Jul 13, 2011
Underground coal gasification has key role to play in Southern AfricaBack
Engineering|Johannesburg|Africa|Analytika|CoAL|Coal Wealth Botswana|Industrial|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Resources|Road|Waste|Africa|Botswana|South Africa|Chemical Resource|Clean Coal Energy Strategy|Clean Coal Energy Technologies|Coal Energy Resources|Energy|Energy Source|Finite And Indigenous Energy|Power Generation|Power-generation|Products|Renewable Energy|Environmental|Alan Golding|Infrastructure|John Topper|Julie Lauder|Michael Nightingale|Power|Waste|Clean Coal Energy Technologies
© 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 Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Renewable Energy News
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The board of UD Trucks Southern Africa (UDTSA) has announced the resignation of MD Jacques Carelse. Long-time UD employee, corporate planning and marketing GM, Rory Schulz, has been appointed as acting MD while the process started to appoint a new MD. The Japanese...
There is a need to start planning another pumped storage scheme in South Africa. Much work has already been done at a site in the Limpopo province and the project was very close to being put out to tender at one stage. In 2008/9 the National Energy Regulator of South...
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is preparing to leverage its strategic coastal position to develop the Eastern Cape economy through proposed aquaculture development zones (ADZs), with a proposed R2-billion project aiming to contribute $278-million to the...
Completion of the ongoing construction of the 102 km Zomba–Jali–Phalombe–Chitakale road, in southern Malawi, has been extended from June to December 15 because of persistent rains and difficulties in paying the contractor. The project is being undertaken by Kuwait's...
The Malawi government has awarded South African firm Fischer Consortium the contract to upgrade the Malawi Road Traffic Information System. The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services at Malawi's Ministry of Transport and Public Works says Fischer...