New Fuels from Kerogen
Kerogen is a naturally occuring solid organic substance that was formed from algae, plants, and animal remains. When heated in a contained environment, kerogen forms an oil which can be used to produce high quality fuels and other products. Kerogen-bearing rock has historically been called oil shale, but actually the rock doesn't contain any oil, and is often confused with the "tight oil" or "shale oil" which has recently been in the news. The International Energy Agency uses the more precise term -"kerogen".
QER has demonstrated technology to produce oil from kerogen while minising and carefully controlling any emissions. Kerogen-rich rock is mined by proven, existing open-cut mining methods. The ore is fed into a competely enclosed processing plant where it is heated to around 500 degrees. The kerogen goes through a process known as pyrolysis by which it is converted into an oil mist which is gathered into liquid oil. The oil is then refined into different kinds of fuels.
QER has produced retail quality, ultra-low sulphur diesel and aviation fuel from kerogen shale at its technology demonstration plant near Gladstone.
The next step is to do so on a commercial scale.
Australian kerogen shale development efforts over the past two decades have provided QER with a substantial knowledge base to support development of new and sustainable processing technology. Coupled with QER's own successful trials of the Paraho process conducted in Colorado and operating the Paraho IITM technology demonstration plant near Gladstone, this knowledge has formed the basis for QER's next stage of development, a small-scale commercial plant, producing retail quality, ultra-low sulfur fuels from kerogen. Successful operation of such a project will herald the creation of an important new industry for Australia.