April 12, 2012
Solid Energy New Zealand and Ergo Exergy have successfully started New Zealand's first underground coal gasification plant in Huntly, approximately 100km south of Auckland. The Huntly UCG project, which has been under development since early 2008, was commissioned at 20:30 NZST on Thursday 12 April 2012 and is producing high quality syngas. The project is based on Ergo Exergy's proprietary εUCG™ technology and eventually aims to provide fuel for power generation and possibly other value added end-products. The tests targeting fine-tuning of the technology and optimization of its unit operations for the conditions of Huntly West coal field have commenced successfully.
The current pilot scale operation is designed to provide geotechnical, process and environmental data that is required for design of the planned commercial εUCG™ plant. Solid Energy has access to around 2 billion tonnes of coal in the Huntly coal field and εUCG™ offers a cleaner, safer and cheaper method of accessing and utilising that coal than traditional coal mining methods.
Solid Energy is now the only company in the world to access energy from a single coal field using four different technologies: underground mining, opencast mining, coal seam gas and underground coal gasification. This should make the comparison of different coal energy recovery technologies both comprehensive and conclusive.
Ergo Exergy is proud to know that successful implementation of this Underground Coal Gasification operation in New Zealand is once again based on Ergo Exergy's technology and dedicated hard work.