30,000 cubic cansIt seems there are very few people out there who do not care about the environment. In recent years, it is commonplace to recycle, curb excess water usage, and even buy a house with many eco-friendly features. This concern for the environment, along with the public’s apprehension about increasing fuel prices, has created a trend toward conserving gas as much as possible. However, most people have no choice but to fill up at least once a week, considering they have to get to work somehow, and carpooling is not always an option for everyone. For this reason, people who might not normally even think about energy sources have been interested in an alternative fuel source for some time. Though much of this interest comes from financial worries brought on by recent gas prices, many people are truly concerned about the environment when it comes to our energy sources, which is why underground coal gasification seems so appealing.

The underground coal gasification process is poised to become the next major energy source, but a major component of its success is its reputation with the public. If no one knows about it or its advantages, it could get lost among other ideas that are not nearly as beneficial. One of its best features is the fact that it is more environmentally friendly than both our current method of garnering energy and other ideas that have been tossed around as ways to obtain alternative fuel. The underground coal gasification procedure takes advantage of natural resources already present in the earth, but that’s just the tip of iceberg when it comes to its eco-friendly features.

Coal is a naturally occurring substance, so one would think we would have access to as much we need. However, its position deep within the planet’s surface makes it difficult to get it out using surface gasification. Even if we could access it easily, surface gasification is harmful to the environment, as the process results in the release of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. Obviously the fewer of these gases we introduce to our environment, the better. In fact, it has been suggested that carbon dioxide be reinserted into the gasification cavity once the coal is removed. This would ensure that the harmful gas never sees the light of day. Thus, underground coal gasification not only allows us to reach coal that we could not access previously, but also does not allow its resulting gases to reach our atmosphere, which means it curbs emissions. Instead, they stay safely underground while the gas we see is filtered until it can accurately be called a clean fuel.

The underground coal gasification process also requires the use of less water than typical coal mining does. The minimal water used in the procedure is typically taken from the layer of earth just above where the coal lies, which is also convenient. Instead of using outside sources, underground coal gasification maximizes our natural resources while decreasing the risk of contaminating the water we use. An added bonus is that the coal does not have to be washed, unlike with regular coal mining. No one will have to handle ash or coal above the surface, so very little cleanup will be required after the process is finished. The fewer materials and dangerous gases littering the environment, the better, and the procedure of underground coal gasification can be completed entirely below the surface.

Increasing interest in the environment’s wellbeing has created a need for an alternative fuel source. Few people are happy with the apparent scarcity, costs, and harm to the ecosystem of our current energy source, and nearly everyone agrees it is time for a change. The spreading of information about underground coal gasification can only help the process replace what we have now. A procedure that will decrease dangerous emissions, environmental cleanup, and wasted water while reducing fuel costs should appeal to everyone. The best way for this idea to come to fruition is to spread the word about its benefits, environmental and otherwise.

Author Box Jim Baysack has 1 articles online
Jim Baysack writes about clean coal technologies. Underground coal gasification is a great renewable energy source.

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