Jul 13, 2011
Underground coal gasification has key role to play in Southern AfricaBack
Africa|Botswana|CoAL|Engineering|Export|Gas|Industrial|Power|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Resources|Road|Solar|Technology|Waste|Africa|Energy|Power Generation|Power-generation|Products|Environmental|Infrastructure|Waste
© Reuse this
Speaking at an underground coal gasification (UCG) conference, in Johannesburg, he said based on existing assumptions and production rates, South Africa’s coal reserves would only last for another 140 years, and could be dramatically reduced if conventional and less efficient power generation and industrial methods continued to be used.
“A clean coal energy strategy would derive maximum benefits for the country from its total coal energy resources, which is Africa’s major finite and indigenous energy and chemical resource,” he said.
Nightingale called on business and governments in Africa to consider coal not as a “mineral”, but as an “energy source” that could grow economies and develop new industries. “Energy is a ‘prime mover’ and we have millions of tons of waste coal lying around, which must be seen as energy in gigajoules and not tons,” he told Engineering News Online.
He argued that UCG, which coverts coal into gas, was one of the key processes needed in “uplifting the people of Africa”.
So too was UCG key to the development of Botswana’s coal resources, Botswana-based Analytika director Alan Golding said. Botswana has a resource of about 210-billion tons of coal.
“One of the challenges in developing coal in Botswana is the infrastructure for export. UCG is very important, as it would convert the inherent value of coal into a much higher value of syngas, which would lay the foundation for the development of a chemical industry. The country could then produce higher-end products, which is much easier to export than coal or power,” he explained.
Golding described Botswana’s stance towards developing its coal resources as proactive. The government is working on a coal road map, which he said, is expected to be complete in the next six months.
In July, Botswana placed a moratorium on new prospecting licences for coal, coal bed methane and related minerals, pending the finalisation of the new strategy for the coal sector.
Meanwhile, International Energy Agency Clean Coal Centre MD John Topper said that the commercial operation of UCG globally was possible, provided that confidence grew in the technology. The need for legislation and regulation with regard to UCG were also key to the establishment of a UCG industry.
However, UCG Association CEO Julie Lauder said there has been some progress in moving forward with UCG, given that the small companies operating in this arena are showing significant growth. She also called for the establishment of an international industry-recognised best practice.
“We need to convince governments of the environmental, financial and social benefits of UCG −a technology that has so much potential must be thoroughly investigated and funding must be secured to continue with research and skills development,” Lauder explained.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
To subscribe email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here
To advertise email email@example.com or click here
Other Renewable Energy News
Article contains comments
Most infrastructure investments on the African continent are in the energy sector, but power plants and transmission lines across Africa presently operate at a fraction of installed capacity due to insufficient maintenance and lack of modernisation.
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
Energy Roundup – February 2016 (PDF Report)
The February 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for December 2015 and January 2016 and includes details of a Government Gazette notice that confirms Cabinet’s decision to move ahead with the 9 600 MW nuclear procurement programme; State-owned power...
Energy Roundup - December 2015 (PDF Report)
The December 2015 roundup includes details of State-owned utility Eskom’s application to claw back R22.8-billion; South Africa’s ranking as an investment destination for renewable energy; and a nuclear expert’s thoughts on reactor designs for South Africa’s nuclear...
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
This Week's Magazine
Lifting, transporting, installing and ballasting solutions provider Ale has expanded its global fleet of trailers and invested in the latest range of widening trailers that can be mechanically widened from 3 m to the desired width for any project. Ale ordered 48 axle...
The market for the BMW 7 Series in South Africa differs quite significantly from the rest of the world. China, the US and the Middle East almost exclusively buy the long-wheel-base version, using the German manufacturer’s luxury high-end sedan as a chaffeur-driven...
January new-vehicle sales fell by 6.9%, to 48 615 units, compared with the same month last year. Statistics released by the Department of Trade and Industry show that the domestic new passenger-car market declined by 6.1%, to 34 936 units, compared with 12 months ago.
Information technology (IT) equipment and infrastructure multinational Dell is providing open infrastructure systems for clients so that they can use any systems, including innovative new systems, that suit their business needs, says Dell Europe, Middle East and...
South Africa’s State-owned defence industrial group, Denel, has set up another international partnership, based in Hong Kong. This new subsidiary is Denel Asia and it is a joint venture (JV) with South African private sector company VR Laser.