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Low Calorific Value Export Coals - Use and Markets

Although low Calorific Value (CV) coals often lie outside of the operational specifications of current  power  stations,  they can frequently be blended with higher CV coals in order to create a feed mixture usable by existing boilers.  Coal purchasers primarily resort to blending in order to cut costs by taking advantage of low CV price discounts; additionally,  there is an increasing trade in low CV/low sulphur coals to help meet SOx emissions standards without use of expensive stack-scrubbing technologies.

While lower quality coals have traditionally been seen as viable only for local power station use, the seaborne trade has risen over the past few years in tandem with intensifying competition for sourcing in the Pacific region.

One area of interest is Indonesia, where  export volumes have increased greatly in the last ten to fifteen years.  In India, several coastal  "ultra mega power stations" have been designed specifically to burn the kinds of low CV imported coal which have been marketed by several Indonesian firms.  At the same time, the infrastructure bottlenecking problems faced by  export majors Australia and South Africa have  likely helped to strenghten Indonesia's low CV export position.  

As the highest calorific value coals become scarcer, suppliers and users will  turn to technological innovation and resource substitution to keep the boilers running; increasingly, coals of what had previously  been considered marginal quality will be part of the the trade and of the fuel mix.

Energy Edge can help you understand the evolution of the fast-developing lower-CV coal trade. the uncertainties ahead.  If you have questions,  contact  Energy Edge partner Martin Bloemendal  today!



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