Battelle Demos, Will Commercialize Coal-to-Jet Fuel Technology

Ohio-based Battelle announced April 20 it has successfully demonstrated a technology process to convert coal to jet fuel. The hybrid, direct coal-to-liquids process using biomass-derived coal solvents has been developed through a cost-shared program backed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Ohio Coal Development Office (OCDO). “The conversion of coal to syncrude is carried out at a relatively low pressure without requiring gaseous hydrogen or a catalyst,” Battelle officials said. “The syncrude can be upgraded to jet fuel and other distillates employing conventional petroleum upgrading technology.”

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MSHA Delays Mine Dust Sampling

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced it is temporarily delaying its respirable coal mine dust sampling because of a newly discovered interference issue between the sampling devices and proximity protection systems.

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Anglo Unloads Foxleigh Mine

After more than a year on the market, Anglo American has sold its 70% share in the Foxleigh met coal operation in Australia to Sydney-based Taurus Fund Management. Financial terms for the deal, which is still pending and should close within the next few months, are being kept confidential. The producer first bought its share in 2007.

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STB Cuts Off Tongue River

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) has killed the future of the planned 42-mile-long Tongue River Railroad, citing the uncertainty of permitting, costs and a continued weak coal market. The unanimous STB decision was made public on April 26. The application for the line, which had a price tag of $405 million, was suspended by its backers—Arch Coal, BNSF and TRRC Financing—late last year. The origination and service point for Tongue River, which was first proposed more than 30 years ago, would have been Arch Coal’s planned Otter Creek operation. Arch filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and subsequently shelved its plans for Otter Creek last month.

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