Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Together with Argentine partners, Ergo Exergy is investigating the potential of developing a number of UCG projects in Argentina, based on substantial, largely unminable coal resources in the country.
As part of this effort, a conference on the potential role of underground coal gasification in Argentine energy market was held at the Argentine Center of Engineers (CAI) that featured Ergo Exergy’s director Dr. Michael Blinderman as special guest speaker as well as a number of Argentine specialists. The conference, supported by Argentine-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, was attended by members of the Argentine Center of Engineers, representatives of industry, government and non-governmental organizations.
The presentation given by Jorge Doumanian, chairman of the Energy Committee of the Technical Department of the CAI, focused on environmental issues of energy production and use in Argentina. A presentation by a distinguished member of CAI, engineer Antonio Ángel Cadenas highlighted environmental aspects of coal use for power generation and petrochemical applications in Argentina. In a historical overview, Mr. Cadenas noted that the domestic coal use was common until 1951 when it was replaced with natural gas at a lower cost, elaborating on the advantages of the underground coal gasification technology and clarifying the current situation with respect to technology implementation in general. “The main idea that should not be missed is the use of clean technologies for all fuels. In that sense, the conventional ways of processing coal would leave waste such as coal tar, while in utilizing underground coal gasification we are only talking about ash and gas, apart from the technology being less costly."
Presentation of Dr. M. Blinderman covered the world UCG development, with focus on commercial applications of the technology in the projects developed by Ergo Exergy experts. He considered technical, environmental and commercial parameters of applying technology in different geological conditions. “The Exergy UCG™ technology provided by Ergo Exergy has a proven track record of clean and cost-efficient applications in many international projects. Preliminary results indicate that application of this technology to several reviewed coalfields in Argentina can lead to production of clean chemicals and power at a very competitive cost and with a low carbon footprint,” concluded Dr. M. Blinderman.
Groundwork for a study to begin developing a pilot UCG plant in Rio Turbio has recently been undertaken in Argentina. Manuel Zárate, the project manager at UTN FRSC, stated in this regard that "currently, jointly with the state-owned coal mining company Yacimientos Carboniferos Rio Turbio, the National Technological University is providing the R&D support for investigative studies on an experimental UCG plant. This technology will complement the current coal mining activities through conversion to synthesis gas which can be used as fuel for power generation as well as a feedstock in the production of petrochemicals. Given that today we are in the evaluation stage of this technology, having assistance of the world-renowned UCG company Ergo Exergy and its director Dr. Michael Blinderman was crucial for an accurate assessment of both technical and environmental aspects which are vital in advancing the project.”
Finally, attorney Nicholas Davies, Coordinator of the Energy Committee of the Argentine-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, declared the meeting closed after an interesting exchange of ideas during an extended questions and answers session between attendees and Dr. M. Blinderman.