CSIRO and Metex cook up gas

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CSIRO and gold company Metex Resources have launched a joint venture to develop a process for the gasification of unmineable underground coal deposits for power generation and liquid fuels. Each company will acquire a 50 per cent interest in the newly formed company, Coal Gas Corporation (CGC).

The technology will be trialled in three coalfields in Queensland’s Surat Basin. The first stage will be to identify and develop a suitable underground coal deposit for demonstration and development of the UCG process.

CGC’s executive general manager Dr Cliff Mallett, previously acting chief of CSIRO Exploration and Mining, said, “UCG technology offers the possibility of using vast reserves of low-quality, currently unmineable coal to produce syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This can provide low-cost and low-emission electricity, and be feedstock for the synthesis of clean liquid fuels and chemicals.”

UCG technology involves drilling a range of wells and bores to gasify coal deposits in-situ to produce a gas suitable for low-cost power generation. The resultant gases are harnessed at the surface for conversion into suitable feedstock for power generation, or for conversion into ultra-clean liquid fuels and chemicals.