A study of underground coal gasification (UCG) wastewater and sludge

Fergusson, L. (2015) A study of underground coal gasification (UCG) wastewater and sludge. International Journal of Environmental Research, 9 (3). pp. 777-784. ISSN 1735-6865


Underground coal gasification (UCG) is a non-conventional method of extracting gas from coal.
The primary advantage of UCG is that it recovers gas from uneconomical or unminable coal, potentially
increasing the value of the world’s coal reserves by an estimated 70%; for this reason, UCGhas been implemented
at sites around the world. However, the gaseous, liquid and solid waste streams which accompany UCG are
the source of known mutagens and carcinogens, and potential contamination of groundwater has been identified.
In the absence of any meaningful data on UCG waste, this study sought to identify the main organic and
inorganic chemical and odoriferous properties of UCG wastewater and sludge from a site in Australia, and
examined the roles of oxidization, biostimulation and metal sequestration in the treatment of wastewater and
sludge generated by the gasification process. Findings suggest that UCG wastewater and sludge emanate a
highly objectionable odour and contain significant concentrations of benzene, toluene, a range of petroleum
hydrocarbons, and phenols, but relatively low levels of heavy metals and no polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,
pesticides or polychlorinated biphenyls. Both oxidation and biostimulation destroyed organic contaminant
species by >95%, and sequestration reduced inorganic contaminant species by >94%. As this represents one
of the first reliable studies to investigate UCG odour, wastewater and sludge, further research is required to
better understand and document the environmental and human health effects, if any, of short-term and chronic
exposure to these types of wastes.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2018 23:46
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2018 04:34
Uncontrolled Keywords: underground coal gasification, UCG, wastewater, sludge, odour
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960908 Mining Land and Water Management
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.22059/ijer.2015.964
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/34568

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