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Underground coal gasification in India: challenges ahead

Chand S K , 2006

Proceedings of the International Coal Congress and Expo 2006, pp. 229-334 (Vol. 1)

Abstract

Coal is the major source of energy all over the world including India. However, it is not technically feasible or economically viable to mine all coal rsources and this is where UCG (underground coal gasification) finds its usefulness. UCG has been practiced, though off and on, since the last 50 years by almost all major coal producing countries but it could never become the major energy source. Availability of large amount of cheap natural gas, the danger of contamination of underground water, non-availability of suiable drilling technology, and failure to administer proper control over gaisifcation process are some of the reasons. Howeer, with the efforts put in by many countries over the years, the technology of UCG has matured for commercial application.

In India the experience of UCG is minimal. However, many deeper coal seams and deeper lignite deposits not economical to mine by conventional mining techniques are good candidates for UCG. Large number of abandoned mines and some shallow coal deposits with difficult geo-mining conditions can use UCG gainfully. India faces the challenge of overcoming existing legal and regulatory framework quickly, identifying the right coal and lignite resources for production of synthetic gas on a sustained basis at a cost which is competitive.