The companies include 12 international firms and research institutions who've formed a coalition called The Alaska Low-Rank Coal-Water Fuel Consortium.
Adding clean water to the particles creates the low-rank coal-water fuel, which has a consistency similar to heavy fuel oil.
The coal-water fuel effort goes back 20 years," says John Sibert, executive director of the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF).
In recent years, in response to soaring oil prices, coal-water fuel (CWF) made from high-rank bituminous coals was developed and tested in most industrial nations.
The second step: The technology "has to be commercially demonstrated in the same way that you had to commercially demonstrate coal-water fuel for bituminous coals," says Bill Irwin, president of International Coal Preparation Consultants Ltd.
Replacing that oil would require 80 million tons of low-rank coal-water fuel a year.
That's what the low-rank coal-water fuel project potential offers," he adds.