Within the scope of the “Energy Academy Program” in cooperation with the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) and Elektrik Üretim AŞ (EÜAŞ), the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) Laboratories, where the project, which is entitled to be supported to convert the lignites that cannot be mined due to geological difficulties, opened its doors.

ITU Mining Engineering Department lecturer Assoc. Dr. Abdullah Fişne explained that the method of “gasification of coal in place”, which is becoming more and more widespread in the world, is based on the principle of burning the coals, which cannot be produced by conventional mining, while they are underground by drilling drillings above the ground.

Stating that the underground coal resource can only be extracted when geological conditions allow, Fişne said:

“When these conditions do not allow, these resources cannot be used even if desired. On-site gasification technology is a method developed to evaluate such resources. Such fields are also in the majority in Turkey. With this method, it is aimed to turn coal resources, which cannot be exploited with classical mining methods, into economic value. We are launching high technology for the first time in our country, which will enable the production of hydrogen with methane gas, which constitutes 70-90% of natural gas, by gasifying the coal on-site, that is, by burning the coal while it is underground with drillings above the ground in areas where there is no coal mining.”

Gases with higher added value will be obtained

Fişne stated that pilot studies were carried out on the gasification of coal by burning after it was mined, but that they started the gasification technology while underground for the first time with university-industry cooperation.

Stating that they will investigate the potential of using the coals in the Thrace basin, which is under the responsibility of EÜAŞ, in their projects under the management of ITU, Fişne said, “Normally, the calorific value of lignite is low. Gasification of the coal while underground will produce gases with higher added value. The economic value of these gases is also very high.” said.

“Coal is transformed into a clean energy source”

Stating that they are excited to start a new project that will reduce Turkey’s dependence on foreign energy after the Black Sea gas, Fişne said:

“We will obtain natural gas primarily from coal. We aim to obtain gases with calorific value such as methane and hydrogen, as well as ethane, carbon monoxide, and propane in this natural gas. The composition of natural gas consists of 70-90 percent methane gas. Our country is completely domestic in these products. Therefore, if we consider that we obtain them from a source that we cannot bring to the economy, not from abroad, but from a source that we cannot bring to the economy, positive results will emerge. We call all these gases syngas and these gases can be used for many purposes in energy production or in various branches of industry. it is also converted into a clean energy source. In other words, you no longer burn coal in thermal power plants, instead you can obtain electrical energy by burning clean gases with higher calorific value.”

“It will make a great contribution to the economy”

Assoc. Dr. Fişne stated that an average of 80-100 million tons of lignite coal can be produced annually from approximately 20 billion tons of lignite coal reserves in Turkey and said, “When the on-site gasification project is realized from our 20 billion tons of resources, a great contribution will be made to the economy. When our project concludes successfully, we experience the Black Sea gas production. We want to bring a similar joy to our country.” said.

ITU academician Fişne stated that approximately 70 percent of the “hydrogen” need in China is obtained from coal by gasification both underground and above ground, and said that they aim to contribute to the HYSouth Marmara Hydrogen Valley Project with their project.

“We are not too late”

Fişne stated that countries such as Germany, France and England abandoned underground mining and used coal completely with on-site gasification, and that the USA also carried out extensive research on this issue.

“We are not too late either. We need to move forward in this regard as soon as possible. Otherwise, we will be a country that transfers technology from abroad.” Fişne said:

“With our project, we aim to develop domestic and national technology. It is not possible to say that underground mining will be completely finished in the short term, but when our project is successful, a hybrid technology will be in question. Over time, it may have the potential to completely transform into underground gasification. Countries with increasing energy need will make huge investments in this regard. “There is an incredible amount of research on this subject in the world right now. There are many countries that are making trials on a pilot scale. First of all, countries such as India, China, Australia, America and Indonesia are.”

“Many lignite fields have been discovered in Turkey in the last 10 years”

Stating that they will start their projects in the coal beds in the Thrace basin, Fişne said:

“Many lignite fields have been discovered in Turkey in the last 10 years. Most of them are under the responsibility of EÜAŞ. However, unfortunately, the geological conditions are not very suitable for evaluating the coal basins in our country. One of them is the Afyon field. We will start with Thrace, but the Afyon field will also use classical methods. Currently, it seems like a field that will not be possible to produce. Therefore, alternative evaluation methods should be investigated for coal in the Afyon field. Otherwise, this will remain an idle resource. We will start with the Thrace basin and continue with the coal beds in Afyonkarahisar. This technique can be applied to other fields as well. We see a very high probability of realizing the project because approximately 3-4 billion tons of coal reserves that cannot be extracted in the Thrace Basin and 1-1.5 billion tons in Afyonkarahisar were found.”

Fişne said that their project will last for 1 year and at the end of this period, they foresee that EÜAŞ will start trial drilling works in the Thrace Basin.

“Mining and petroleum engineering academics are working together”

ITU Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Department Lecturer Assoc. Dr. Murat Çınar also explained that they started to develop technology for gasification of coal underground about 4 years ago.

Stating that the technology is completely underground, Çınar gave the following information:

“We react the coal with oxygen and cause it to burn partially. As a result of this combustion, the gases we call syngas emerge. These can be used for electricity generation as well as for synthesizing different chemicals. Here, wells similar to oil and natural gas wells are opened by drilling. Through these wells. Injection gas is injected into the coal seam and then partial combustion takes place there.”

Explaining that horizontal and vertical wells will be drilled for reserves that cannot go underground with this technology, Çınar said, “Turkey is in a big attack with Black Sea gas in this area, new discoveries are being made. Turkey is growing in the field of oil and natural gas. Here, we will use drilling technologies similar to those in Black Sea gas. O “For this reason, we are working together with mining and petroleum engineering academics. We are starting a study in which we will use oil and natural gas drilling technology. It will be a technology that will be designed and implemented completely above ground, without seeing underground.” used the phrases.

Explaining that they started to realize this system, which will be realized underground in laboratories, with above-ground experiments, Çınar said, “There will be an injection well underground, a production well. We will produce our gas from another production well and then the gas will be separated according to what is desired to be done above. We want to develop this process and bring it to our country, and bring this technology to the commercial field with the students we train here.” he said.

Çınar stated that a new power plant should be established for this technology and said, “The gas obtained will not be a gas that will go to a standard thermal power plant, a power plant will have to be designed accordingly.” said.

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