Plan being mulled to produce gas from coal

STAFF REPORT IBD: Following the worsening crisis of natural gas crisis in the country, the authorities are scrambling to exploit virtually any indigenous sources of energy and are pinning hopes on Thar Underground Coal Gasification UCG pilot project in Sindh province.

The underground coal gasification converts coal to gas while still in coal seam, where injection wells are drilled and used to supply oxidants to ignite and fuel underground combustion process, with separate production wells used to bring product gas to surface. High pressure combustion is conducted at temperatures of 1,290-1,650 degrees Fahrenheit, but can reach up to 2,730 degrees Fahrenheit. The process produces carbon monoxide and dioxide, hydrogen and methane.

Experts say that all that is required to make this energy miracle happen is for the federal government to provide an additional $100 million in funding to generate electricity from project as soon as possible, which will then reportedly allow Thar UCG project to supply 100 megawatts of electricity annually to national power grid by December 2013.

According to Dr. Muhammad Saleem, director of Thar UCG project, only $9.1 million has been spent on Thar’s UCG development so far.

Science and Technology Planning Commission Member Samar Mubarakmand said that the Sindh coal reserves are sufficient to provide electricity to the nation for more than 30 years.

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