Dr Cliff Mallett, an Australian scientist, has said that it has now become possible to make use of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) to provide a greener alternative to burning coal above ground.

UCG converts coal to a gaseous mixture of hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Air and steam are injected into the coal seam and used to initiate and maintain coal combustion. The resultant gases are then piped to the surface to generate power.

“With increased control over the processes driving UCG, it is possible we could reduce emissions of CO2 by almost half of that released from conventional coal-fired power stations,” Dr Mallett said.