The South African Electricity Market

UCG product gas (syngas) can be used to produce numerous end-use products, such as liquid fuels (petrol, methanol and diesel), electricity, and chemical feedstock. The competitiveness of these products may vary wildly over time and compete with the costs of substitute products. However the current electricity dynamics of the South African supply situation has seen this market open to competition, with the DoE proclaiming 3,126 MW of gas-fired IPP projects to be introduced into the South African electricity system. The current Eskom constraint situation allowed for much higher demand than supply and some spectacular increases in wholesale electricity prices of more than 350% in 8 years. Africary aims to participate in this programme by providing 50 out of the possible 2500 MW.

Underground coal gasification allows access to coal resources that are not economically recoverable by conventional mining technologies, UCG product gas is used in Gas Engines or to fire Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power plants, with some studies suggesting power island efficiencies of up to 58%. CCGT power plants using UCG fuel gas can achieve higher outputs than pulverized-coal-fired power stations, resulting in a large decrease in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per MWh.