A Life Cycle Comparison of Greenhouse Emissions for Power Generation from Coal Mining and Underground Coal Gasification


Dixon, R.


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. UCG has the potential to decrease greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) during the development and utilization of coal resources. In this paper, the life cycle of UCG from in situ coal gasification to utilization for electricity generation is analyzed and compared with coal extraction through conventional coal mining and utilization in power plants. Four life cycle assessment models have been developed and analyzed to compare (greenhouse gas) GHG emissions of coal mining, coal gasification and power generation through conventional pulverized coal fired power plants (PCC), supercritical coal fired (SCPC) power plants, integrated gasification combined cycle plants for coal (Coal-IGCC), and combined cycle gas turbine plants for UCG (UCG-CCGT). The analysis shows that UCG is comparable to these latest technologies and in fact, the GHG emissions from UCG are about 28 % less than the conventional PCC plant. When combined with the economic superiority, UCG has a clear advantage over competing technologies. The comparison also shows that there is considerable reduction in the GHG emissions with the development of technology and improvements in generation efficiencies. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

CO2 Equivalent/Kwh; Conventional Pulverized Coal Fired Power Plants; Greenhouse Gases; Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Plants; ISO-14040; LCA Models; Life Cycle Assessment; Supercritical Coal Fired (SCPC) Power Plants; Underground Coal Gasification

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2014 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2014