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Goal gasification plant clears big permitting step

Sep 18, 2013 - Associated Press

GILLETTE (AP) -- After three years of work invested into bringing an underground coal gasification project to Wyoming, Linc Energy has reached a milestone in its efforts.

Linc announced this month that it received official notification from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality that the application for the Underground Coal Gasification demonstration project is complete and ready for public notice.

It is a milestone which, pending the outcome of the public notice period, will permit the demonstration of Linc's underground coal gasification technology in the Powder River Basin, the company said.

Australia-based Linc Energy controls about 184,200 acres of state-owned coal leases in the Powder River Basin and about 17,200 acres near Glenrock, where Linc maintains its oil and gas fields for future enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide.

Progress in permitting the underground coal gasifier in the Powder River Basin advances Linc Energy's plan to demonstrate the viability of underground coal gasification technology in the United States, said Peter Bond, Linc's CEO.

The milestone comes a few weeks after the Queensland Government's Independent Scientific Panel released a report on Underground Coal Gasification Pilot Trials,."A great deal of coal that is economically inaccessible to mining (too deep or poor quality) and from which coal seam gas will have been extracted could potentially be a source of syngas in the future," it said.

Underground coal gasification is a technology that has been in use in various forms for decades. Linc's commercial underground coal gasifier in Angren, Uzbekistan, has been operating since 1961.

In Wyoming, several projects exploring gasification of PRB coal were proposed in the past.

, including the University of Wyoming-General Electric High Plains Gasification facility in Cheyenne.

The UW School of Energy Resources in Laramie is now working on gasification of PRB coal for production of ethylene glycol with a focus on commercializing the process. The research already received approvals from Peabody, a global coal producer with three mines in Campbell County.

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