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Green Energy Choices: The Benefits, Risks and Trade-Offs of Low-Carbon Technologies for Electricity Production; Summary for Policy Makers

021220153Author: United Nations Environment Programme
Date: 2015
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Abstract: 

This summary report highlights key findings from the report of the International Resource Panel: Green Energy Choices: The Benefits, Risks and Trade-Offs of Low-Carbon Technologies for Electricity Production. Meeting the rising energy demands of a growing world population presents an ideal opportunity to make technology choices that take into account, and to the extent possible, mitigate negative impacts on the climate, environmental and human health. The report examines the main commercially available renewable and non-renewable power generation technologies, analysing their GHG emissions, but also trade-offs in terms of: Environmental impacts (impacts on ecosystems, eutrophication and acidification, etc.) Impacts on human health (particulates, toxicity) Resource use implications (concrete, metals, energy intensity, water use and land use). It provides a comprehensive comparison of a range of technologies, including coal and gas with and without Carbon Capture and Sequestration, photovoltaic solar power, Concentrated Solar Power, hydropower, geothermal, and wind power. It takes a whole life-cycle perspective, covering the production of the equipment and fuel, the operation of the power plants and their dismantling to provide: A comparison and benchmarking of the environmental impacts of nine different electricity generation technologies, per unit of power production. An environmental and resource assessment of implementing the IEA’s Blue Map (or 2°C) mitigation scenario for keeping global warming to less than two degrees, in comparison to a baseline scenario. The scenario envisions replacing fossil fuels for power generation with renewables on a large enough scale to keep global warming to 2 degrees. The work of the IRP represents the first in-depth international comparative assessment of the environmental, health and resource impacts of these different energy technologies, and is the work of an international scientific and technical expert team. The aim is to examine the trade-offs, benefits, and risks of low-carbon technologies in terms of GHG mitigation potential, but also their impacts on the environment, on human health and resource use in order to better equip decision-makers with the information that they require in order toinformed decisions as regards their future energy mix.

Black Carbon Mitigation and the Role of the Global Environment Facility: A STAP Advisory Document

1611201510Source: United Nations Environment Programme
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Author: 
Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP); Global Environment Facility; United Nations Environment Programme
Date: 2015
Abstract: 
Black carbon (BC) is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. It is the most strongly light-absorbing component of fine particulate matter, and a local and regional air pollutant. It is also a short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) with a lifetime of only days to weeks after release into the atmosphere. During that short period, it can have significant direct and indirect radiative forcing (warming) effects that contribute to anthropogenic climate change at regional and global scales. Black carbon also accelerates the rapid melting of the cryosphere, particularly in the Himalayas and the Arctic, adding urgency to the need to decrease emissions into the atmosphere. All SLCPs should be considered since the impact of each species is highly complex on the local and global atmosphere, and demands specific options for emissions control and measurement techniques. This guidance note concentrates solely on black carbon to impart a more in-depth review of this important species. Several studies have demonstrated that carefully selected measures to prevent the release of microscopic BC particulate products arising from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass can reduce near-term warming and improve human health. BC is not the only substance emitted from incomplete combustion, and the climate impacts depend on the full range of co-pollutants emitted from a particular source. The challenge facing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is how best to operationalize BC mitigation measures into its portfolio of projects. The GEF – 6 Strategy (2014 – 2018) specifically highlights the need to incorporate BC, as well as other SLCPs including methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and tropospheric ozone (O3) into climate change mitigation projects1. Since the GEF provides support for partner countries to address global environmental issues, it is well-positioned to support BC mitigation measures across all relevant sectors where appropriate. However, it does not provide direction on how to accomplish this in practice. In this regard, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) has prepared a guidance note for countries wishing to include BC in their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UNFCCC2 and some countries have already begun considering measures to reduce BC emissions. For example, in its INDC Mexico has included a 51% reduction by 2030 of its current BC emissions3. This report provides an overview of BC emissions, including co-emitted species, their sources, impacts, and potential mitigation approaches. It summarizes the state of current knowledge; provides specific recommendations to the GEF Partnership about BC mitigation options; identifies the multiple benefits from reducing BC emissions, including improved human health and reduced crop losses; and highlights various ways in which GEF investments can catalyze future action and realize these co-benefits. BC and carbon dioxide (CO2) are co-emitted during fossil fuel and biomass combustion. Hence displacing these fuels with alternatives will help reduce both short-lived and long-lived GHGs. Similarly, reducing fossil fuel demand by improved energy efficiency measures (to achieve the same energy services while burning less fuel) can also reduce both types of GHGs. A methodology for incorporating all GHG and SLCP emissions into a single climate impact assessment has yet to be developed. Meanwhile, the methods for reducing BC emissions as outlined in this report will enable the GEF to consider the implications of mitigation for its project portfolio.

