proposed or existing processes or plant that include:
- drying and dewatering
- solids handling including crushing, milling, briquetting and agglomeration
- combustion and gasification
- pyrolysis, carbonisation and activated carbons
- smelters, furnaces, reduction kilns and cement kilns
- thermal desorption and waste treatment
- processes using fuels as energy sources
Resource Evaluation and Use
HRL has extensive experience in assessing fuel suitability for applications, particularly low-rank coals. Understanding the quality and variability of a resource is important in selecting and designing appropriate use technologies. Such knowledge can also assist in optimising performance and minimising environmental impacts of existing plant. 0HRL can assist in evaluating coal, biomass, mineral and other resources to assess their suitability for use in existing or proposed processes. Areas of expertise include conceptual process design, flowsheet modelling, prefeasibility studies, and constructing and operating customised bench- and pilot-scale apparatus.
Gasification and Underground Coal Gasification
Gasification can convert suitable coal resources (or other carbonaceous feedstock) into synthesis gas for generating power or producing higher-value products including liquid fuels, synthetic natural gas, fertilisers and other chemical feedstocks. Technical services HRL uses to assist clients in evaluating and developing gasification include characterising a fuel or resource, evaluating gasification reactivity and ash behaviour, simulating and evaluating pyrolysis and gasification in pilot-scale reactors, developing process flowsheets and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modelling. HRL has also assisted clients in evaluating coal resources for use in underground coal gasification (UCG) applications.
Ash Deposition Investigation
Sinters, slags and deposits forming within boilers and other plant can lead to blocked ducts, production losses and outages that increase costs. HRL has extensive expertise in understanding the relationship between impurities in a fuel stream and process conditions that lead to formation of sinters, slags and deposits. Such understanding has allowed HRL to develop cost-effective strategies to control or eliminate the formation of deposits in boilers and other high-temperature processes.
Understanding thermal behaviour and reactivity is necessary in evaluating and selecting suitable use technologies and equipment, optimising processes, controlling quality and ensuring plant integrity and safety. HRL uses thermal analysis techniques, including thermomechanical analysis (TMA) , thermogravimetric analysis with differential scanning calorimetry TGA/DSC), high-pressure thermogravimetric analysis (HP-TGA) and hot-stage microscopy, to characterise materials properties and behaviour. Autoclaves, furnaces and various reactors are also used to evaluate the thermal behaviour of materials in controlled environments.
Bench and Pilot Scale Development
A unique service is designing, constructing, commissioning and operating purpose-built bench- and pilot-scale equipment. The service provides a cost-effective way to understand how different feedstocks perform when exposed to various process variables. The service allows proposed and existing processes to be simulated and demonstrated under realistic conditions. By determining process performance and emissions, models can be validated and clients can have confidence in progressing projects to a larger scale. Processes that can be simulated at the bench- or pilot-scale include combustion and gasification, direct liquefaction, hydrothermal dewatering, thermal desorption, pyrolysis and agglomeration.
Project Management and Implementation
HRL has expertise in managing and implementing small- and large-scale projects. Projects include designing, constructing and operating pilot-plants; and plant upgrades, extensions or refurbishment. HRL draws on its extensive experience to assist clients in implementing tailored solutions.