Article

Is energy solution beneath our feet?

THE nightmare of digging coal underground, suffered by generations of Welsh colliers, could soon be a thing of the past with Wales tipped to benefit from a new mining technology. Experts claim underground coal gasification could create tens of thousands of jobs across Britain, particularly in coal-rich places like Wales. The process involves drilling bore holes into coal seams, pushing steam and oxygen into one hole and drawing out the hot gas from another. It means not a single lump of solid coal would leave the ground. ..."Wind farms are definitely not the answer but clean coal definitely could be. There is enough underground to satisfy the UK's energy needs for many years."

THE nightmare of digging coal underground, suffered by generations of Welsh colliers, could soon be a thing of the past with Wales tipped to benefit from a new mining technology.

Experts claim underground coal gasification could create tens of thousands of jobs across Britain, particularly in coal-rich places like Wales.

The process involves drilling bore holes into coal seams, pushing steam and oxygen into one hole and drawing out the hot gas from another. It means not a single lump of solid coal would leave the ground.

The coal-derived gas could then be used to drive turbines feeding electricity into the national grid.

Waste gas could either be re-directed underground so it does not create a CO threat to the atmosphere or new technology could be used to strip it of CO so it could be used as a "green" gas.

Despite the golden age of Welsh mining having finished decades ago, Tower Colliery chairman Tyrone O'Sullivan yesterday estimated there is still 300 million tonnes of high-grade coal left untouched in Wales.

He is a strong backer of underground coal gasification (UCG) and in particular he would like to see "coal gas" being used to make... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

THE nightmare of digging coal underground, suffered by generations of Welsh colliers, could soon be a thing of the past with Wales tipped to benefit from a new mining technology.

Experts claim underground coal gasification could create tens of thousands of jobs across Britain, particularly in coal-rich places like Wales.

The process involves drilling bore holes into coal seams, pushing steam and oxygen into one hole and drawing out the hot gas from another. It means not a single lump of solid coal would leave the ground.

The coal-derived gas could then be used to drive turbines feeding electricity into the national grid.

Waste gas could either be re-directed underground so it does not create a CO² threat to the atmosphere or new technology could be used to strip it of CO² so it could be used as a "green" gas.

Despite the golden age of Welsh mining having finished decades ago, Tower Colliery chairman Tyrone O'Sullivan yesterday estimated there is still 300 million tonnes of high-grade coal left untouched in Wales.

He is a strong backer of underground coal gasification (UCG) and in particular he would like to see "coal gas" being used to make hydrogen, the so-called fuel of the future.

Because conventionally-produced electricity usually has to be used to derive hydrogen from water, it has previously made the green savings of hydrogen minimal.

But Mr O'Sullivan said, "If we could use gasification plants to make hydrogen there would be no CO² produced in making hydrogen.

"It means cars, industry, homes, the lot could be powered by hydrogen with no pollution for the atmosphere."

The UCG Partnership, led by industry experts Rohan Courtney and Michael Green, is currently petitioning Parliament for greater resources to be placed into UCG development.

The pair are planning a meeting in New York later this month to interest big business in UCG plants in the UK.

A plan to construct the UK's largest - and "greenest" - coal gasification plant in Fife, Scotland, will be put into action later this year if Global Energy succeeds in a $350m (£172m) bid to establish a plant there. The company is also constructing two large-scale plants in the US.

Tower Colliery chairman Tyrone O'Sullivan said gasification still had some way to go in the UK.

He said, "Politics will undoubtedly be involved and I have a feeling the Government is keen on new nuclear power stations.

"We have an energy crisis looming over the next 40-50 years until we come up with a new solution.

"Wind farms are definitely not the answer but clean coal definitely could be. There is enough underground to satisfy the UK's energy needs for many years."

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said yesterday while UCG was promising, it was still relatively untried.

"Underground Coal Gasification is listed as a technology suitable for investigation and research in the present version of Welsh Assembly Government's Energy Route Map," he said.

"It is an interesting technology with potentially significant carbon savings compared to conventional coal plant but it so far has had limited application, certainly in western Europe. Improved deep drilling technology may improve this situation but there are still significant legal and licensing issues to be addressed."

 


Source: http://icwales.icnetwork.co...

OCT 20 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/11533-is-energy-solution-beneath-our-feet
back to top