The Emissions Gap Report 2015 – Executive Summary

Author: United Nations Environment Programme
Date: 2015
Abstract
The year 2015 has the potential to become a turning point in global efforts to transform the prevailing social and economic development paradigm into a more sustainable one. The global community reached agreement in September 2015 on a set of 17 sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030, including climate change. Countries will meet again at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris with the aim of establishing a new global agreement on climate change, hereafter the ‘Paris Agreement’, with the ambition of limiting changes in global temperatures to below 2 °C or 1.5 °C warming in 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement will also aim to establish a framework to provide technological and financial support for developing countries to accelerate the transition towards low carbon and climate resilient development paths. The architecture of a new climate agreement has many facets with an array of issues under negotiation that have become significantly more complex since the Framework Convention on Climate Change entered into force in 1994. The core structure of the Paris Agreement will comprise the “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs) as well as the process by which implementation of the agreement will proceed over time to advance the objectives of the UNFCCC. In addition, a number of key decisions will be required covering issues like adaptation, finance, technology, and capacity building.

Carbon Asset Risk: Discussion Framework

051120153Source: World Resources Institute
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WRI and UNEP-FI Portfolio Carbon Initiative

The Carbon Asset Risk Discussion Framework is a resource for financial institutions and was developed by WRI and the UNEP Finance Initiative in consultation with more than 100 energy, climate and finance experts.

This report provides objective, fact-based guidance to finance professionals for evaluating their exposure to the non-physical risks of climate change, called carbon asset risk. This type of financial risk is driven by non-physical factors during the transition to the low-carbon economy: changing public policy and private sector regulation, rapidly evolving technologies, unpredictable economic markets, and shifting public opinion.

Low carbon energy production. Artificial photosynthesis

Source: G-Global
Authors: Amina Akhmetbekova
Category: Energy

If we look at history of human being, we can see that human has been developed through theunderstanding of the world around them. They have learned many things from the nature. For example the helicopters, airplanes, Velcro. However, they went with wrong way of employing the nature as the source of the resources for the energy. They are called fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are very common source of energy today. For example: oil, coal etc. Because of them our cars can go, houses are warm and electricity is passing. Nevertheless, it also cause very negative effect for the nature and human health. While burning the fossil fuel the carbon dioxide is released. Big amount of this gas cause the greenhouse effect and it leads to global warming. In addition, it affects the health of the people, because we breathe the polluted air and it spoils our organisms. Not only people’s but every living creature’s body that is why it is global problem. We need a new source of energy that we can use for a long time and it will not cause ecological problems. The solution is new renewable source of energy called artificial photosynthesis.

Artificial photosynthesis system could potentially create an endless, relatively inexpensive supply of all the clean “gas” and electricity we need to power our lives — and in a storable form, too. If we look on the nature’s creatures, the best example of the source of renewable energy it is photosynthesis, or the conversion of sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into the usable fuel, emitting useful oxygen gas in the process.” Using nothing but sunlight as the energy input, plants perform massive energy conversions, turning 1,102 billion tons (1,000 billion metric tons) of CO2 into organic matter, i.e., energy for animals in the form of food, every year. And that’s only using 3 percent of the sunlight that reaches Earth.” (Layton, 2013) Scientists were inspired by the ability of plant to photosynthesize that is why they tried to mimic the method of producing the energy using only carbon dioxide, water and sunlight or the artificial photosynthesis.  The photosynthesis is based on the oxidation and reduction, which is activated by the sun energy.

The main products of the artificial photosynthesis are oxygen, hydrogen, and methanol. All three products have their own value in present. Oxygen is very important for breathing for the living things, even some plants breathe with oxygen at night. Hydrogen and methanol are very good fuels. Professor MacFarlane said: “We have created a photo-catalyst based on copper oxide, the surface of which is decorated with tiny carbon dots of about 2 nano-metres in size. This nano-composite material can directly convert carbon dioxide dissolved in water to methanol using only sunlight as the energy source. Methanol is directly useful as a fuel and can also be the building-block for many complex carbon compounds such as plastics and pharmaceuticals.” (How artificial photosynthesis works: energy from sunlight, 2014)I another case the artificial photosynthesis can produce liquid hydrogen fuel. The hydrogen fuel is used in some models of cars like Chevrolet Equinox, the BMW 745h and the one that’s currently available for lease in California, the Honda FCX. (Lampton, How hydrogen cars works) It could also be funneled into a fuel-cell setup, which would effectively reverse the photosynthesis process, creating electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen into water. Hydrogen fuel cells can generate electricity, so we would use it to run our air conditioning and water heaters.

