COAL-FIRED TURBINES VERSUS DIESEL: AN AUSTRALIAN CONTEXT

The author has clearly concluded that coal is a viable alternative fuel--especially when applied to the expanding Newcastle (NSW) to Yokohama route. As a catalyst, the sums of Australia's National Energy Advisory Committee already conclude that A$600 million could be saved if anticipated oil demand in 1985 could be reduced by 15 per cent. All the known disadvantages of coal--more bunker space, fuel and ash handling problems, additional crew, and a lower calorific value of 12,000 btu/lb compared with 17,400 btu/lb for oil--are initially offset by the attractive (1978) price of Newcastle's high grade steaming coal (A$22/tonne f.o.b.) compared with Australian coast heavy fuel (A$88/tonne--now some A$156). Additionally, furnace coal could be bunkered at the same quay as cargo, with enough being taken on board to fuel the round trip to Japan--a comparatively short ocean voyage. An extra attraction of Newcastle is that in 1981, following a dredging programme, 110,000 tonne d.w. bulk carriers will be able to berth there; indeed, it is this size of ship which has been chosen for the author's study. Although it is calculated that a 110,000-tonne vessel would consume 142 tonne/day of coal compared with 72 tonnes for a 20,000 bhp diesel ship, the annual fuel costs based on 288 days steaming work out at A$1 824 768 (diesel) but only A$899 712 (coal-fired steam tubine). There will, of course, be a deadweight penalty (estimated at 2,000 tonnes) for a coal-burning ship, with a consequent loss of revenue, plus additional hull construction costs originally calculated at A$4.2 million, but now believed to be only A$2 million. Nevertheless an Australian-flag ship with a 16-year life, and 10 per cent interest rate on loans to build her, could produce a return on the extra investment of 17.5 per cent. It is emphasised that the formula to achieve this is based on the assumption that the ratio between coal and oil prices will remain constant.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Taylor & Francis

    4 Park Square, Milton Park
    Abingdon,   United Kingdom  OX14 4RN
  • Authors:
    • Bendall, H B
  • Publication Date: 1980

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  • Accession Number: 00311635
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 26 1980 12:00AM