Coal Mine Methane Recovery Becoming More Viable Resource

With energy development on the minds of many, the 2nd Coal Mine Methane Recovery and Use Workshop has the goal of discussing how to take advantage of the coal by-product, but one issue that remains is ownership.

Efforts to capture the gas began in the late 1980s and while many companies in the country have technology to harness the gas rather than let it out into the atmosphere, there is another problem, especially in the Western United States.

Some areas in the western part of the country are remote and there is no immediate access to pipelines.

There's also a theory that the more gas recovered and removed from mines the safer the industry becomes. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, mining deaths have gone from more than 1,500 a year in the early 1900s, to less than 100 by 1999 and methane recovery is just one more step in making the industry safer.

Coal mine methane gas that's captured is mostly used for generating power, but it's also sold to natural gas pipeline systems as well.