The main advantage of the AP is that it can reduce the amount of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and transfer it into the oxygen and water, which gives a possibility for future reducing of the ozone holes, hence no harmful ultraviolet radiation. In addition, The AP system can produce different types of the fuels, just by changing the catalyst on the photo electrochemical cell. For example, now we can produce two types, but with a development of this resource, in future we may produce many different types of fuels. The AP system is also uses renewable sources for energy production, such as water, carbondioxyde and light. Unfortunately, the photosynthesis has own disadvantages, because the process is needed in source of energy, but to use light we should spent energy for electricity. Another negative side is that there is a few devices around the world that can use the produces fuels, because most of them use the fossil fuels.  Another question that we should answer is: are products of the AP dangerous? Yes, they a dangerous, but like fossil fuels. They both are contained in special tanks, but usage is the same. (Lampton, Danger of hydrogen, 2013)

Of course, to build some artificial photosynthesis stations or something like that we will need machines and equipment that works on the fossil fuel, and may be provide energy for the beginning period, but in my opinion, it is not a big expenditure, because everything will be justified later.

If we will use the energy produced by the artificial photosynthesis, it will make some changes in our usual way of life. First, it will decrease the environmental problems of pollution, greenhouse effect and living creature’s health condition. Another example is that trees around the world will be freer from their responsibility of photosynthesis, because during air pollutions they cannot produce energy (food) even for themselves.  In my opinion, humanity will have weighty changes in the world economy. The main reason is transition of the fabrics and factories from the fossil working production to the hydrogen or methanol working production, which may cause big spending. Also, it is very useful way to change the “atmosphere” and give people new ideas for projects, investments, hence more new output, profit and income.

Kazakhstan has good opportunities to begin the artificial photosynthesis energy production; because we have a lot of place and the scientific exhibition, EXPO-2017 can help as to produce green energy.

Artificial photosynthesis is a good alternative for the high-carbon energy production. It as the new way of producing the energy, which was discovered not so longtime ago at the end of the 20 century, needs development and firstly- testing. If we will begin to use in small usual things like heating of house, petrol for car etc. After that, the experiment will slowly spread around the world. Of course, at the beginning we had to use technology that uses the fossil fuels, but after that, the expenditures will be justified. In my opinion, the artificial photosynthesis is an energy of the future technology innovations.

The Coal Industry on Crossroad

Source: G-Global
Authors: Eugene Tishchenko
Session: Global climate change: risks and mechanisms for its mitigation
Category: Green economy
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Early movers are already shaking things up. Universities, pension funds, churches, banks, and even the heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune are pulling their money out of fossil-fuel assets or are considering the possibility of divestment – an option made increasingly attractive by the swiftly falling cost of renewable energy.

In the face of this progress, though, one sector stands apart. The coal industry seems determined to fight for profits at the expense of the global environment. Perversely, it is furiously attempting to capture the moral high ground by claiming that coal is essential to ending energy poverty.

Coal companies and their allies argue that limiting coal production would keep the lights off in rural communities by preventing poor countries from building big, cheap power plants. “Let’s have no demonization of coal,” as one ally, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, put it. “Coal is good for humanity.” Speaking at an event hosted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank that is skeptical of climate change, the United Kingdom’s former environment secretary, Owen Paterson, accused climate-change activists of having “African blood” on their hands.

Setting aside the deeply offensive character of such efforts to silence its critics, the coal industry is posing a false choice: end the use of coal or end poverty. But, though energy is indeed central to efforts to end poverty, one must be clear: at this point in history, coal is not good for anyone.

Consider this: for all of the attention the Ebola virus has received in recent months, coal is a far deadlier killer. Toxic fly ash kills some 800,000 people per year and sickens millions more. Beijing’s ongoing battle with smog – a problem that has become known as the “airpocalypse” – provides a potent reminder of coal’s impact on air quality. But China’s capital is hardly unique in that respect. Many Indian cities have air pollution that is just as bad – and in some cases far worse.

