Reasons for the utilization of CMM
- Reduction of CO2-emissions
Methane is the main greenhouse gas associated with coal production and utilisation. Its GHP (greenhouse potential) is 21 times higher than that of CO2. The gas mixture known as coal mine methane (CMM) has a fluctuating composition, depending of the gas content of the particular coal seam, of the recovery method and the progress of mining works in the underground. Most of the gas is released during mining process and is emitted with the ventilation air or by degassing systems. The advantages of using methane as a fuel are not only the diversification of energy resources and the saving of fossil fuel resources. Utilisation of methane by combustion is also a very potent tool of environmental protection, because of the high greenhouse potential of methane compared against carbon dioxide.
methane oxidation: CH4 + 2O2 = 2H2O+ CO2
produced GHP: burning 1 t CH4 => 2.75 t CO2
avoided GHP per 1 t CH4 => 21 t CO2eq
net effect of burning 1 t CH4 => reduction 18.25 t CO2eq
- Safety issues
CMM is the greatest hazard in coal mining. Many miners have died of the consequences of methane gas explosions. So degassing is a very important part of work in gassy mines. If the captured methane is also an energy resource, additional incentives are given to extract the methane as good as possible.
- Unconventional Fuel
According to the current opinion, CMM is a suitable fuel for heat and power production, such as car fuel or feedstock for chemical production. But the existing barriers make the investment in CMM utilisation projects very risky and are strong limiting factors for the development of such projects.
The guiding idea of the project is to develop methods for economically interesting schemes for potential investors and operators wishing to use coal mine methane. The existing barriers, procedures and requirements should be found and described, and last but not least: new technologies and flexible project solutions for the use of CMM should be applied and optimised.