15 October 2013 – South African-based expert petrochemical engineering services provider CDE Process is using its third-generation underground coal gasification (UCG) design for a major power project in South Africa. CDE Process is responsible for the design, implementation, execution and management of the project, with the first phase aiming to provide 50 MWe to the national grid by 2016. CDE Process founder and managing director Derrick du Preez points out that the official implementation of this project will set a new trend in international oil and gas, mining and power generation industries.
"This ground-breaking project is set to bring the oil and gas industry to the forefront of coal mining, and we are proud to be at the cutting edge of this initiative which has the potential for almost unlimited growth," he explains.
African Carbon Energy chairman Eliphus Monkoe highlights the fact that UCG is a substantially more cost effective and environmentally sustainable means of generating coal powered electricity, when compared to traditional mining techniques.
"Due to the fact that the coal remains in-situ, costs associated with extraction and transport of the ore is entirely eliminated. What’s more, the depth at which gasification takes place also eliminates the risk of coal fires, while minimising pollution by ensuring that ash remains safely underground throughout the entire process."
Bearing in mind that the average annual selling price of electricity has risen from 41,76c/kWh in 2010 to 65,76c/kWh in 2013, Monkoe is confident that UCG is the long-term solution to South Africa’s on-going energy crisis. "South Africa has enormous coal reserves that serve as the lifeblood for energy generation. The country is in need of more electricity to fuel economic growth and UCG offers a clean and cost-effective means of meeting these demands in the long-term by utilising deep coal that is currently inaccessible to standard mining practices."
Du Preez says, "The UCG project is history in the making and I believe that success here could see our business expand exponentially. Given South Africa’s vast coal reserves, I predict that long-term future growth potential is enormous for CDE Process and the UCG technique locally."