Coal is also the single largest contributor to climate change, which threatens to put 400 million people in the poorest countries at risk of severe food and water shortages by 2050.

The coal industry is seeking to burden developing countries with the same unsustainable growth model that has brought the earth to the brink of climate disaster. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has repeatedly warned – and as the experience of countries like the Marshall Islands increasingly demonstrates – climate change is no longer a distant threat. The terrible consequences of burning fossil fuels are already upon us, and those suffering the most are the world’s poor.

Most people understand that coal is a dirty business, one that countries like Australia should abandon for their own economic wellbeing, as well as for the sake of the global climate. That is why we are witnessing such resistance from the industry. Coal’s day is over, but it is trying desperately to hang on.

The world needs a rapid and fair transition away from dirty energy sources. That means cleaning up developed economies and working to prevent the massive expansion of industries that damage our collective health and future. It also means working with developing countries to help them develop modern, clean energy sources that provide cheap, locally produced power, and do not oblige them to buy fossil fuels.

Above all, it means that we must stop telling the poor in developing countries what they should do and start listening to what they want. And what they want – unfortunately for the coal industry – is clean, affordable energy that powers their present, without costing them their future.

Pathways to an energy- and carbon-efficient Russia

21102015Source: McKinsey & Company

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With energy-efficiency measures, Russia can grow GDP up to 6 percent per annum with no increase in energy consumption or carbon emissions. The report shows that by 2030 Russia could cut its energy usage by 23 percent and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 19 percent by implementing 60 economically attractive efficiency measures. At the same time, Russia could achieve its GDP growth aspirations while remaining at its current levels of energy consumption and emissions.

UNDERGROUND COAL GASIFICATION (UCG): AN INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY FOR EMISSIONS REDUCTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

Source: G-Global
Authors: Дарья Алонцева
Category: Energy

Introduction

Underground coal gasification (UCG) technique, which is a method of converting deep-seam coal into a combustible fuel used for power generation, as a feedstock for the manufacturing of hydrogen, chemicals or transport fuels. Underground coal gasification (UCG) has significant advantages and can be categorized as a clean coal technology to produce syngas in-situ [1]. However, it suffers from lack of a comprehensive understanding of the process because it takes place deep underground and consists of multi-phenomena. Hence, UCG modelling can be employed to investigate different aspects of this process. While small scale processes can be mechanistically informative, large scale processes may behave quite differently and mechanistic description for them is not formative [1,2]. Underground coal gasification (UCG) is a potential method for economically recovering stored energy in coal formations, especially from coal deposits that cannot be mined using conventional methods. A well-developed UCG technology has the potential to increase the world’s coal reserve substantially [3], it also is an environmentally friendly technology [4].

The goal of this research is to increase our understanding of the key physical processes and the capability to predict with high level of confidence and certainty the underground processes involved in UCG.

Research objectives:

–  This work will assess physical data which are important for processing and making the modelling more robust. As a result, literary and patent search will be held, demonstration sites will be selected for the study and ​​sampling will be made (samples of Kazakh coal);

– to identify the most valid and reliable in terms of modeling physical and chemical phenomena that affect the dynamics of the UCG reaction. As a result, most modern methods of analytical study will be used to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the specific features of the structure and some properties of coal samples, as well as the study of the geological structure of the selected demonstration sites;

–  to develop a model of the physical and chemical processes that accompany the UCG process against the established features of the structure and properties of coal and geology sites. This will result in a mathematical model of the UCG process in relation to a particular field;

– to collect data on the demonstration sites and develop a database for the UCG operating model. This will be used to create a unique database for the computer simulation of the UCG process at demonstration sites;

– to carry out testing and validation of the model using the obtained data in real time mode. This will try out the model applied to actual Kazakhstan deposits.

– to perform the analysis of the results and the selection of the optimum UCG process conditions for maximum performance and reduced emissions. As a result, we will provide the scientific bases of an innovative UCG technology with reduced emissions and environmental management;

The study in the Project framework will lay a necessary and scientific theoretical foundation for further quantitatively studying the process of underground coal gasification and forecasting the change patterns in the scale of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Description of Innovative Technology UCG for Emissions Reduction and Environmental Management in Frame of Joint Research Project

The world is facing a major challenge to meet future energy supplies. Coal continues to be the world’s leading source of energy, with coal-fired power accounting for about 30% of the electricity produced in the world. With global energy demand projected to rise by up to 55% by 2030 (International Energy Agency, 2010) [5], fossil fuels will continue to hold a dominant share of the world’s energy mix with the demand for coal projected to 70% in absolute terms by 2030 [6]. With fossil fuels remaining the main source of energy for decades to come, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is seen as one of the best solutions in combating climate change [7].

