Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fire in the Hole: Underground Coal Gasification


"WORLDWIDE coal reserves are vast, over 10 trillion metric tons, but unless cleaner and cheaper ways can be found to convert coal to gas or liquid fuels, coal is unlikely to become an acceptable replacement for dwindling and uncertain supplies of oil and natural gas. Mining coal is dangerous work, coal is dirty to burn, and much of the coal in the ground is too deep or too low in quality to be mined economically. Today, less than one-sixth of the world’s coal is economically accessible. However, Livermore is helping to revive an old technology that offers promise to substantially increase usable coal reserves and make coal a clean and economic alternative fuel. Known as underground coal gasification (UCG), this technology converts coal to a combustible gas underground...."