HC Deb 19 March 1956 vol 550 cc814-5
22. Mr. Albu

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the present state of experiments in the underground gasification of coal; and whether these experiments have yet reached the stage of pilot plant development.

The Minister of Fuel and Power (Mr. Aubrey Jones)

A demonstration at a site in Worcestershire, concluding the first six years of experimental work in underground gasification, was successfully completed at the end of last year. A technical report covering all the work done by my Department and the National Coal Board between 1949 and November last will be published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office within the next few days. This work has not so far included construction of pilot-scale plant, and I am now discussing the next stage of development with the National Coal Board and the Central Electricity Authority.

Mr. Albu

In view of the fact that the last reports that were published showed that these experiments were not very successful from the economic point of view, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the more recent experiments have shown that it is possible to conduct this sort of work economically and whether he is discussing the matter with the National Coal Board on that basis?

Mr. Jones

I would have said that the recent experiments hold out the prospect of the economical exploitation of underground gasification, but full calculations must await the establishment of a pilot-scale plant.

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