Maria Mastalerz
Geological Research at the IGS

Evaluation of Indiana coals for underground coal gasification (UCG)

Status Start Date End Date Locations
completed Aug 1, 2008 Jun 30, 2010 All Counties
Director: Maria Mastalerz
Other Researchers:
Issue: The UCG process has great advantages over surface coal gasification such as lower capital investment costs (due to the absence of a manufactured gasifier), no handling of coal and solid wastes at the surface (ash remains in the underground cavity), no human labor underground, minimum surface disruption, and the direct use of water and feedstock “in place”. In addition, cavities formed as a result of UCG could potentially be used for CO2 sequestration. Therefore, investigation of UCG potential for Indiana coals has been undertaken
Objective: Two main objectives of the project are: 1)Careful analysis of Indiana’s geology, coal properties, water resources, etc.;and 2)Identification of potential UCG sites and determination of the feasibility of this technology in Indiana.
Approach: The project is conducted in several phases: 1) Analysis of UCG current state of the science and technology (globally) and determination of criteria required for selecting suitable locations for a project. 2) Analysis of Indiana’s coal resources and determination of suitable UCG locations 3) Detailed analysis of the most promising sites combined with modeling work in collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California
Products: 1) Maps and tables of coal characteristics and characteristics of the lithologies associated with the coals. 2) Selection of the most promising zones and detailed characterization of coal volumes and coal properties in these zones 3) Progress and final reports Shafirovich, E., Varma, A., Mastalerz, M., Drobniak, A., Rupp, J. 2009. The potential for underground coal gasification in Indiana. IGS Open-File Study 09-02.
Benefits: This study provides a geological analysis that can guide any decision about a potential UCG field test in Indiana

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