GE consortium to build coal seam gas salt extraction plant in South Australia

The GE and Penrice Consortium, which brings together GE and Penrice Soda Holdings have announced an agreement with Australian coal seam gas producer QGC to design, build and operate a brine pilot plant (BPP) at Penrice’s chemical works at Osborne in South Australia.

The GE Penrice BPP is part of a wider initiative by the coal seam gas industry to investigate the technical and commercial viability of producing products such as table salt and soda ash from brine, a by-product of coal seam gas water treatment.

The primary objective of the BPP is to demonstrate the ability of the GE-Penrice process to extract and selectively precipitate salts such as sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate and sodium chloride from the final brine streams.

The plant will be operational in early 2012 and will provide new opportunities for the management of coal seam gas (CSG) water.

The BPP will be based on technology developed by the GE and Penrice Consortium, for the purpose of extracting salts from CSG water and produce commercial grades of sodium bicarbonate, soda ash and sodium chloride.

“This is a powerful example of how GE’s water and process technologies are being used to provide a solution for our customers,” said Irshaad Hakim, regional sales leader, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.

“The contract with QGC is the first step in making this technology commercially scalable and is an important initiative. We will be working closely with Penrice and QGC to further develop this process and are excited by the opportunities it presents.”

Guy Roberts, Penrice managing director, said: “Our aim is for a commercial scale plant using the GE Penrice process that will cost-effectively treat the coal seam gas brine and produce saleable chemicals such as soda ash, sodium bicarbonate and salt, which is the business we already are in.”

“This is another positive step in growing and diversifying Penrice’s chemicals business by leveraging this salt extraction technology,” he added.

[Image courtesy Penrice Soda Holdings.]

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