Houston, Texas-based Laurus Energy says it has the technology to cheaply convert North America’s biggest asset into energy.
Three-year-old Laurus came out of stealth mode this week, announcing it raised $8.5 million from Mohr Davidow Ventures in April to build a business around underground coal gasification (UCG) technology licensed from Ergo Exergy Technologies.
Laurus Energy’s exclusive rights for the North American market give it access to technology already in use in South Africa, India and Australia—technology unlike any other being used to produce a natural gas equivalent, said Erik Straser, general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures and a board member at Laurus.
The process is cheaper and cleaner than current coal gasification techniques, with the added benefit of beng a proven technology, he said.
Montréal, Canada.-based Ergo’s proprietary process addresses how to site, start, manage and complete projects. The UCG process injects air into underground seams before igniting it, which burns the coal and produces syngas. Using existing technology, carbon dioxide can then be sequestered from the gas, leaving hydrogen, methane and hydrocarbons that burn cleanly in power plants, Straser said.
The UCG process leaves many of the contaminants from typical mining operations underground, preventing their release in the atmosphere. …