In-Situ (Underground) Coal Gasification

Swan Hills Synfuels developed and operated a deep ISCG/UCG Demonstration Project (Demo Project) in the Swan Hills area of Alberta, Canada, in a coal seam at a depth of 1400m.

This Demo Project provided Swan Hills Synfuels with globally unique practical knowledge and expertise in deep (500m+ coal seam depth) ISCG/UCG.  Swan Hills Synfuels can pply the valuable learnings from this Demo Project to ISCG/UCG projects around the world.

Deep ISCG/UCG offers several features:

  • Safety:  the process recovers energy from deep coal seams without mining – and hence eliminates the need for personnel to go underground to mine coal otherwise.  All ISCG/UCG operations are conducted and controlled from the surface.
  • Environmental Protection: with deep ISCG/UCG, hundreds of metres of impermeable rock isolate the ISCG/UCG process from shallow interests such as fresh groundwater aquifers.  Proper deep ISCG/UCG design can minimize surface subsidence to within specified limits.  Swan Hills Synfuels’ Demo Project also successfully used non-fresh water in the ISCG/UCG process, showing that deep ISCG/UCG can be developed with minimal demand for fresh water.
  • Productivity:  Deep ISCG/UCG is an extremely productive form of energy manufacturing, where very large quantities of energy can be extracted from relatively small geographic areas.  Compared to coal bed methane (CBM) extraction, for example, deep ISCG/UCG can typically extract more than 30 times more energy from the same area of land.
  • Low-Cost Energy:  Deep ISCG/UCG manufactures lower cost gas energy than comparable coal mining and surface coal gasification plants, due to substantially lower capital costs.  Deep ISCG/UCG is often applied to economically stranded deep coal seams – where seams are technically difficult and/or uneconomic to mine or extract CBM.  Coal deposits uneconomic for CBM production can often be excellent candidates for highly productive deep ISCG/UCG development instead.
  • CO2 Capture:  The high pressure and CO2 content of deep ISCG/UCG gas enables cost-effective CO2 capture (removal from the ISCG/UCG gas) when required.  Use of this CO2, for enhanced oil recovery, enhanced coal bed methane recovery, or other valuable activities can significantly enhance deep ISCG/UCG economics.

Swan Hills Synfuels is interested in sharing its world-leading deep ISCG/UCG expertise and operating experience on a consulting basis, in areas such as:

  • Deep ISCG/UCG feasibility studies – assessment of coal resources for deep ISCG/UCG technical and economic feasibility, including gas manufacturing potential estimates and indicative supply cost of deep ISCG/UCG gas
  • Sharing of proprietary information on deep ISCG/UCG design, materials and equipment specifications, process control, and operating procedures, with supporting hourly-rate consulting services