JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A roadmap for underground coal gasification (UCG) is on the way with its own association and charter, Fossil Fuel Foundation (FFF) stalwart Professor Lionel Falcon said at the weekend.
Speaking at the FFF’s twentieth anniversary awards banquet, Falcon said the UCG initiative followed the finalisation under FFF auspices 18 months ago of the South African Coal Roadmap, a document summarising a number of optional scenarios for South Africa to consider as it goes forward.
The University of the Witwatersrand professor said the FFFs role in both of these initiatives was recognition of its status as an independent, interdisciplinary and auditable organisation, which had reciprocity with leading clean coal organisations globally.
UCG, which sources gas from deep, inaccessible coal, is seen as a way of minimising environmental impact and reducing fatalities in coal mining.
There have been many UCG trials in the last few years in the US, Australia, South Africa, Canada and Europe, with a consequent step-change in UCG development for both power generation and liquid fuels production.
Falcon said that the FFF - a nonprofit coal and energy organisation made up of individuals from industry, government and nongovernment organisations, academia and technology - was currently broadening its scope to embrace the wider energy, economic, environmental and sustainability sectors to encourage increased economic growth, higher employment and advanced industrialisation.
Over the years, the FFF had expanded its objectives of networking, sharing of technological information, promoting education and providing a multidisciplinary forum for the meeting together of those in the highly diverse sectors of coal-based energy, he added.
Apart from coal, topics of interest now included gas, coalbed methane, shale gas, hybrid energy sources, technology and all aspects relating to the environment and global climate change.
FFF 2014 awards went to Eskom GM Barry MacColl for leading research and development in South Africa’s power industry; Mining Weekly editor Martin Creamer for providing quality media communications to the South African industry; Hindsight Financial & Commercial Solutions director Ras Myburgh for his indispensible contribution to the compilation of the coal roadmap; Sanedi CEO Kevin Nassiep for ensuring energy efficiency and sustainability in Southern Africa; Babcock International for the design, engineering and construction of the main steam system at Eskom’s Matimba power station; Council for Scientific and Industrial Research clean coal technology researchers for fluidised bed technology research; and Nicholas Koutsouvelis, winner of the top postgraduate student award for research into the geological storage of carbon dioxide.