Pakistan urgently needs to increase its generating output in order to meet escalating demand. At present, load shedding is necessary to match supply and demand, depriving homes in Karachi of electricity for more than six hours per day. Since supply is lacking, electricity prices are significantly higher there than in most western countries. This project aims to produce the additional power that is so desperately needed in the region by generating εUCG™ syngas as a fuel.
We are looking forward to the opportunity of providing expertise for UCG projects in Pakistan in order to resolve strategic energy supply issues there. A large-scale supply of syngas, from otherwise unrecoverable coal deposits, can breathe life into various industrial processes, from power generation to chemical syntheses.
What is UCG Technology?
Underground coal gasification (UCG) is an industrial process which converts coal into product gas. UCG is an in-situ gasification process that is carried out in non-mined coal seams using oxidant injection and brings the product gas to surface through production wells drilled from the surface.
A significant amount of the world’s coal resources is too deep to be mined by traditional methods. However, gasification that occurs underground can convert much of this “stranded” coal into syngas that can then be used to produce power and other useful products—without having to mine it.
Economic Benefits of UCG
There are a number of significant economic benefits associated with UCG. It eliminates the necessity of many steps:
No need for the coal to be mined
No need for coal handling
No need to transport the coal
No need to prepare the coal to be fed into a reactor
No need for disposing of ash or slag
No need for an above ground gasification plant, and it involves significantly lower capital cost for project development than that of above-ground plants.
Environmental Benefits of UCG
There are also a number of environmental benefits with UCG:
Minimal land use
Significantly reduced use of groundwater or fresh water: underground saline water is used
Eliminates the environmental impacts traditionally associated with coal mining and handling
Coal seams are gasified below fresh drinking water supplies
Significantly reduced criteria air pollutants
All or a substantial portion of the sulfur, mercury, arsenic, tar, ash and particulates found in coal remain underground
Any sulfur or metals that reach the surface do so in a chemically reduced state, making them easier to remove
No landfill disposal required for ash or slag
Our UCG Technology Expert Partner – Ergo Exergy Technologies, Inc.
Ergo Exergy Technologies, Inc. (Ergo Exergy) is offering UCG technology to international commercial projects under a license. Ergo Exergy has been involved in developing UCG projects in Australia, South Africa, India, Canada, the USA, China, New Zealand and Turkey and is currently engaged in a number of other international UCG projects at various stages of advancement.
Ergo Exergy is able to provide all services supporting implementation of UCG technology (down-stream from the injectant source, e.g. air compressors or ASU, and up-stream from the gas clean-up plant). These services are generally comprised of technical control and supervision of the data gathering, compilation, formatting, analysis and reporting, design, field operations, process diagnostics, interpretation, recommendations, corrective action, overall technical supervision, strategic planning and specific conceptual and detailed design.
We will also collaborate with a number of engineering, geology, hydrogeology, rock mechanics, drilling and permitting companies who will assist us in implementing our UCG project in Thar, Pakistan.
Screening Study of Block III of the Thar Lignite Deposits
In 2002-2003 Ergo Exergy conducted a screening study for Block III of the Thar lignite deposit, for which our experts visited the Thar desert several times and conducted meetings with local authorities and experts. As a result of this study, it has been concluded that Block III is likely to support an UCG operation that can supply a power plant of 1,200 MW capacity. The UCG plant of this capacity may be built at best within 4 years, subject to all necessary conditions being in place. Thar power generation can be further expanded by adding similar plants. The total UCG reserves in Block III have been estimated at 1,333.87 million tons. Such a block of Thar lignite would support generation of at least 8,000 MW for 30 years.
Although we have not yet performed cost estimates for Pakistan, Ergo Exergy has recently conducted an UCG performance and economics study for the Indian side of Thar lignite in Rajasthan. Based on the study results, UCG could deliver electricity at the cost of US $22/MWh and synthetic natural gas (SNG) at the cost of US $2.2/MMBtu, which appears to offer a great competitive advantage for the Pakistani market as well.