Alaska Native Corporation Proposes Underground Coal Gasification Project with Carbon Capture for Power Generation
|Underground coal gasification uses paired wells in a coal seam: one an oxidant injection well, the other the syngas producer well. Source: CIRI. Click to enlarge.|
Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI), an Alaska Native corporation, is proposing an underground coal gasification (UCG) project that would use the resulting syngas to fuel a new 100 MW combined cycle power plant. The syngas could also be upgraded to synthetic natural gas or synthetic liquid fuels.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is CIRI’s independent technology consultant. LLNL has been working with UCG technology development and field deployment for more than 30 years.
In 2007, LLNL and BP signed a technical agreement to work cooperatively on the development of underground coal gasification (UCG) technology for the in-situ conversion of coal deposits into fuels and other products. (Earlier post.)
|Location of the proposed UCG project. Click to enlarge.|
The CIRI project would be located on CIRI lands on the west side of Cook Inlet. CIRI executives presented the plan to state lawmakers at a joint hearing in Alaska on Friday. CIRI has begun the permitting process to start resource assessment testing. Power production could begin in early 2014.
CIRI says it is committed to carbon capture and sequestration by way of enhanced oil recovery. The integration of carbon capture and sequestration plus UCG would be a first, according to CIRI.
The UCG process utilizes two wells drilled in to a coal seam. One well injects an oxidant such as air to start a combustion reaction underground. Heat and pressure gasify the coal, and the second well produces to the surface. Ash and other byproducts remain underground.
UCG syngas arrives at the surface at temperatures and pressures that allow relatively easy, low-cost carbon capture using existing scrubbing technologies.
UCG-produced syngas using pre-combustion carbon capture can result in lower CO2 emissions than a combined-cycle natural gas power plant, according to the company, with emissions of criteria pollutants (SOx, NOx, etc.) comparable to natural gas.
The proposed CIRI site is more than 650 feet below the surface, below the fresh water aquifer and isolated from it by impermeable overlying rock layers.
CIRI. CIRI is one of 12 Alaska-based regional corporations established by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 to benefit Alaska Natives who had ties to the Cook Inlet region.
CIRI’s overall business portfolio includes tourism, real estate, wireless communications, and traditional and alternative energy. It has substantial ownership of surface and subsurface land around Cook Inlet and Southcentral Alaska.
CIRI, based in Anchorage, is owned by more than 7,200 Alaska Native shareholders of Athabascan and Southeast Indian, Inupiat and Yupik Eskimo, Alutiiq and Aleut descent.