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How much geological detail is needed for gasifier success?

Authors
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Underground Coal Gasification
  • Geology
  • Hydrogeology
  • Queensland
  • Site Characterisation

Abstract

The incipient Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) industry in Queensland, Australia, undertook three trial projects in two Mesozoic basins of southeast Queensland. The experiences of these three operations provide useful retrospective insight into gasifier productivity. This paper identifies key output measures of gasifier ‘success’ including output gas composition, presence of contaminants in groundwater and consistency of chamber operation. Likewise, a review of the geological and hydrogeological understanding of each site prior to gasifier commissioning was undertaken. Productivity parameters from gasification were then correlated against the level of baseline geological/hydrogeological understanding for each site. The aim of the study was to identify the optimum scope of geological and hydrogeological understanding required at the site assessment phase to ensure safe, maximum gasifier output during production phase. This approach allows identification of poor or unexpected performance that is attributable to pre-existing uncertainty. A historical review of gasifier conditions inferred from the three trial projects is presented. Hence from the Queensland experiences it is possible to identify what aspects of baseline geological understanding should be clearly understood at the site selection phase in order to limit anomalous gasifier performance and undesirable deviations, and maximise production output.

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