ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 15, 2003 — DTE Energy has made significant progress toward commercial recovery of a previously untapped energy resource — fine coal from abandoned fine-coal slurry ponds.
The PepTec® Process has the potential to produce useful fuel from the estimated one billion to three billion tons of coal that now sits in slurry ponds throughout the country. Difficulty separating the coal from other materials and impurities has prevented use of this resource in meaningful volumes until now.
“The PepTec® Process is the only technology of which we are aware that can produce high quality coal products from fine coal slurries that are typically discarded,” said Jim O’Neil, president of DTE Coal Services. “We also see great benefits in being able to recover valuable fuel and reclaim active and abandoned fine-coal slurry ponds that are currently classified as environmental and safety problems.”
A newly formed subsidiary — DTE PepTec Inc. — is moving toward commercial operation at its facility to recover and process fine coal from a slurry pond. The facility is near Cadiz, Ohio. This is the first commercial- scale application of the patented PepTec® Process.
Using a proprietary surface-chemistry process, DTE PepTec produces a fine- coal fuel by removing mineral matter, clay-sized impurities and oxides from the waste material. The fine-coal fuel can be used in power plants and other industrial applications. It also can be used as a feedstock for synthetic fuel production.
The processing plant, constructed adjacent to the Dickerson No. 3 Slurry Pond, is operating as DTE Dickerson LLC, a DTE PepTec subsidiary. Dickerson No. 3 Pond contains an estimated four million to five million tons of discarded coal. At full capacity, DTE Dickerson can produce up to 500,000 tons of fine coal fuel per year.
As the material is reclaimed from the slurry pond, the land will be restored and planted with native vegetation, essentially restoring the land to its original condition. Tailings from the PepTec® Process can support plant life and become useable soil.
The PepTec® Process also can be applied to active coal preparation operations, which will substantially reduce the volume of slurry that must be deposited in slurry ponds.
Paul A. Spurgeon, President of DTE PepTec, Inc. said the company expects to develop PepTec facilities at other sites. “In addition to the DTE Dickerson LLC facility, several new projects are being developed,” Spurgeon said. “These projects include potentially reclaiming abandoned slurry ponds in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, as well as augmenting fine coal recovery at several active coal preparation plants in the Central Appalachian coal fields.”
DTE PepTec is a subsidiary of DTE Coal Services. DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE – News), a Detroit-based, diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide, is the parent company of both firms. DTE Energy’s largest operating units are Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, and MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan.
The DTE Energy portfolio of businesses also includes non-regulated subsidiaries supplying a broad range of project and energy management services, primarily to large industrial and commercial customers. In 2002, DTE Energy posted revenues of approximately $6.75 billion. Information about DTE Energy is available at www.dteenergy.com .