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Methane converted to low emission energy

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A new project is underway at a major mine site in China to capture and use waste methane gas from coal mines.

The three-year joint project will develop and demonstrate an innovative new Australian technology that captures harmful methane gas from coal mine ventilation air and uses it to produce low emission energy.

The project will demonstrate that ventilation air from coal mines, which is largely untapped to date, can be safely captured to provide a source of electricity.

An additional benefit of using ventilation air methane from coalmines is an increase in mine safety due to the reduced risk of gas explosions.

The project is based on ventilation air methane catalytic combustion gas turbine (VAMCAT) technology.

The project will fabricate a prototype demonstration unit and demonstrate the technology in a laboratory in Australia.

Once tested in the laboratory the operational performance data and experience obtained will be used to design a 1% methane turbine for demonstration at Huainan Mine, China.

This project will develop technology that uses waste coal mine methane currently vented into the atmosphere to create electricity and by doing so will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve mine safety.

Development of this prototype will advance Australia’s and China’s capacity to reduce the potential greenhouse impact of coal through the development and deployment of VAMCAT technology as a practical solution for mitigating and utilising mine methane to generate power.

The project will be implemented by the CSIRO with the Australian Government contributing a grant worth $350 000 to this $1.9 million project.

This article appears in the Mine Ventilation feature of the May 2006 issue of Australian Mining.

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