Benefits of UCG

UCG offers the potential to use the energy stored in coal deposits that are uneconomic to mine by conventional methods. The use of UCG could potentially increase global coal reserves from 900 billion tonnes to1.5 trillion tonnes1.

Other benefits:

  1. No need to mine the coal or build a surface plant for gasification
  2. Elimination of the safety hazards associated with underground coal mining
  3. The Syngas product can be used in a variety of industrial processes including power generation, liquid fuel production and chemical manufacture
  4. Significant environmental benefits, such as reduced surface disturbance and land use conflicts
  5. (compared with coal mining and oil and gas operations), avoidance of greenhouse gas production associated with coal mining and a relatively small physical footprint for large amounts of energy extraction. UCG technology could also be regarded as an enabling technology for carbon capture since it has the ability to deliver an enriched CO2 stream suitable for carbon capture and storage. For example if the Syngas is to be used as a feeds for a Gas to Liquids (GTL) process, then the sequestration of CO2 from the gas is a necessary step in the process.
  6. With an approximate 21 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,2,3 UCG is a lower carbon emitting technology4  for power generation (compared to coal-fired power stations)


1 World Energy Council, 2007.
2 Life cycle emissions compared to the most efficient pulverised fuel supercritical Australian coal-fired power stations using mined coal. Not including sequestration.
3 BHP Billiton, 2002. Case Study B20: Electricity Production Using Underground Coal Gasification (UCG). Newcastle, Australia.
4 UCG, when used for power generation, is a clean coal technology by definition. Clean Coal Technology Special Agreement Act 2007 (Qld): Clean Coal Technologies means
“technologies that have potential to facilitate substantial reduction of emissions of Greenhouse Gas to the atmosphere from the use of coal.”

Did you know?

  • UCG means coal is accessed underground, without the need for a surface mine.
  • New technology, such as directional drilling, and demand for energy, are driving expansion in the Syngas industry.
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