Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 29 May 2011
Eskom wants to build a new 2 100MW power station, making use of new underground coal-to-gas technology.
Since 2007 the power utility has been working on the technology and hopes to start designing the new macro power station by December. This week Barry MacColl, Eskom’s manager for technology, strategy and planning, told Sake24 that the success of the technology has already been demonstrated. The trials had produced satisfactory results and the potential was tremendous, he said.
In the technology process two shafts are drilled into underground coal reserves. Then the coal – which is underground – is set alight. The burning coal releases, through the one shaft, a flammable gas which is collected and redirected to gas turbines that generate electricity.
MacColl said the underground reaction is controlled by regulating the quantity of oxygen being pumped into the one shaft, and the process can be altered by cutting off the oxygen supply.
Eskom’s test project at the Majuba power station is already contributing 3MW of power to Majuba’s total output.
Chris Yelland, an independent engineering analyst, said that very little is still publicly known about the technology. The technology was developed in the Soviet Union and used there, he explained. The biggest experts in this area would be Russians. Continue reading