Financial Times: Estonia sees a bright future for oil shale
Now companies in Estonia, which for decades has relied on kerogen shale for the bulk of its energy needs, are seeking to persuade the world they have the keys to unlocking this energy source in new, clean and efficient ways.
Hando Sutter, chief executive of Eesti Energia, Estonia’s largest power company, says: “We don’t have other energy resources, no hydro, oil or gas; so ever since our people found there is a rock you can burn, they have been innovative — we have been generating power from oil shale for almost 100 years.”
Now Eesti Energia — Enefit outside Estonia — is taking the first steps towards exporting the technology it has refined for decades. It expects to get the go-ahead this year from the government of Jordan to build a 540MW power station based on rock containing marine micro-organisms deposited 65m years ago. Jordan imports most of its energy, making its oil shale deposits a potentially valuable resource.
“This is the first major export — the investment is very big. I hope it is the first of many,” says Alar Konist, a senior researcher at Tallinn University of Technology.
Eesti Energia has been piloting a new generation of shale oil power plants, the first of which is planned to be commissioned at design capacity this year, with more than double efficiency compared with older plants. “Through cogeneration of oil, gas and power all at once, we can halve our CO2 emissions,” says Mr Sutter.
Text by David Crouch.
Source: Financial Times, June 5th 2015.