South African Innovation
Gasification is not new to South Africa as Sasol has been gasifying Free State coal since the sixties. Sasol broke new ground by developing a world first Coal Gasification to Liquids facility in Secunda. This facility is today the largest of its kind anywhere in the world and used as a benchmark for any future Coal to Liquid plants. Sasol remains a world-leader in the technology and the skills and know-how that has been developed due to its implementation makes South Africa a world leader in the technology and innovation within the field.
More recently both Sasol and Eskom has embarked on UCG projects to enhance their production efficiency and lower cost with Eskom in production of UCG gas since January 2007 at Majuba. Eskom has since grown the production and plan to build a 2,100MWe power station at Majuba by 2020. (http://www.eskom.co.za/c/14/underground-coal-gasification/ )
Video courtesy of Eskom.
Although the UCG industry has been around for more than 80 years, it was historically a less attractive alternative to conventional coal boilers, oil and natural gas and as such its development and commercialisation was severely hampered by the varying oil and gas prices. However with the development in directional drilling, UCG is now a cost-effective and viable alternative to oil and natural gas.
Now Africary is taking South Africa to the leading edge through the commercialization of UCG and ensuring the rainbow nation remains the world leader in this technology for decades to come.