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Clean Coal Ltd secures licences to investigate underground coal gasification in UK

Oilfield Technology,

 The UK Coal Authority has awarded Clean Coal Ltd licences to investigate the potential for underground coal gasification (UGC) at five sites in the UK.  If the investigations over the next 12 – 18 months prove to be successful, commercial operations could start by 2014/15 and could lead to UGC producing 3 – 5% of the UK’s total energy requirement by that date.  This would be the first time that gasification of underground coal has featured in the UK energy market.
Clean Coal Ltd is a British/US company that specialises in UGC.  As well as the UK, it is seeking to develop projects in other parts of Europe, Asia and North America.
The five sites covered by the licences are offshore from:
  • Canonbie, Dumfrieshire.
  • Cromer, Norfolk.
  • Humberside.
  • Sunderland.
  • Swansea Bay.
The investigations will include seismic and borehole surveys. The investigation areas range from 40 to 100 km2; the depths of the coal range from 500 to 1200 m below ground.   The combined coal reserves for the five sites are estimated at around 1 billion t.
Rohan Courtney, chairman of Clean Coal Ltd said: 'Recent developments in directional drilling technology and the growing need for new, secure and environmentally benign sources of energy means that UGC now merits serious investigation. This is an exciting and commercially viable development that can bring significant benefit to the UK economy.'
UCG is a method of converting deep seam coals into a combustible, high quality and affordable gas that can be used for power generation, industrial heating or the manufacture of hydrogen, syngas or diesel fuel.  The gasification of coal in situ is achieved by drilling boreholes into the coal and injecting water/air or water/oxygen mixtures. It is both an extraction process (like coal mining) and a conversion process (gasification) in one step.
Clean Coal Ltd expect to commence the site surveys in H1 2010, and will host public exhibitions in each area to give local people the chance to know more about the work that will be undertaken.

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