Technology for Hydrogen Production and Decarbonization: Underground Coal Gasification - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Technology for Hydrogen Production and Decarbonization: Underground Coal Gasification

Here’s an article posted in Orf Online.

According to the article,

  • Underground coal gasification (UCG) is a promising technology for decarbonization and hydrogen production.
  • UCG can gasify low-grade Indian coal to produce various valuable products such as synthetic natural gas, methanol, petrol, diesel, hydrogen, and fertilizers.
  • It offers a potential solution for emission reduction and can serve as a source of clean energy.

Here’s an elaborate explanation about the process:

Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is a process that converts coal into synthesis gas (syngas) in situ, which can then be utilized for various purposes, including hydrogen production and decarbonization efforts. Here’s an elaborate explanation of the process along with some specific data points and informative facts:

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  1. Overview of UCG:
    • Underground Coal Gasification involves converting coal into gas while it is still underground, rather than extracting the coal and then processing it above ground.
    • The process typically involves drilling boreholes into the coal seam, injecting steam and oxygen or air into the seam, and igniting the coal to initiate the gasification reaction.
  2. Gasification Process:
    • Steam and oxygen or air are injected into the coal seam through one set of boreholes, initiating combustion and gasification reactions.
    • The heat from the combustion reaction breaks down the coal into gases such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, and small amounts of other hydrocarbons.
    • The syngas produced is then extracted through another set of boreholes and brought to the surface for further processing.
  3. Syngas Composition:
    • The composition of syngas can vary depending on factors such as the type of coal being gasified and the operating conditions. However, a typical syngas composition might include:
      • Hydrogen (H2): 30-50%
      • Carbon monoxide (CO): 20-30%
      • Methane (CH4): 5-15%
      • Carbon dioxide (CO2): 5-15%
      • Other trace gases.
  4. Hydrogen Production:
    • Syngas produced from UCG can be further processed to separate and purify hydrogen.
    • Hydrogen can be separated from the syngas using techniques such as pressure swing adsorption (PSA) or membrane separation.
    • The purified hydrogen can then be used as a clean energy source for various applications, including fuel cells, industrial processes, and transportation.
  5. Decarbonization Benefits:
    • UCG offers potential benefits for decarbonization efforts by enabling the production of hydrogen from coal with lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional coal combustion.
    • Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies can be integrated with UCG to capture and store CO2 emissions, further reducing the environmental impact.
    • The use of hydrogen produced from UCG can help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and transition towards a more sustainable energy economy.
  6. Environmental Considerations:
    • While UCG offers potential environmental benefits, there are also environmental risks associated with the process, including groundwater contamination, subsidence, and release of pollutants.
    • Proper site selection, monitoring, and regulation are essential to mitigate these risks and ensure environmental protection.
  7. Economic Viability:
    • The economic viability of UCG depends on factors such as the cost of coal extraction, gasification efficiency, and market demand for hydrogen and other syngas products.
    • Advances in technology and economies of scale could potentially make UCG more competitive with other hydrogen production methods over time.
  8. Current Status and Future Outlook:
    • UCG has been tested and demonstrated at various pilot and commercial-scale projects around the world.
    • Continued research and development efforts are focused on improving the efficiency, environmental performance, and economic viability of the process.
    • UCG could play a significant role in the transition to a low-carbon energy future, particularly in regions with abundant coal resources and growing demand for hydrogen.

Interestingly, we have some other posts related to this content:

Hydrogen Production from Biomass-IISc’s Technology: IISc introduces groundbreaking technology for extracting hydrogen from biomass, offering a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative for cleaner energy sources. New Hydrogen Production Technology: Thermo-Photovoltaics, Create H2,O2 & Heat – Solar cell innovation uses thermo-photovoltaics to convert sunlight into heat, splitting water into hydrogen, oxygen, and heat for clean energy.

About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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