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Towards commercialising underground coal gasification in the EU

Sarhosis, Vasills, Lavis, Shaun, Mostade, Marc and Thomas, Hywel ORCID: 2017. Towards commercialising underground coal gasification in the EU. Environmental Geotechnics 4 (2) , pp. 113-122. 10.1680/jenge.15.00044

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Modern ‘enabling technologies’ and over a century of research and development have pushed underground coal gasification (UCG) beyond the proof-of-concept phase. Lessons learned from previous trials have demonstrated that UCG can exploit the energy stored in coal efficiently and with limited environmental impact compared with conventional coal-based energy technologies. Many countries in the EU (and worldwide) struggle to meet their energy needs despite containing very large reserves of coal, which cannot be exploited conventionally because of its depth. Application of modern UCG techniques, state-of-the-art drilling and monitoring technologies offer the opportunity to extract the energy from deep coal resources economically and with limited environmental impacts; however, several hurdles, such as public opinion and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission limits, must be overcome before UCG can be commercialised in the EU. Continued support by member states will attract more private investments, enable more field trials and allow Europe’s world-class UCG experts to demonstrate that the technology is ready to provide cleaner energy from coal for the EU in the twenty-first century. This is a review paper that aims to summarise the lessons learned from UCG trials and EU-sponsored work and to discuss what still needs to be done to commercialise UCG.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: ICE Publishing
ISSN: 2051-803X
Date of Acceptance: 15 March 2016
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 13:40

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