June 10, 2013
A research agreement has been signed between Sasol New Energy and Eskom Holdings Limited for joint evaluation of underground coal gasification (UCG) technology in South Africa. The agreement will promote knowledge sharing and strengthen research cooperation between the two energy giants.
UCG is a coal to synthesis gas technology that uses air or oxygen to gasify coal in the coal deposit underground through a series of injection and extraction wells. Eskom has successfully implemented pilot UCG operations for five years. The next step for Sasol and Eskom is joint exploration of the full value chain of UCG technology development.
Both Sasol and Eskom have a licensing agreement with technology partner Ergo Exergy Technologies Inc. (Ergo Exergy) of Canada. Ergo Exergy’s εUCG™ technology has been the basis for the success of three UCG projects in the past few years. These projects include the Huntly West UCG project in New Zealand developed by Solid Energy, Linc Energy’s initial Chinchilla UCG project in Australia and Eskom’s Majuba UCG pilot project in South Africa. The εUCG™ technology is also being applied in the development of commercial UCG based energy projects in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, India, China and other countries.
“The Sasol/Eskom agreement is an implementation of comprehensive technological cooperation enjoyed by all companies that hold licenses for our εUCG™ technology. Ergo Exergy will ensure that the joint Sasol/Eskom effort has solid technological foundation and serves the development of large commercial UCG projects,” says Dr. Michael Blinderman, Ergo Exergy's Director of Operations.