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Smith: Coal-CO2 problem can be overcome

Wednesday, 31 March 2004

Smith: Coal-CO2 problem can be overcome

United Future MP, Murray Smith, says alarmist claims that New Zealand’s coal reserves can’t be used to plug the nation’s looming energy gap don’t stand up to rational scrutiny.

“Recently, I and a group of my fellow United Future MP’s travelled to CRL Energy's Gracefield offices to view an advanced technology coal gasifer recently launched by CRL Energy as the first stage of a hydrogen energy technology package,” he says.

“This exciting development is designed to provide hydrogen-based energy generation by extracting hydrogen gas from coal. The technology overcomes the problem of CO2 gas emissions arising from coal-fired electricity plants by reinjecting the CO2 back into the ground.

“We discussed the technology at length with Drs Steve Pearce and Trevor Matheson of CRL Energy. Among many facts we learned that New Zealand has an estimated 8.6 billion tonnes of economically recoverable coal reserves which could meet New Zealand's energy needs for 100’s of years. However the problem of CO2 emissions has, up until now, been a major impediment to the coal's use.”

Mr Smith says that, with the demise of Project Aqua, development of new technologies such as CRL Energy's hydrogen proposal has become even more urgent.

He believes that the Government ought to provide strong backing to CRL Energy to develop their project further.


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