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Glossary

Definitions

A


Air Separation Unit (ASU): Also known as an oxygen plant, this is used to distill pure oxygen from compressed air. ASUs are used for industrial processes all around the world.

B


Boiler
: Used in energy production to heat water to produce steam, and the steam then turns the turbine.

C


Carbon cycle
: The circulation of carbon - a chemical element - through the atmosphere into organisms and back again.

Carbon capture: Capturing the carbon dioxide and compressing it, ready for geological storage.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS): The process of capturing and compressing greenhouse gas pollution from coal or gas power plants, and storing it underground in suitable geological formation (see also geosequestration).

Carbon dioxide (CO2): A greenhouse gas which occurs naturally in the atmosphere and is also produced as a bi-product of burning fossil fuels, such as coal. Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, as a result of industrial activities such as electricity production, mining, manufacturing and land clearing.

Clean coal: A term used loosely to explain how we can make burning coal less harmful to the environment. Energy companies use this term to explain how we capture the by-product of burning fossil fuels, and store it underground, instead of sending them up the chimney.

Clean coal technology (CCT): The science and materials used to make burning coal less harmful to the environment. Oxyfuel is an example of CCT.

Climate change: Commonly refers to the theory that human activity is accelerating the natural greenhouse effect, and increasing the Earth’s surface temperature (also known as global warming).

Coal: An organic sedimentary rock, which is carbon-rich and in abundant supply in Australia. Coal is a fossil fuel, meaning it contains plant and animal remains that can be burned to release energy. Most of Australia’s electricity is generated from coal-fired power stations.

Combustion: Another word for ignition or fire. In coal-fired electricity production, coal is used as a fuel to fire the boiler.

Compression plant: Used in the oxyfuel process to separate and liquefy carbon dioxide (captured before leaving the chimney), so it is ready for geological storage.

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F

 

Flue: A pipe used in the chimney through which gases and smoke escape from burning coal.

Fossil fuel: A fuel formed from the remains of organic materials and largely comprises of carbon and hydrogen. Coal, oil and natural gas are all fossil fuels.

G

 

Generator: A machine used in electricity production that produces electrical energy from mechanical energy.

Geosequestration: The term used for the storage of carbon dioxide in a suitable geological formation, deep underground. This is usually more than a kilometre or two deep, through rock strata, into a seam identified by geological experts to be suitable for storage of carbon dioxide.

Global warming: See climate change.

Greenhouse gases: The gases (carbon dioxide, water vapour, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and various fluorocarbons) that blanket circling the Earth and which prevent solar radiation from the sun being reflected back into space.

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L

 

Low emission coal: Electricity generation using clean coal technology that makes a 90% or more reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide.

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O

 

Oxy firing: The process of using oxyfuel technology to fire the boiler, creating a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide, suitable for capture and storage.

Oxyfuel technology: Burning coal in a mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide, rather than air, creating a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide as a by-product.

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R

 

Retrofit:  To fit into or onto equipment already in existence or service. One of the key benefits of oxyfuel technology is that it can be ‘bolted on’, or retrofitted, to existing coal-fired power stations.

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T

 

Turbine: Motors that operates from the spinning action created by a turning fan or a vaned wheel that is set in motion by water, wind or other source of energy. The Oxyfuel Project uses a steam turbine.

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