BP on hot coal

BP has signed a technical cooperation agreement with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for development work on underground coal gasification technology (UGC).

LLNL will provide BP with expertise and model results for the operation and environmental management of UGC, a technology that allows in-situ conversion of coal deposits into fuels and hydrocarbon feedstock.

By introducing a controlled supply of air or oxygen through wells into a coal seam, the coal can be reacted to produce mixtures of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane and other gases.

When the products are brought to the surface using wells, they can then be used as fuel for power generation or as feedstock for the production of chemicals and other hydrocarbon products.

The two-year agreement will concentrate on carbon management to evaluate the feasibility of storing carbon dioxide underground, environmental risk assessment and management, and numerical modelling of the UCG processes to compare with pilot test results.