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The environmental disaster that was Linc Energy

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by basilio, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. basilio

    basilio

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    Linc Energy exploded onto the scene in 2006 with the promise of a clean, technical solution to making squillions of dollars from useless underground coal reserves. Essentially start a controlled underground fire in the coal seams, suck out combustion materials, purify them and produce clean fossil fuel energy.

    Sounds great doesn't it ? What could possibly go wrong....?? Well practically everything. Turns out the technology was fatally flawed and that from Day 1 the underground pollution was clear, disastrous and always denied.

    The situation is now in court with a number of Linc Energy officials facing charges of environmental damage on a scale never seen in Australia.

    From my perspective it makes one question almost any industry story on the security of it's technology when it is dealing with inherently dirty products and practices. Also makes one wonder about the role of regulators in standing up to business that just denies and covers gross disasters - and the agenda of big business calling for more environmental de-regulation

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/lif...r/news-story/89096454ced60874c5d8e2e967fb9c1c
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-...y-charged-with-environmental-offences/8021560

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-10/linc-energy-gas-plant-contaminated-soil-hydrogen/8259408

    PS I was a strong supporter of Linc Energy in it's early days. Completely sucked in.. Certainly made me reconsider my trust in techology wonders.
     
  2. basilio

    basilio

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    Regardless of your general views the report by The Australian is worth reading.

    Very scary.
     
  3. skc

    skc Goldmember

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    Thanks for sharing. LNC was one of those stocks on the ASX that was very divisive (a bit like AKP or LNG nowadays). The supporters and doubters get into heated debates over everything from technology, to price action being manipulated, to the characters of Peter Bond.

    I hope justice will be served.
     
  4. Smurf1976

    Smurf1976

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    Turning coal into syngas isn't a new idea, it's essentially the same process used to produce "town gas" for cities before natural gas replace it.

    Trouble is, that town gas production process was incredibly polluting with an assortment of wastes both liquid and gaseous. Go to any former gas works site and the ground is invariably toxic.

    Which brings up another point. There is no way you'd get me living anywhere close to a former gas works. They're all pretty much the same and let's just say I've seen first hand what's in the ground around a couple of them.... ;)

    But yes, that stuff does strip the paint off machinery. Puts workers in hospital too. Even worse when it's mixed with water, was intentionally dumped on the ground and there's no practical way to deal with it. At least when it's in an underground tank and isn't mixed with water it can be burnt reasonably safely firing industrial kilns or boilers to get rid of it (and that's exactly how it's disposed of - best option available really). But you can't do that when it's mixed with water and you certainly can't do it when it has soaked into the soil over a wide area.

    Done above ground with modern processes and environmental standards it could probably be done reasonably cleanly and safely. Comparable to an industry such as oil refining for example - not totally safe but reasonably OK. But underground? Well no, that's going to be a lot harder since you've got the rather big problem of where the heavy (liquid) hydrocarbons end up.....
     
  5. banco

    banco

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    I hope the landholders beat the former linc executives within an inch of their life as I have zero faith they will go to jail.
     
  6. skc

    skc Goldmember

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    Not buying a place here then?
    http://www.realestate.com.au/project-gasworks+residences-qld-newstead-600011446
    http://gasworksplaza.com.au/
     
  7. Smurf1976

    Smurf1976

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    Wouldn't even consider it unless I was sure they'd done the clean up properly.

    Any old town gas production facility based on coal (and that was all of them until at least the 1950's in Australia) will have produced an assortment of toxic by-products that's a given. How they disposed of them, particularly the tar, is the real concern.

    I'm familiar with one situation in a street beside one of these old sites. Some excavation work being done to put new stuff in the ground. Long story short, the "mud" they were digging out of those trenches completely stripped the paint off any machinery it came in contact with (which sounds rather similar to the Linc situation). Most effective means of paint removal I've ever heard of - one splash of that stuff and that's it, no more paint. That says all anyone really needs to know about how the contamination migrates out of these sites and is still there decades after production ceased.

    There's a pretty long history of dealing with these sites in the UK in a satisfactory manner but we seem to have taken it far less seriously in Australia thus far.
     
  8. ricolo0

    ricolo0

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    Hello,

    is somebody still invested in LINC ENERGY ?

    Glad to hear from you !

    Thanks !
     
  9. basilio

    basilio

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    The chickens have turned into emus and are coming home to roost for Peter Bong and Linc Energy. The court case around the damage caused to the environment by their operations has concluded with a guilty finding. It will be interesting to see how far the court pursues the executives over this case given the damage they caused and the the fact they were always aware of what was happening.


    Linc Energy guilty of causing serious environmental harm
    Water in Queensland’s Darling Downs was polluted so much it was unfit for stock, court hears

    Australian Associated Press

    Sun 8 Apr 2018 23.19 EDT


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    3021.jpg

    Linc CEO Peter Bond never directed staff to follow mandated UCG safety practice, the court heard. Photograph: Andrew Taylor/AAP
    A failed Queensland energy company has been found guilty of causing serious environmental harm by polluting the Darling Downs with hazardous contaminants despite warnings from scientists.

