Coal Geology & Exploration


Underground coal gasification (UCG) is driven by China's development strategy for a clean and efficient coal energy structure. Its industrialization prospect depends on the economic and social benefits of UCG projects. Against this background, this study reviews the research advances on the economic evaluation of UCG projects at home and abroad and summarizes the current insights into the economic competitiveness of UCG projects. Through case analysis, it presents a basic model for the economic evaluation of the UCG-combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) - carbon capture and storage (UCG-CCGT-CCS) system and the main understanding of the model. Furthermore, this study discusses the insights into the directions for deepening research on the economic evaluation of UCG projects. The results of this study are as follows: (1) There exist differences in the understanding of UCG economics at home and abroad. Generally, researchers are optimistic about the commercial competitiveness of shallow UCG projects but have divergent views on the economics of deep UCG projects. (2) The combination of the basic financial analysis methods with techno-economic parameters and adaptive mathematical tools forms a techno-economic evaluation model of UCG projects. Moreover, the techno-economic studies on UCG at home and abroad show unique characteristics. (3) The economics of UCG projects depends largely on the utilization way of syngas and the method and cost of CO2 treatment. The total cost of power generation from syngas is influenced the most by factors such as the ratio of coal seam thickness to UCG cavity width (TWR), syngas composition, power generation efficiency, and CO2 treatment. The following conclusions can be drawn through analysis: (1) To deepen the economic evaluation of China's UCG projects, there is an urgent need to strengthen targeted research on techno-economic parameters, and an objective approach to breaking the current dilemma of understanding differences is to systematically analyze the economics of existing UCG field test cases. (2) In-depth research on the UCG - carbon cycling utilization (CCU) process and its engineering behavior may provide a basis for R&D (research and development) of low-cost CO2 treatment technologies. (3) The fundamental way to improve UCG efficiency is to innovatively develop UCG technologies and transform constraints into benefit-oriented ones.


underground coal gasification (UCG), project, economic evaluation, current status, development direction




[1] 滕吉文,王玉辰,司芗,等. 煤炭、煤层气多元转型是中国化石能源勘探开发与供需之本[J]. 科学技术与工程,2021,21(22):9169−9193.

TENG Jiwen,WANG Yuchen,SI Xiang,et al. Diversified transformation of coal and coalbed methane:China’s fossil energy exploration,development,supply and demand[J]. Science Technology and Engineering,2021,21(22):9169−9193.

[2] 秦勇,王作棠,韩磊. 煤炭地下气化中的地质问题[J]. 煤炭学报,2019,44(8):2516−2530.

QIN Yong,WANG Zuotang,HAN Lei. Geological problems in underground coal gasification[J]. Journal of China Coal Society,2019,44(8):2516−2530.

[3] PERKINS G. Underground coal gasification Part I:Field demonstrations and process performance[J]. Progress in Energy and Combustion Science,2018,67:158−187.

[4] BLINDERMAN M S,BLINDERMAN A,TASKAEV A. What makes a UCG technology ready for commercial application?[M]//Underground Coal Gasification and Combustion,BLINDERMAN M S,KLIMENKO A Y (editors). Amsterdam:Elsevier Ltd,2018:403–434.

[5] 余力. 煤炭地下气化半工业性试验经济技术分析与社会效益[J]. 江西能源,1995(3):6−7.

YU Li. Economic and technical analysis and social benefits of semi–industrial experiments on underground coal gasification[J]. Jiangxi Energy,1995(3):6−7.

[6] 徐建培,司千字,张兆响,等. 煤炭地下气化技术经济评价体系研究[J]. 煤炭经济研究,1999(9):57−59.

XU Jianpei,SI Qianzi,ZHANG Zhaoxiang,et al. Research on the economic evaluation system of underground coal gasification technology[J]. Coal Economic Research,1999(9):57−59.

[7] BLINDERMAN M S,KLIMENKO A Y. Underground coal gasification and combustion (1st Edition)[M]. London:Woodhead Publishing,2017.

[8] 蓝焰高科. 天然气、煤炭、石油燃烧的碳排放对比[EB/OL]. (2022-07-25) [2023-01-16]. https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1739285612670580386&wfr=spider&for=pc.

