Fuel from the seabed

map showing proposed areas off Norfolk coastRohan Courtney, who is Chairman of ‘Clean Coal’, a British-American company with a degree of expertise in Clean Coal Technology (CCT) and Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) speaks of plans to reintroduce that methodology by gently burning coal deposits under the seabed of North and North-East Norfolk and other UK coastal areas to produce a synthetic fuel gas that could be scrubbed and piped to customers. They are later seeking to develop other projects in Europe, Asia and North America.
The UCG system involves pumping a mixture of water and either air or oxygen into a coal seam, which is then ignited and gently burned to produce diesel fuel that can be used for transport, heating, aircraft fuels, fuel for power stations and even the basis for plastics and fertilizers. The technique was first invented by a canny Scotsman in Durham over one-hundred years ago. It was employed in the USSR in the 1970’s, but has never been developed or used since until now, apart from in Australia. But now advances in drilling technology, depletion of coal and oil resources and rising gas and oil prices have brought about a revival here in the UK

The Government estimates that there are 50 billion tonnes of un-mineable coal reserves off and onshore, and that the five mentioned sites could provide one billion tonnes, enough to provide 5% of the nation’s energy needs. The result is that undersea coal seams in offshore areas between Overstrand and Happisburgh (near Cromer), off Grimsby, Sunderland, Swansea and Dumfriesshire in Scotland will be initially explored using seismic survey techniques by the Clean Coal company to see if they are commercially viable, with the results known in about one years time from now. The site off Cromer is one of the five that have just been given licences for test drilling commencing in 2010, along with a prior public meeting to explain the project.

More information is to be found by going to www.cleancoalucg.com


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