Unlocking a Hydrocarbon Arbitrage from Coal

A breakthrough technology for coal to oil products

By crushing and milling coal down to micron-sized particles, Arq’s patent-protected process separates out the impurities to liberate valuable hydrocarbon. The Arq approach is fundamentally different to previous attempts to transform coal into liquid fuels products. It uses small particle science and innovative technologies adapted from chemicals, minerals and food processing industries. However, it is a largely mechanical process, which requires less energy and demands significantly lower operational expenditure than liquefaction. The resulting product, Arq Fuel™, is almost pure hydrocarbon with an average size of four microns (i.e., 4,000th of a millimetre). As a coal replacement product, Arq Fuel™ burns as efficiently and cleanly as natural gas.

More impressively, Arq Fuel™ is also ideal for blending directly into oil products as the tiny particles disperse perfectly when blended into oil and take on the physical characteristics of a liquid. Extensive independent testing has demonstrated that Arq Fuel™ blends deliver substantially the same combustion and refining performance as traditional oil products, and without requiring any change to supply infrastructure or end-user equipment. It also helps shipping companies comply with IMO 2020 regulations on sulfur content by offering fuel components with <0.5 percent S. Arq has been granted a U.S. patent to secure use of their product as a blend component for liquid fuels.

Increased profitability for coal producers

Arq Fuel™ is also suitable for mixing with traditional coal fuels for industrial processes and energy to improve efficiency and reduce emissions. These quality products are the first available on a commercial scale and provide coal producers with a new revenue stream.

This example outlines how coal producers can profit from partnering with Arq to produce pelletized Arq Fuel™, which is a 5 percent ash solid fuel product, as opposed to the 1 percent ash product used to blend with oil products.

The combination of reduced tailings and additional low ash Arq Fuel™ blend stock allows for higher production, and a change in the cut point of the prep plant yields higher volumes of material with higher ash content. This can generate up to a 27 percent revenue increase and higher margins.

Arq Technology™ poised for rapid scaling

Arq is now building further partnerships with industry leaders who share their vision — that technology will be the catalyst for unlocking value in this changing energy landscape while improving environmental performance. The business recently closed its latest funding round of over $50 million at a valuation of over half a billion dollars. This includes landmark transactions with Vitol and Peabody Energy to secure the global supply chain for Arq Fuel™. The investments these industry titans have made in Arq and their commitment of long-term resources are a testament to their confidence in breakthrough Arq Technology™.

Construction of a demonstration commercial-scale Arq plant™ is nearing completion in Corbin, Kentucky. The facility is set to offer its first products to the market in 2019.

C.K. Lane is U.S. head of operations at Arq.