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A process model for underground coal gasification - Part-III: Parametric studies and UCG process performance

Publication Date
Dec 03, 2018
DSpace at IIT Bombay
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Underground gas gasification (UCG) is a clean coal technology which involves in-situ gasification of deep-seated underground coal. The process can be divided in two phases based on state of coal seam and direction of cavity growth. In phase-I, cavity grows mainly in vertical direction while in phase-II it grows in horizontal direction. The in-house simulator developed for both the phases of UCG has been reported earlier Samdani a al. (2016a,b). It incorporates reaction kinetics, flow patterns, spalling, heat and mass transfer effects. In this work, we take further insight and perform parametric studies to examine the effects of different operating conditions, coal properties and design parameters on key performance indicators i.e. exit gas quality, energy generation rates etc. The investigation revealed that the exit gas quality and rate of coal consumption are strong functions of spalling rates and kinetics of reactions; the coal having very low spalling tendency or less reactivity may not be favorable for the UCG process. An important parameter called critical spalling rate has emerged through this analysis. It is the property of given coal above which UCG is sustainable. In addition, model performance is also sensitive to inlet gas temperature, pressure and composition. Optimum performance of UCG is obtained at a steam to oxygen ratio of 2.5 and at the highest possible inlet gas temperature, operating pressure, and oxygen content in the feed. Among the design parameters, the length of outflow channel is very important as it strongly affects both the exit gas calorific value and its fluctuations with time. The predicted effects of different parameters are in accord with the observations during lab-scale UCG experiments and different field trials. This study demonstrates the importance of a process model to determine the best conditions for UCG process and to evaluate feasibility of the process for a coal seam under consideration.

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