The experience of the team at BCG Energy derives largely from the oil & gas industry, which has various technologies that can be readily applied to UCG. We are currently developing these technologies to meet the many challenges of UCG to ensure technical integrity, improve gasification control and reduce operating costs. These include :
Directional drilling within coal seams has been successfully applied to coal bed methane technology. An additional requirement for UCG is the remote linking up of the extremities of production and injection wells. Various methods are being researched to improve the accuracy of drilling.
The high temperature produced by oxygen-fed gasification and the potentially corrosive components of syngas present a metallurgical challenge for ensuring a reasonable life of the production well. We have developed a well design which mitigates these effects to allow the use of conventional tubing and casing materials, which significantly reduces well completion costs.
Control of the injection gas composition and gasification conditions is necessary to ensure that the reaction produces gas of a consistent quality and composition. In addition to surface analysis of syngas quality, there is a need to monitor conditions in the reactor environment. As this is too hostile for most direct measurement systems, we are investigating the use of proxy measurements and distributed temperature sensing using fibre optics,
The effective capture and removal of carbon dioxide from syngas is a key requirement if UCG is to be accepted as a clean source of energy. In addition to underground sequestration, we are examining various productive uses of CO2, including its conversion to biodiesel using microalgae.
Capital and Operational Cost Reduction
Drilling and well completion represents the largest costs in UCG projects. By using a combination of pre-existing, proven oil and gas industry techniques we can achieve radical reduction in these costs.
Using a self-igniting material like silane or triethylborane is a 'single shot' method possibly requiring a separate vertical ignition well. Since this is impractical for a UCG well running offshore, we are developing a technology that can operate for an extended period and avoids the need for a third borehole.