Fossil Fuels: New Technologies

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  • New Technologies: Fossil Fuels
    • Coal
      • Coal Gasification
        • underground coal combusted under controlled conditions
        • produces gaseous fuel like H2 CO2 CH4
      • Coal Liquefaction
        • direct conversion into liquid: use solvents
        • indirect conversion into liquid: coal gasification then chemical changes
        • more useful than solid coal - can be applied to vehicle fuels etc.
    • Gas
      • Enhanced Gas Recovery
        • inject CO2 or nitrogen to maintain gas flow
      • Note: recovery rates are already high - 80-90%
      • Methane Hydrate
        • crystalline solid found in cold regions or under high pressure
        • could yield more methane than conventional gas sources
        • Extraction methods
          • water heating - melt methane hydrate crystals to release gas
          • de-pressurisation - drill into sediments to make gas dissociate from crystals
          • CO2 injection - this gas displaces the methane and could be potential for a CCS scheme
    • Oil
      • Oil Recovery Techniques
        • Secondary
          • pumping water or nat. gas to increase pressure to force oil up
            • 40% recovered
        • Primary
          • natural pressure of water forces oil up the well
          • 20% recovered
            • natural pressure of water forces oil up the well
        • Tertiary/ Enhanced
          • techniques reduce viscosity of oil (increase flow)
            • methods include: bacterial digestion, solvents, steam, controlled combustion
              • 60% recovered
      • Directional Drilling
        • drilling does not have to be linear
          • many wells from one platform; drill under more areas; follow weaker rock
      • Subsea Production Wells
        • no platform on the sea surface, operate up to 2000m deep
      • ROVs and AUVs
        • carry out automated seabed surveys
          • inspect underwater production and pipelines - reduce oil leaks
      • Fracking
        • high pressure opens fissures to release tight oil and gas
          • increase recovery rate by using solvents and water
            • problems include: contaminate aquifers, chemical pollution, earthquakes, water requirement
      • Tar Sands & Oil Shales
        • unconventional oil is produced - quarry using large excavators or use steam or solvent injection


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