Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Coal Mine Methane
Coal mine methane (CMM) is a relatively large and undeveloped resource, but its utilisation is garnering increasing attention as a method for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
China, Russia, Poland and the United States account for over 77% of coal mine methane emissions. Emissions are projected to grow 20% from 2000 to 2020, with China increasing its share of worldwide emissions from 40% to 45%. By 2020, it is estimated that methane emissions from coal mining activities will be 449 mt CO2e
Currently only a fraction of the CMM resource is recovered in a suitable form to be used for heat or power production. Worldwide, there are several power generation projects operating at coal mines. Power production from CMM has been developing for more than a decade in countries such as Australia, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA. In the past two years there have been rapid developments in CMM utilisation for power production in a number of markets, most notably China, but also in Poland and Ukraine. According to 2005 data, there are roughly fifty projects operating worldwide at abandoned and active coal mines, ranging in size from 150 kWe to 94 MWe and totalling more than 300 MWe.
An important driver for CMM in developing countries is the Clean Development Mechanism - there are currently five registered CMM projects and likely to be many more.