Unusually-named Environmental Clean Technologies (ASX:ECT) has shifted attention from Indian coal tech to Japanese hydrogen.

Chairman Glenn Fozard went to Tokyo to talk up ECT’s technology which they say can turn the dirtiest form of coal — brown — into a ‘black’ coal which produces less CO2 emissions.

He was pitching the process as a way to harness waste heat from a hydrogen gasification plant in order to make the black coal pellets.

Currently, ECT is focusing on an Indian R&D project combining the coal pellet tech with an iron-making process.

The Indian project is causing some headaches for ECT shareholders, as the stock was suspended in mid-March as research partners NLC India and NMDC are delaying finalising the research collaboration agreement.


Hydrogen would be made via a chemical process or via electrolysis, where electricity is used to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen.

Ideally, producers would use clean, renewable energy, but the sheer amount of power needed to do so makes that proposal currently unforeseeable: ECT says politicians’ dreams of a $10bn export industry would require 35,0000 megawatts of new wind power capacity on top of what is already available.

A hydrogen industry does not yet exist in Australia and the $10bn in exports is assumed as being at least two decades away.

ECT would wants to make hydrogen using electricity generated by its black coal pellets, saying brown coal is a cheaper raw material than natural gas, and cheaper than electrolysis, Fozard told the Japan Petroleum, Natural Gas and Metals Mineral Resources Organisation (JOGMEC).

Hydrogen is very attractive to Japan and South Korea as a low-emissions heating and electricity source.

They are keen to decarbonise but don’t have the land or the climate to establish their own renewable energy sectors.

The Japanese-led Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) consortium with support from the Australian federal and Victorian state governments plan to launch a $500m pilot coal-to-hydrogen project in the La Trobe Valley.

ECT would like to insert its coal pellet technology into that project.