Analysis of Available Technologies for Extracting Alternative Underground Energy

Hay, Katherine (2006). Analysis of Available Technologies for Extracting Alternative Underground Energy B.Sc Thesis, School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Hay, Katherine
Thesis Title Analysis of Available Technologies for Extracting Alternative Underground Energy
School, Centre or Institute School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2006
Thesis type B.Sc Thesis
Supervisor Alexander Klimenko
Total pages 35
Language eng
Subjects 091305 Energy Generation, Conversion and Storage Engineering
Formatted abstract

Technologies available to utilise oil shale and tar sands have been investigated and their use was found to be viable in the short term. This is due to high oil prices and tension between major oil producing regions and consumers. For sustainable industries to be established on a large scale, commerciability of environmentally acceptable technologies with high recovery rates needs to be proven. 

Surface mining techniques are an appropriate method for utilising shallow deposits, although cannot be used for deep reserves. Improvements in the retorting stage have the potential to greatly increase viability of operations. In-situ combustion methods have potential for a broader application and are expected to be used increasingly over surface mining when shallow deposits expire. The technology with the best performance was found to be the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage, which has been commercialised and proven at Alberta utilising oil sands. Shell’s In-situ Combustion Process also appears to have a large potential for application, however commercial viability will not be determined until 2010. 

It is expected that having a broad range of technologies available will increase stimulation for innovations and improvements to be made in the area. A major obstacle to overcome widespread oil sands, and particularly oil shale operations, is the current size of the industry and failed projects previously, providing higher risk for investors. An increase in operations will result in enhanced comfort utilising these resources; hence further increase of operations. 

Keyword Surface mining
Oil Shale

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Mon, 12 May 2014, 12:30:01 EST by Mr Lachlan Wong on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service