The latest technologies for the clean use of coal will help to meet the challenges of our energy future. In the context of Kazakhstan, environmental pollution from coal is well recognised and recently, the mining and the use of coal has been identified as harmful to nature and the environment and as a consequence [8], the Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has instructed its government to develop a plan through 2050 that would result in at least 50% of the country’s electricity being generated from renewable resources [9].

The Republic of Kazakhstan has the second largest coal  reserves as well as the second largest oil production among the former Soviet republics after Russia with estimated total liquids production was 1.64 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2013 (US, Energy Information Administration, 2013) [6]. According to US, Energy Information Administration, 2013), Kazakhstan consumed a total of 2.3 quadrillion Btu of energy in 2010, with coal accounting for the largest share of energy consumed at 64%, followed by oil and natural gas at 19% and 14%, respectively [7]. In addition, the vast majority of Kazakhstan’s power generation comes from coal-fired power plants, concentrated near the coal producing regions (e.g., anthracite reserves from Karaganda, Ekibastuz and Tengiz-Korzhankolskogo basins and the brown coal which is concentrated mainly in the Maikuben basins) [10].

According to IHS (2013) [10], Kazakhstan’s total installed generating capacity was approximately 19.5 gigawatts (GW) in 2011, 85% of which was coal-fired power and the remaining 15% was hydropower. As of 2011, Kazakhstan’s net generation was totalled approximately 81.2 billion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity (Kazakhstan Geological Committee) [11]. Figure 1 shows the typical Kazakhstan’s energy consumption by fuels (2010) showing that 64% is from coal.

Furthermore, the Republic of Kazakhstan has become  the tenth largest coal producer in the world  over the past recent decades. It is significant that in the East Kazakhstan region (EKR), where the execution of this project is planned, 1052.8 mln tons of balance coal are concentrated [12], i.e., East Kazakhstan is on the 4th place in Kazakhstan on coal resources after Pavlodar, Karaganda and Aktobe regions. The expected coal resource in East Kazakhstan is 1.6 billion tons [12], i.e. East Kazakhstan takes the 5th place among the regions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which makes the project studies in the region attractive and justified. Kazakhstan has steadily increased coal production levels to satisfy the growing energy demand, producing 126 Mt of coal in 2012 [11].

Figure 1 – Kazakhstan’s Energy consumption by fuels, 2010 [10]

At the current rate of production, Kazakhstan has enough coal for the next 250 years. In terms of production, the country occupies eighth place with mines currently produce a little more than 120 million metric tons per year (mtpy) of which 97 million mt are consumed domestically and 22 million mt are exported. Currently, Kazakhstan has 4% of known world reserves with 33.6 Bt of proven coal reserves as at the end of 2012. Among the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Kazakhstan occupies third place in terms of largest reserves and first place in terms of coal production per capita [5,6]. At present, the coal industry provides 78% of the electricity in the Republic of Kazakhstan, almost 100% of coke production and it fully meets the needs of the domestic sector.

Underground coal gasification (UCG) offers great promise to revolutionise the way coal is used and consumed. Figure 2 below shows the schematic of the basics if the underground coal gasification technology.

A basic UCG process consists of two boreholes drilled into a coal seam some distance apart, one for the injection of oxidants and the other for the production of synthetic gas (syngas). Depending on the deliverability of the coal seam mainly to gas flow, the distance between the wells may need human interference to increase the connectivity of the injection and production points. This can be done using well developed methods from the oil and gas industry, such as directional drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and reverse combustion.

Figure.2 –  Schematic of underground coal gasification basics

The development of UCG as part of clean coal technologies is essential, enabling the Republic of Kazakhstan and the UK to remain competitive with other nations that are also developing these technologies. When one looks globally, the estimate of the reserve is in excess of 800 billion tonnes and here reserve means coal accessible with existing technology and current plans for extraction. The potential impact of clean coal technology on a global scale cannot be overstated. The present reserves-to production ratio based on conventional mining is 122 years [12]. This would only increase if humankind was able to exploit more coal and do it cleanly.  To access these reserves without significant environmental impact requires clean coal technology.

