General Article Could burning coal under the sea provide 200 years of ‘clean’ energy?

Topic Selected: Energy
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By Mat Hope

The Government claims it’s on a mission to clean up the UK’s energy system. You could be forgiven for thinking that means an end to coal power – the most polluting energy source of all. But, thanks to new technology, the Government hopes there’s a new, ‘clean’ way to keep using coal.

Writing in The Telegraph this weekend, Algy Cluff, chief executive of energy company Cluff Natural Resources, says ‘underground coal gasification’ could ‘provide a vital energy solution and produce abundant and cheap gas for generations’. The prospect has piqued the Government’s interest, and energy minister Michael Fallon has established a working group to explore its feasibility.

But is it too good to be true?

What is underground coal gasification?

Underground coal gasification (UCG) involves drilling down into coal – normally deep underground – then igniting it. The resulting gas then runs up another borehole and is collected on the surface.

Once the gas is collected, companies can use it...

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