    Linc Energy has been on trial for weeks at Brisbane district court, where the jury was told that toxic gas leaked from its operations between 2007 and 2013.

    The company was charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing environmental harm.

    2863.jpg
    Queensland may pursue Linc executives for cleanup costs
    Read more
    During the trial, the court heard Linc operated four underground coal gasification (UCG) sites in Chinchilla, where it burnt coal underground at very high temperatures to create gas.

    Its operations left water polluted to the point it was unfit for stock to consume.

    Scientists and workers warned about gases bubbling from the ground but the company kept operating.

    Crown prosecutor Ralph Devlin QC said the Linc CEO, Peter Bond, was aware of guidelines to safely manage UCG operations but had never directed staff to follow mandated practices.

    “Bond prioritised Linc’s commercial interests over the requirements of operating its mining activity in an environmentally safe manner,” Devlin said. “Linc did nothing to stop, mitigate or rehabilitate the state of affairs that Linc itself had caused.”

    The damage was done, in part, by Linc injecting air into the ground as part of the UCG process.

    That created and enlarged fractures.

    Linc tried to concrete surface cracks and use wells to control pressure but it did not sufficiently reduce risks or damage, the court was told.

    Scientists who visited the site gave evidence during the trial and on Monday Linc was convicted of all five charges.

    Sentencing has been listed for 11 May.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environ...-guilty-of-causing-serious-environmental-harm
     
  10. basilio

    basilio

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    The Chickens have turned into Giant Emus and come home to roost.
    A Brisbane District Court has found Linc Energy guilty of wilfully and unlawfully causing environmental damage -- and not in a small way.

    It will be interesting to see what sentences are passed and how they they are put into effect. The damage Linc cause to the rivers , grounds and underground aquifers is immense.

    Linc Energy guilty of causing serious environmental harm
    Water in Queensland’s Darling Downs was polluted so much it was unfit for stock, court hears

    Australian Associated Press

    Sun 8 Apr 2018 23.19 EDT

    Shares
    14
    3021.jpg
    Linc CEO Peter Bond never directed staff to follow mandated UCG safety practice, the court heard. Photograph: Andrew Taylor/AAP
    A failed Queensland energy company has been found guilty of causing serious environmental harm by polluting the Darling Downs with hazardous contaminants despite warnings from scientists.

    Linc Energy has been on trial for weeks at Brisbane district court, where the jury was told that toxic gas leaked from its operations between 2007 and 2013.

    The company was charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing environmental harm.

    2863.jpg
    Queensland may pursue Linc executives for cleanup costs
    Read more
    During the trial, the court heard Linc operated four underground coal gasification (UCG) sites in Chinchilla, where it burnt coal underground at very high temperatures to create gas.

    Its operations left water polluted to the point it was unfit for stock to consume.

    Scientists and workers warned about gases bubbling from the ground but the company kept operating.

    Crown prosecutor Ralph Devlin QC said the Linc CEO, Peter Bond, was aware of guidelines to safely manage UCG operations but had never directed staff to follow mandated practices.

    “Bond prioritised Linc’s commercial interests over the requirements of operating its mining activity in an environmentally safe manner,” Devlin said. “Linc did nothing to stop, mitigate or rehabilitate the state of affairs that Linc itself had caused.”

    The damage was done, in part, by Linc injecting air into the ground as part of the UCG process.

    That created and enlarged fractures.

    Linc tried to concrete surface cracks and use wells to control pressure but it did not sufficiently reduce risks or damage, the court was told.

    Scientists who visited the site gave evidence during the trial and on Monday Linc was convicted of all five charges.

    Sentencing has been listed for 11 May.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environ...-guilty-of-causing-serious-environmental-harm
     
  11. Smurf1976

    Smurf1976

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    I lost faith in this company well before the end for reasons from which I think there’s a broader lesson.

    They were not focused on their actual business.

    Remember the “Diesel Dash” and other stunts? All the talk that they were going to generate electricity too?

    Thing is, turning syngas into electricity is dead easy and not even slightly innovative. GE or Mitsubishi could sell anyone suitable equipment and for that matter there are numerous power stations in Australia that could operate on syngas with relatively minor modifications.

    Turning syngas into diesel isn’t new either. The tech is well understood and has been used commercially overseas.

    Turning it into fertilizer, another one of their ideas, isn’t a new one either.

    What was new was Linc’s method of producing the syngas without first needing to mine the coal. THAT was the only thing Linc had that could be considered as their own technology but they were far too busy proving what others have proven long ago.

    Their approach was akin to an investor with $20K in their account focusing on mansions, yachts and luxury cars. Nope - you need to focus on making the money, or syngas in Linc’s case, rather than worrying about the comparatively straightforward aspects of spending / using it.

    Beware of companies engaging in marketing stunts and elaborate plans for the use of products they’re failing to successfully produce.

    The saddest part is that they’ve completely trashed government and public perception of an idea which, if done carefully with a proper approach, could well be environmentally better than the conventional alternatives.
     
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