This research project will take forward the Republic of Kazakhstan’s response to the challenge from fossil-fuel power plants at a time when it has a significant need to replace its ageing power generation assets. The benefit of this research project to the Republic of Kazakhstan economy is overwhelming and it will always help the Republic of Kazakhstan to minimise its dependence on imported oil and gas.

Additionally, in an ever increasingly energy hungry global economy whose emerging environmental conscience continues to steer generation technologies away from traditional carbon intensive means, forecast increases in demand for clean energy fuels such as uranium are extremely exciting for uranium rich countries such as Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s mining industry would benefit in particular from improving procedures to prevent contamination from tailings, waste rock dumps and smelters. The UCG technology development within the framework of this project also contributes to the ecologically clean intensification of coal development and the improvement of measures to protect the environment.

The project is aimed at using by the Republic of Kazakhstan of the most advanced integrated technologies of materials research and modeling of reaction mechanisms and process dynamics of the reaction of underground coal gasification, providing insight into and forecasting the key UCG processes. This work focuses on the acceleration of technological progress and the development of UCG technology in Kazakhstan through the use of highly developed and advanced modeling techniques.

The scientific novelty of the project lies in the fact that for the first time:

– will  carry out a comprehensive analysis of structural features (at the nanoscale) and some properties of the Kazakh coal samples, as well as the study of the geological structure of the selected demonstration areas, on the basis of which will be offered models of the physical and chemical processes that accompany UCG the process, taking into account the established features of coal and sites;

– a database for the computer simulation of UCG process applied to specific fields in Kazakhstan, taking into account their unique characteristics, will be formed;

– the UCG process model applied to actual deposits in Kazakhstan will be tried  out;

– on the basis of mathematical modeling the regularities of the UCG process will be established, and its optimum conditions for maximum performance and reduced emissions will be recommended.

The studies carried out within the Project will provide the necessary scientific and theoretical foundation for further quantitative study of the process of underground coal gasification and forecasting models of its change in the scale of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The main differences of the technology being developed from existing analogues:

– the use of mathematical computer modeling allows predicting the key UCG processes;

– the modeled is as applied to specific fields in Kazakhstan, taking into account their unique features. The use of such technology is very specific, and requires a careful study of the material features and geology of the site. It is not possible to simply extrapolate the data obtained by calculations of another model, it is necessary to develop an individual model with the account of a specific material and site, which defines the character of the process;

– the whole UCG process will be environmentally clean. While UCG may cause surface subsidence in shallow tests, overall it presents fewer negative environmental effects than other known ways of coal deposit development.

High-technology UCG methods have a steady and ever growing market demand for new high technology and environmentally-friendly technologies in the Republic of Kazakhstan and abroad. The demand for the technology being developed across the Republic of Kazakhstan is defined as the prospect of growth in exports of energy sources, and the orientation of Kazakhstan at the “green economy.” We offer basic research in the field of new at the global level clean UCG technologies, and at the same time further substantiate the possibility of applied use of the developed technology.

Besides accelerating the technical progress in Kazakhstan, the project will actively involve young people, increase the capacity of Kazakhstan science that provides the solution of the three main objectives set by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan in his message of January 17, 2014 to the people of the Republic of Kazakhstan [13].

Basic research methods: mathematical computer modeling, High-Resolution Transmission Electron microscopy (HR-TEM)/ Energy Dispersion Spectroscopy (EDS) analysis, and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)/ Energy Dispersion Spectroscopy (EDS), STEM, X-ray diffraction (XRD), light microscopy, mass spectrometry, in-situ experiment testing. Parallel application of the most modern analytical methods like nano-mineralogy studies using an integrated application of advanced characterisation techniques such as mathematical computer modeling will provide increased accuracy, reliability and predictability of the results of the study.

Mathematical modelling of processes: in the developing and exploration of new research, experiment is undoubtedly is a very important means, however, recently the combination of experiment, numerical simulation and modelling has gained popularity [14-16]. Latest modelling software will be purchased to carry out the modelling aspect of this work which will include advanced, steady and dynamic states modelling of the underground processes. Basic and advanced equilibrium together with reaction model will be carried out in the modelling experiments. The overall approach to mathematical modelling will be based on comprehensive numerical models using the fundamental equations of mass/energy balance, chemical kinetics, etc. The proposed research work will include the experimental validation of the models, generally through the data collected from the existing field/pilot scale-field testing. The results of the simulation and modelling studies will provide, for the first time, a mechanistic subsurface gasification at various depths into underground coal gasification models and for assessing the effects of predicted changes in gasification conditions/parameters on syngas quality and quantity.