[9] FRIEDMANN S J,UPADHYE R,KONG F M. Prospects for underground coal gasification in carbon–constrained world[J]. Energy Procedia,2009,1(1):4551−4557.

[10] KHADSE A N. Resources and economic analyses of underground coal gasification in India[J]. Fuel,2015,142:121−128.

[11] PEI Peng,KOROM S F,LING Kegang,et al. Cost comparison of syngas production from natural gas conversion and underground coal gasification[J]. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change,2016,21(4):629−643.

[12] OLATEJU B,KUMAR A. Techno–economic assessment of hydrogen production from underground coal gasification (UCG) in western Canada with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) for upgrading bitumen from oil sands[J]. Applied Energy,2013,111:428−440.

[13] 陈峰,潘霞,庞旭林. 新奥无井式煤炭地下气化试验进展及产业化规划[J]. 煤炭科学技术,2013,41(5):19−22.

CHEN Feng,PAN Xia,PANG Xulin. Progress and industrialization plan of ENN’s no mine shaft type underground coal gasification[J]. Coal Science and Technology,2013,41(5):19−22.

[14] NAKATEN N,SCHLUTER R,AZZAM R,et al. Development of a techno–economic model for dynamic calculation of cost of electricity,energy demand and CO2 emissions of an integrated UCG–CCS process[J]. Energy,2014,66:779−790.

[15] NAKATEN N,KEMPKA T. Techno–economic comparison of onshore and offshore underground coal gasification end–product competitiveness[J]. Energies,2019,12(17):3252.

[16] LIU Huan,GUO Wei,LIU Shuqin. Comparative techno−economic performance analysis of underground coal gasification and surface coal gasification based coal–to–hydrogen process[J]. Energy,2022,258:125001.

[17] NAKATEN N,AZZAM R,KEMPKA T. Sensitivity analysis on UCG−CCS economics[J]. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control,2014,26:51−60.

[18] 邹才能,陈艳鹏,孔令峰,等. 煤炭地下气化及对中国天然气发展的战略意义[J]. 石油勘探与开发,2019,46(2):195−204.

ZOU Caineng,CHEN Yanpeng,KONG Lingfeng,et al. Underground coal gasification and its strategic significance to the development of natural gas industry in China[J]. Petroleum Exploration and Development,2019,46(2):195−204.

[19] LIU Hao,TOSHINORI K. Theoretical study of coal gasification in a 50 ton/day HYCOL entrained flow gasifier. I. effects of coal properties and implications[J]. Energy & Fuels,2004,18(4):908−912.

[20] SHENG Yong,ALEKSEY B,DONKA B,et al. Interdisciplinary studies on the technical and economic feasibility of deep underground coal gasification with CO2 storage in Bulgaria[J]. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change,2016,21(4):595−627.

[21] VERMA A,OLATEJU B,KUMAR A. Greenhouse gas abatement costs of hydrogen production from underground coal gasification[J]. Energy,2015,85:556−568.

[22] 何盛明,刘西乾,沈云任. 财经大辞典(第一卷)[M]. 北京:中国财政经济出版社,1990.

[23] SAPTIKOV I M. History of UCG development in the USSR[M]//Underground Coal Gasification and Combustion,MICHAEL S B,ALEXANDER Y K (editors). Amsterdam:Elsevier Ltd,2018:25–58.

[24] SOHEI S,KOTARO O,AKIRA T,et al. Cost estimation of underground coal gasification in Japan[J]. Mineral Resources Engineering,1996,5(3):241−252.

[25] PEI Peng,BARSE K,NASAH J. Competitiveness and cost sensitivity study of underground coal gasification combined cycle using lignite[J]. Energy & Fuels,2016,30(3):2111−2118.

[26] 潘霞,李金刚,赵娟,等. 煤炭地下气化制液化天然气技术经济性分析[J]. 洁净煤技术,2017,23(1):42−47.

PAN Xia,LI Jingang,ZHAO Juan,et al. Technical and economic analysis of underground coal gasification combined synthetic liquefied natural gas[J]. Clean Coal Technology,2017,23(1):42−47.

[27] DAMJAN K,ZDRAVKO P,JURIJ A,et al. Underground coal gasification:The Velenje coal mine energy and economic calculations[J]. Chemical Industry & Chemical Engineering Quarterly,2017,23(2):269−277.

