Technicians sitting in a Mackay service centre are supporting environmental monitoring equipment in Indian power stations, overcoming both the tyranny of distance and travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.

Queensland business Real Time Instruments (RTI) manufactures state-of-the-art analysers that assess coal used in power stations in real time, allowing managers to optimise coal quality to reduce unwanted emissions.

With TIQ’s support, RTI signed a $4.7 million deal in 2017 to supply analysers to 5 Indian power stations owned by NTPC Limited, India’s largest energy conglomerate.

With the last of the 18 analysers commissioned at the Farakka Super Thermal Power Plant recently, RTI’s Chief Sales Officer Willem Robinson said the focus was now on managing and maintaining the analysers to achieve the best possible outcomes.

‘Our analysers sit on the conveyor belt in each power station and use neutron-activation technology to analyse the coal grade, providing data to the station managers about coal quality and probable emissions,’ he said.

‘Instead of measuring emissions after the fact, our technology provides pre-emptive information so that managers can make corrective control decisions before the coal is actually burnt.

‘As part of our service to NTPC, we also use remote access technology to monitor the analysers from here in Mackay, working with technicians on the ground in India to keep them operating at optimal levels.

‘This remote capacity has been even more important in recent months, because local Indian staff haven’t been able to travel to all the station locations due to COVID-19, but we’ve still been able to maintain and calibrate the analysers.’

Mr Robinson said TIQ’s support had been a key pillar of RTI’s success in India.

‘TIQ has always been with us,’ he said.

‘From our local adviser in Mackay to the mining team in Brisbane and the staff at TIQ India, they’ve all helped us along the way.

Mr Robinson said RTI was continuing to work on its export business despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘We’re keen to reinforce and build relationships across the sector, not just in coal but also in steel and other resources,’ he said.

‘COVID-19 has really reminded everyone that with remote access technology you can connect to anywhere in the world from Queensland.’

TIQ has worked with RTI to expand its export presence over a number of years, providing support through TIQ Mackay, the Mining, Resources and Energy team in Brisbane, and TIQ India.

RTI is represented in India by the Vishwa Group, who are also working with TIQ to explore opportunities and to increase the business footprint of Queensland-owned companies in India.

RTI employs more than 20 staff in its Mackay offices and a number of staff based in other Australian states.

The mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector is identified as one of Queensland’s emerging export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.