As coal formed over the centuries, significant amounts of methane-rich gas were also generated. In the past, the presence of this Coal Bed Methane (CBM) was considered a nuisance because it created a variety of hazards in mining operations. As a result, it was simply vented to the atmosphere. Such venting is now considered environmentally irresponsible, not only because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas, but also because billions of cubic feet of usable methane have been wasted over the years.
While great strides have been made in the technology and methodology for extracting this significant resource from both virgin coal deposits and active mines, the potential for methane recovery from abandoned coal mines remains largely untapped. There are literally hundreds of thousands of acres of abandoned room-and-pillar mines. When these mines were sealed and abandoned, roughly 50% of the coal deposits remained intact. The rooms in the sealed mines serve as traps for the gases released as the unmined coal desorbs over time.
The economic viability of recovering this coal mine methane (CMM) is dependent on a number of variables-the type of coal in the deposit, the size of the deposit, the rate at which the coal desorbs, and the number of wells that must be drilled, to name a few. Since CMM may often contain anywhere from 10% to 20% nitrogen, the need for additional processing to bring the gas into conformance with pipeline quality standards must also be considered. If you hold developed or undeveloped coal mine acreage, Tucker Gas Processing Equipment, Inc. will work with you to examine your processing needs, to design and build equipment to meet your processing requirements, and if desired, to handle the actual processing for you.