Laurus Energy, a developer of underground coal gasification projects in North America, has signed an agreement with Alaska-based Cook Inlet Region (CIRI) to form a joint venture (JV), which will commercialize syngas from underground coal gasification (UCG).

The companies claim that the new the JV will be the first UCG project in North America and it will be based outside of Anchorage.

According to the company, among the goals of the project, will be to provide an alternative to natural gas, bringing price stability, reliable power and increased business competition to meet Southcentral Alaska’s energy needs.

According to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UCG provides the potential to increase US recoverable coal reserves by 300% – 400%.

Ethan Schutt, senior vice president of land and energy development at CIRI, said: “The new UCG project that CIRI and Laurus Energy will develop has many economic benefits and requires no public subsidies or expensive infrastructure needed to import natural gas into Southcentral Alaska.

“Furthermore, Laurus Energy’s extensive expertise and proven proprietary Exergy UCG process will enable us to produce power from coal with a lower carbon profile than natural gas.”