Climate implications of underground coal gasification

Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is a technology for recovering a synthetic gas directly from coal deposits by partial in-situ combustion. It is currently being trialled in a number of countries, and advocates argue that despite high intrinsic carbon emissions it could provide a low cost route to effective carbon capture and storage.

This study, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, reviews the technical and economic status of UCG technologies, and develops a series of scenarios to assess the possible implications for the climate. It finds that the technical and cost obstacles to effective deployment of high levels of carbon capture in UCG are more significant than advocates of the technology acknowledge, and that the risk of increased or prolonged unabated use of coal as a result of UCG could become a serious climate threat.

A summary of the report can be found here.

The full report can be downloaded below, as can a summary slide deck (as a powerpoint show file).