Cook Inlet Region Inc., the Alaska Native regional corporation for the Cook Inlet region, is proposing the construction of an underground coal gasification plant on CIRI land on the west side of Cook Inlet, CIRI executives told a joint meeting of the House Resources, Senate Resources and Senate Energy Committees this morning. The first phase of the project, which CIRI hopes to complete in 2014, would bring into operation a syngas-fueled, combined-cycle, 100-megawatt power plant, feeding electricity into the Alaska Railbelt power grid at Beluga.
A process involving the pumping of compressed air into a coal seam deep underground would enable the controlled underground combustion of some coal to generate the syngas from the bulk of the coal, for delivery through production wells to the power plant. Carbon dioxide produced along with the syngas would be extracted for use in enhanced oil recovery in Cook Inlet oil fields. No coal mining would be involved, waste products such as slag would be left underground and the gasification process would take place a long way below any freshwater aquifers, CIRI says.
CIRI says that it anticipates being able to produce syngas for power generation at costs that would be competitive with locally produced natural gas.
Later phases of the project might involve the addition of facilities for upgrading syngas into synthetic natural gas for delivery into the local gas pipeline network. It may also prove possible to eventually use the syngas as a feedstock for the production of liquid fuels.
See story in Oct. 18 issue, available online at noon Alaska time, Friday Oct. 16, at www.PetroleumNews.com