[28] 秦勇,袁亮,程远平,等. 中国煤层气地面井中长期生产规模的情景预测[J]. 石油学报,2013,34(3):489−495.

QIN Yong,YUAN Liang,CHENG Yuanping,et al. Scenario predication for the mid−term and long−term coalbed methane production scale of surface drilling wells in China[J]. Acta Petrolei Sinica,2013,34(3):489−495.

[29] 赵焕臣,许树柏,和金生. 层次分析法:一种简易的新决策方法[M]. 北京:科学出版社,1986.

[30] 翟培合,王敏,王磊. 煤炭地下气化可行性评价分析[J]. 煤炭经济研究,2013,33(10):55−58.

ZHAI Peihe,WANG Min,WANG Lei. Feasibility evaluation of coal underground gasification[J]. Coal Economic Research,2013,33(10):55−58.

[31] 李光双. 煤炭地下气化项目综合效益评价研究[D]. 青岛:山东科技大学,2012.

LI Guangshuang. Research on comprehensive benefit evaluation of coal underground gasification project[D]. Qingdao:Shandong University of Science and Technology,2012.

[32] 黄温钢. 残留煤地下气化综合评价与稳定生产技术研究[D]. 徐州:中国矿业大学,2014.

HUANG Wengang. Study on comprehensive evaluation and stable production technology for underground gasification of residual coal[D]. Xuzhou:China University of Mining and Technology,2014.

[33] 黄温钢,王作棠. 煤炭地下气化变权–模糊层次综合评价模型[J]. 西安科技大学学报,2017,37(4):500−507.

HUANG Wengang,WANG Zuotang. Comprehensive evaluation model of fuzzy analytic hierarchy process with variable weight for underground coal gasification[J]. Journal of Xi’an University of Science and Technology,2017,37(4):500−507.

[34] 弥旭锋. 煤炭地下气化发电项目技术经济评价方法构建[J]. 陕西煤炭,2020(5):7−13.

MI Xufeng. Construction of technical and economic evaluation method for underground coal gasification power generation project[J]. Shaanxi Coal,2020(5):7−13.

[35] PROBSTEIN R F,HICKS R E. Synthetic fuels[M]. Mineola:Dover Publications,2006.

[36] MAEV S,BLINDERMAN M S,GRUBER G P. Underground coal gasification (UCG) to products:Designs,efficiencies,and economics[M]//Underground Coal Gasification and Combustion,BLINDERMAN M S,KLIMENKO A Y (editors). Amsterdam:Elsevier Ltd,2018:435–468.

[37] CAMP D W. Underground coal gasification research and development in the United States[M]//Underground Coal Gasification and Combustion,MICHAEL S B,KLIMENKO A Y (editors). London:Woodhead Publishing,2018.

[38] 朱铭,徐道一,孙文鹏,等. 国外煤炭地下气化技术发展历史与现状[J]. 煤炭科学技术,2013,41(5):4−9.

ZHU Ming,XU Daoyi,SUN Wenpeng,et al. History and present status of underground coal gasification technology in overseas countries[J]. Coal Science and Technology,2013,41(5):4−9.

[39] 葛世荣. 深部煤炭化学开采技术[J]. 中国矿业大学学报,2017,46(4):679−691.

GE Shirong. Chemical mining technology for deep coal resources[J]. Journal of China University of Mining & Technology,2017,46(4):679−691.

[40] IMRAN M,KUMAR D,KUMAR N,et al. Environmental concerns of underground coal gasification[J]. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews,2014,31:600−610.

[41] 王君. 基于低碳经济的煤炭地下气化技术[J]. 煤矿安全,2012,43(5):47−49.

WANG Jun. Underground coal gasification technology based on low−carbon economy[J]. Safety in Coal Mines,2012,43(5):47−49.

[42] DUAN Tianhong,LU Caiping,XIONG Sheng,et al. Evaluation method of the energy conversion efficiency of coal gasification and related applications[J]. International Journal of Energy Research,2016,40(2):168−180.

[43] 雷仲敏,葛维琦. 煤炭地下气化开采的若干技术经济政策研究[J]. 煤炭经济研究,2002(10):9−13.

LEI Zhongmin,GE Weiqi. Research on several technical and economic policies for underground coal gasification mining[J]. Coal Economic Research,2002(10):9−13.

