Underground Coal Gasification Poised to Grow Fivefold, Zeus Report
HOUSTON, TX -- (Marketwire) -- 10/18/11 -- The potential energy
supply from underground coal gasification (UCG) is so vast that the
technology could rival the shale gas revolution, a Zeus Development
Corp. study finds. Because UCG developers can target coals that are
deep, of low grade and in seams too thin for economical mining, the
technology could increase recoverable reserves threefold, a Lawrence
Livermore National Lab report found in 2008.
"Underground coal gasification could solve a lot of the developing
world's energy supply challenges, provided developers can manage
environmental risks," Zeus Analyst Chris Cothran, a coauthor of the
study, said. "We believe it will be applied most extensively in
countries such as India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh, where
governments have unmineable reserves and are keen to improve
standards of living without having to compete for high-priced oil."
UCG involves pumping air or oxygen underground to gasify coal in situ
into synthesis gas, which is then pumped to the surface. This avoids
costly infrastructure, energy and labor required to mine and
transport raw coal, gasify it, and then dispose of mountains of ash.
With UCG, the ash remains underground. Greenhouse gases can be
captured and pumped underground or sold for enhanced oil recovery.
The synthesis is used to make electricity, diesel, gasoline,
lubricants, or other high-value products.
The concept has been considered for decades, but only recently have
technological advancements in seismology, drilling and electronics
converged to make it economical. Recent cost estimates for UCG
projects come in at levels less than half conventional
coal-gasification methods and well below shale gas production.
Several independent energy companies, such as Australian-based Linc
Energy Ltd. (ASX: LNC), Wildhorse Energy Limited (ASX: WHE), and
Cougar Energy (ASX: CXY) are using technological advancements to push
their UCG capabilities forward. Currently, eight projects in
Australia, China, Poland, Canada and Uzbekistan are underway. Their
owners are surveying sites to build another 43 around the globe. All
intend to target deep reserves and tightly manage environmental
risks, capturing and sequestering greenhouse gases.
To review the potential for this technology, Zeus has prepared a
108-page report and online database with profiles of all 51 projects
worldwide. Information can be obtained at
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