Underground Coal Gasification and Potential for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction


Underground coal gasification (UCG) is an advancing technology that is receiving considerable global attention as an economic and environmentally friendly alternative for exploitation of coal deposits. This technology has the potential to decrease greenhouse gas emissions during the development of coal deposits. The environmental benefits of UCG that promote reduction in greenhouse gas emissions include elimination of conventional mining, coal washing and fines disposal, coal stockpiling and coal transportation activities. Additional benefits include; a smaller surface area requirement with minimal surface disruption; removal of CO₂ from the syngas at significantly reduced cost as compared to carbon capture and transport from a power plant; and the potential to reduce CH 4 emissions, a potent greenhouse gas. UCG utilizes coalbed methane irrespective of its economic value during the burning process and increases energy efficiency. The CH₄ in the product gas is consumed completely during power and/or electricity generation, thus reducing overall methane emissions to the atmosphere. This paper compares greenhouse gas emissions from conventional mining methods to UCG for the exploitation of a coal reserve. The findings indicate that UCG reduces greenhouse gas emissions significantly as compared to other competitive coal exploiting technologies. This research may help in the selection of a suitable method to develop coal deposits when the reduction of greenhouse gases is an essential part of planning. Copyright 2012, Carbon Management Technology Conference.

Meeting Name

Carbon Management Technology Conference 2012


Mining Engineering

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2012 Carbon Management Technology Conference, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2012