During the project implementation, there are two kinds of risks associated with the research work:

• breakdown of the main equipment;

• the human factor – incapability of participation of one or more of the leading researchers due to unforeseen circumstances.

In case of unforeseen failure of the main equipment the research group has at its disposal reserve equipment close to the characteristics of the basic equipment to conduct the study. In addition, the policy of the organization provides the opportunity to use the equipment of other divisions.

The research group was formed on the principle of interchangeability. The qualifications of the participants allow others to replace an absent participant. In addition, some reserve is foreseen in case of replacement of a responsible officer.

In the course of the project scientific ethics will be respected; it will be provided by authored publications and certificates, following the principles of scientific novelty and validity of the proposed ideas and technical solutions. New scientific and technological solutions will be protected by patents and copyright certificates. All ethical issues will be resolved in the course of the project according to ethical and legal standards. All significant results of the research project will be presented annually at conferences on the theme of the project and published in the form of research papers. Public presentations of the project results exclude the possibility of plagiarism and false co-authorship. Research in the framework of the project is implemented by the research team of employees of one structural unit of a large organization that excludes the use by individual participants of data and findings of the study without the consent of the other members.

According to the executive organization’s system, the results of work of the research group belong to the organization. When publishing the results the authorship is distributed in proportion to the contribution of the researcher in the task solving, and the reference to the grant with the indication of its number is indicated.

Key international communications, participation in the project of foreign scientists: Dr Liadi (Kola) Mudashiru is a research manager of the Project. Dr Mudashiru  is a Research Fellow at Newcastle University, UK where he received his PhD (in geochemistry) and MSc (in Environmental Biogeochemistry) degrees respectively with his Executive MBA. Dr Mudashiru is an international research scientist with international reputation having worked in Canada, China, the Netherlands, Australia, India and in the UK (where he has lived for over a decade). Dr Mudashiru has a solid background in geochemistry with distinguished track record of academic excellence and achievements. He had over five years of research experience as a young researcher working in multidisciplinary research environment involving laboratory experiments, conventional and unconventional energy, climate change, reservoir modelling and environment. Dr. Mudashiru is a prolific writer with over 20 publications, contributions to two published books, numerous honours /awards for research and academic excellence and achievements and over 50 conference presentations as an invited/a guest speaker. His research interests include coal chemistry, sustainable use of coal, underground coal gasification technology, coal to liquid, coal to gas, fossil fuels and unconventional energy recovery. Dr Mudashiru’s scientific research has been concentrated on processes of energy production from unconventional resources; clean use of fossil fuels [4] underground coal gasification [1, 2, 17] Chemical reactions, equation of states, compositional, kinetics, thermodynamics, CO2 sequestration and fingerprinting; CO2 sequestration in saline aquifers, depleted gas reservoirs and coal seams; Environmental chemistry and geochemistry [18-21]; Computational fluid dynamics, geochemical and environmental modelling; Laboratory, experimental and instrumentation, structural elucidation and characterization using a wide range of analytical facilities including spectroscopic and microscopic techniques. His official website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/sustainability/staff/profile/liadi.mudashiru

Dr Grigorios Itskos has earned his PhD (2012) at the National Technical University of Athens/School of Chemical Engineering. He is a young researcher with particular expertise in coal fly ash science & utilization engineering and coal/biomass co-firing & gasification, with 16 ISI-journal publications and more than 200 citations (Scopus) in this field over the last 5 years, from them the relative publications [22-26]. He has been Research Fellow at the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) for 7 years and during his tenure there he has participated in multiple EU-, SME-, and industrially funded projects, mainly referring to solid fuels science & technology. His current h-index = 9 (Scopus) with a clear upward potential. As of January 2014 he serves NU/School of Engineering as Assistant Professor at the School of Engineering.

Expected Results

Under this project:

– a comprehensive nano-mineralogical analysis of samples of Kazakh coal, the geological structure of the selected demonstration sites will be conducted and a unique database will be established;

– models of physical and chemical processes of UCG with regard to specific structure and properties of coal and geology sites will be developed;

– a mathematical model of the UCG process for a particular field will be created and tested;

– on the basis of mathematical modeling of the UCG optimal process conditions for maximum performance and reduced emissions will be determined;

– scientific basis for innovative UCG with reduced emissions and environmental management will be developed; and the methodology patent application (European) will be made.

