Predicting methane emissions and developing reduction strategies for a Central Appalachian Basin, USA, longwall mine through analysis and modeling of geology and degasification system performance
Coal mine methane is a safety concern in active mines due to explosion risk and an environmental concern due to the greenhouse gas (GHG) properties of methane emissions to the atmosphere. Depending on the mine design and operation, structural and stratigraphic characteristics of the geology, and the properties of coal beds affected by mining, a significant amount of methane can be released during coal extraction. These emissions may be low and uniform, but they also can be high and abrupt, if not captured by using pre- and post-mining methods of degasification or not controlled by ventilation during mining. Therefore, emissions should be monitored and predicted accurately for underground safety and GHG reduction. Ventilation and degasification systems should be designed accordingly by taking into account the mine geological properties and the degasification system's performance.
This paper presents a comprehensive study to predict emissions and proposes alternatives to reduce emissions in a longwall mine extracting metallurgical coal from the Pocahontas No. 3 coal bed in Virginia (Central Appalachian Basin), USA. The work focused on mining activity in four adjacent panels through analysis and modeling of geology and evaluation of the performance of the methane control system. Results showed that the mine geology contained a significant amount of gas within and around the panel areas, which was controlled by utilizing different degasification methods besides ventilation during mining. The study showed that after pre-mining degasification using fractured vertical wells and in-seam horizontal wells, each panel potentially contained ∼19 MMscf and ∼ 2 MMscf of gas remaining to be handled by the gob gas ventholes (GGVs) and the ventilation, respectively, per acre of mining. It was shown that extending the pre-mining degasification duration of vertical wells by as much as 4 years or drilling more horizontal wells with closer spacing could significantly reduce ventilation and gob emissions during the mining of coal.
|Predicting methane emissions and developing reduction strategies for a Central Appalachian Basin, USA, longwall mine through analysis and modeling of geology and degasification system performance
|C. Özgen Karacan
|International Journal of Coal Geology
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Geology, Energy & Minerals Science Center