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IEACCC/104

Coalbed Methane Emissions - Capture and Utilisation

AUTHOR: Lesely L Sloss
DATE: November 2005
PAGES: 56

ABSTRACT:
Methane emissions from coal contribute towards increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. However, methane is a source of energy which is cheap, geologically accessible and relatively simple to use. Methane can be used to replace natural gas or as a primary or secondary fuel in both large and small scale combustion systems. And because methane has a higher global warming potential than CO2, the simple destruction of methane by oxidation or even flaring, reduces its contribution to the greenhouse effect significantly. Although there are plentiful resources of coalbed methane in countries such as the USA, China, Russia, India, Africa and even throughout Europe, the only countries with significant coalbed methane projects in progress (excluding virgin coalbed methane projects) are China, Australia, Germany, the USA and the UK.

Despite the potential for using CBM/CMM as an inexpensive and clean source of energy, the investment in new CBM projects has been somewhat limited. This report discusses the potential for CBM/CMM projects, the different methodologies which can be used to produce energy from methane, and identifies the locations where such projects would be best sited. There are many barriers - physical, economic, social and so on - which are hindering the development of new projects in many countries. The report reviews successful projects which have been established around the world, considering why some projects have succeeded where others have failed.