The study within the Project will provide the necessary scientific and theoretical foundation for further quantitative study of the process of underground coal gasification and forecasting models of its change in the scale of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as allow Kazakhstan to develop innovative, efficient and environmentally friendly technologies, as opposed to traditional aging technologies for fossil fuel extraction.

The results and findings of the project will be widely presented and thoroughly discussed at conferences and exhibitions. Participation in prestigious conferences will allow testing the results of the research project at the international level, acquiring new scientific connections, publishing research results in journals with impact factors, as only the papers presented at the conference are accepted for consideration in a particular journal.

Participation in prestigious international conferences and exhibitions, publications in leading foreign and domestic journals provides a wide dissemination of the results of the Project among potential users, a community of scholars and the general public.

We also recognise that this work may have direct relevance to a number of policy issues and organisations including the Kazakhstan Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Oil and Gas, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the Coal Authority, Environment Agency, European Commissions, SET-energy-plan, International Energy Agency (IEA) and energy providers. We will therefore, actively disseminate our work through appropriate media channels and to relevant policy organisations and stakeholders. We will also work with the Technology Transfer Office located in the Business Directorate at the University of EKSTU to identify paths to future commercialisation of any potential commercial opportunity.  Upon completion of the project we plan to apply for National Agency for Technology and Development for the commercialization of this technology

Participation in the Project of Dr Liadi Mudashiru, one of the leading scientists in the UK (in the field of UCG research), as a co-manager makes it particularly attractive. The focus of the Project is the development of joint fundamental research with great applied potential of the technology being developed. Thus, we come to the world level of scientific development strategically planning its implementation not only in Kazakhstan, but also at  the EU level by increasing the presence and visibility of Kazakhstan scientists at international level. The implementation of the Project will also provide an opportunity for young researchers from the Republic of Kazakhstan to undergo research trainings in the UK, and have consultations with  world-renowned scientists on their PhD projects. Therefore, the implementation of the Project will make a significant contribution to the implementation of the “Kazakhstan-2050” Strategy and the state program of industrial-innovative development of Kazakhstan for 2015-2019 in the field of education and science, ensuring the acquisition of international experience in the preparation of highly qualified and integrated into the world labor market of the engineering staff; acquaintance, exchange views and experiences with the developers of innovative technologies; presentation and search for potential partners to implement own achievements in the educational and research activities.

Through this joint research funding application between Newcastle University and the University, (if successful), participating Kazakhstan researchers will:

  • Gain access to state-of-the-art research, analytical and computational resources;
  • Be able to consult and network with a wide range of academics across many relevant disciplines with potential for future research collaboration(s);
  • Access other stake-holders in complementary business areas;
  • Utilise Newcastle University’s market research, and technology transfer services;
  • Have a fast-track to consortia building and grant applications;
  • Develop a range of products including technologies in modelling and management of sub-surface processes and products, methodologies for measurement, monitoring and verification of subsurface processes;
  • Strengthen research collaboration and partnership with international reputable university;
  • Library of information about UK coal (characteristics, quality & quantity) and the potential use of syngas for full scale commercial operation of UCG-CCS in the NE England-(preliminary findings from the “Project Ramsay”) funded by the One North East- this information is worth- £100K;
  • Access to the latest state-of-the-art modelling and simulation softwares for the risk assessment of the potential environmental impact of UCG with CCS (output from a PhD research work). This information is worth- £75K;
  • Access to modern and brand new “Thermal Laboratory” equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities for syngas analysis, CO2 emissions monitoring and profiling. This is access to facility suitable for this project worth-£100K.
  • The funding (if successful) will make the Republic of Kazakhstan a world leader in the clean coal research;
  • It will take forward the Kazakhstan President’s initiative on clean energy;
  • It will strengthen the Kazakhstan interactions with UK academics and researchers.

The importance of developing clean coal technologies to accelerate and promote business exploitation of these technologies and its potential contributions to the local, regional, national and international economy cannot be underestimated. Kazakhstan will need to quickly develop these opportunities in order to remain competitive with this sector and to militate against climate change phenomenon.

The insight gained through this research work will broaden and widen our knowledge and expertise in the field and lead to improved understanding of clean coal technologies such as UCG and generate experimental data leading to new process insight and commercial scale operations.

Potential beneficiaries: mining companies of Kazakhstan, relevant Kazakhstan ministries, the United Kingdom, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) etc.

Acknowledgment

This research is funded for 2015-2017 by the Scientific Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the project “Underground Coal Gasification (UCG): An Innovative Technology for Emissions Reduction and Environmental Management”.