[44] 王立杰,宋明智. 巴基斯坦塔尔煤田开发的经济性分析[J]. 煤炭经济研究,2012,4(4):43−46.

WANG Lijie,SONG Mingzhi. Economy analysis on development of Tar Coalfield in Pakistan[J]. Coal Economic Research,2012,4(4):43−46.

[45] 谢明干,朱铭,韩孟,等. 资源节约、低碳减排、方式转型与技术运用:煤地下气化发展的新趋势及战略思考[C]//第六届环境与发展中国(国际)论坛论文集. 北京,2010:243–252.

[46] 黄温钢,王作棠,辛林. 从低碳经济看我国煤炭地下气化的前景[J]. 矿业研究与开发,2012,32(2):32−36.

HUANG Wengang,WANG Zuotang,XIN Lin. On the prospect of underground coal gasification in China from low–carbon economy[J]. Mining Research and Development,2012,32(2):32−36.

[47] DOUCET D,PERKINS G,ULBRICH A,et al. Production of power using underground coal gasification[J]. Energy Sources,Part A:Recovery,Utilization,and Environmental Effects,2016,38(24):3653−3660.

[48] 陈亚州. 煤炭地下气化开采发电环境效益研究[D]. 徐州:中国矿业大学,2017.

CHEN Yazhou. Environmental benefit study of underground coal gasification and generate electricity[D]. Xuzhou:China University of Mining and Technology,2017.

[49] 贺盛. 煤炭地下气化技术发展问题及建议[J]. 绿色科技,2020(16):185−187.

HE Sheng. Analysis on the development of underground coal gasification[J]. Journal of Green Science and Technology,2020(16):185−187.

[50] BP Company. BP statistical review of world energy 2022[EB/OL]. [2022-08-24]. https://www.bp.com.cn/ zh_cn/china/home/news/reports.html.

[51] BAILEY A C,BARTLETT F,BOSWINKEL H H,et al. The future development of underground coal gasification in Europe,A comprehensive report to CEC[R]. Brussels:European Working Group on UCG,1989. https://xs.studiodahu.com/scholar?cluster=10920033197427104232&hl=zh–CN&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5.

[52] CREEDY D P,GARNER K,HOLLOWAY S,et al. Review of underground coal gasification technological advancements (Report No.Coal R211 DTI/Pub URN 01/1041)[R]. Wardell Armstrong:British Geological Survey,2001.

[53] 孔令峰,张军贤,李华启,等. 我国中深层煤炭地下气化商业化路径[J]. 天然气工业,2020,40(4):156−165.

KONG Lingfeng,ZHANG Junxian,LI Huaqi,et al. Commercialization path of medium−deep underground coal gasification in China[J]. Natural Gas Industry,2020,40(4):156−165.

[54] 韩军,方惠军,喻岳钰,等. 煤炭地下气化产业与技术发展的主要问题及对策[J]. 石油科技论坛,2020,39(3):50−59.

HAN Jun,FANG Huijun,YU Yueyu,et al. Main problems and countermeasures of underground coal gasification industrial and technological development[J]. Petroleum Science and Technology Forum,2020,39(3):50−59.

[55] RAMEZAN M,SKONE T,NSAKALAY,et al. Carbon dioxide capture from existing coal–fired power plants[R]. Pittsburgh:National Energy Technology Laboratory (USA),2007. https://www.osti.gov/biblio/20923766.

[56] SARHOSIS V,YANG Dongmin,SHENG Yong,et al. Coupled hydro–thermal analysis of underground coal gasification reactor cool down for subsequent CO2 storage[J]. Energy Procedia,2013,40:428−436.

[57] STANCZYK K,SMOLINSKI A,KAPUSTA K,et al. Dynamic experimental simulation of hydrogen oriented underground gasification of lignite[J]. Fuel,2010,89(11):3307−3314.

[58] BURTON E,FRIEDMANN J,UPADHYE R. Best practices in underground coal gasification[R]. Livermore:Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,2006. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1580018.

[59] BEATH A. Underground coal gasification resource utilization efficiency[R]. Canberra:CSIRO Exploration & Mining,2006. https://fossil.energy.gov/international/Publications/ucg 1106 csiro.pdf.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.