Leveraging Coal Mine Methane/Ventilation Air Methane for Improving Ventilation Standards in Indian Underground Coal Mines and to Reduce Its Carbon Footprints
In underground coal mines, regular make of gas i.e. methane build-up is no surprise particularly in workings of Degree II/III coal seams. Historically, we have had some sordid past and rightly so have reasons to perceive it as a potential threat of mine explosions. Indian Coal Mines Regulations provisions on concerns of dilution of mine air with fresh air sucked from surface atmosphere and eventually venting it (primarily methane and other greenhouse gases) back to surface in order to ensure mines safety. In India, the practice of ventilation is not the bleeder type where safety is doubly ensured. Rather, at places, it has been found to be a case of inadequate ventilation in goaf and other abandoned areas of underground mines that not only adds to ventilation problems but also render a condition conducive to occurrence of fire and explosions. In this paper an attempt has been made to change the perspective of coal mine operators entirely in contrast to traditional practices. A coal mine is a source of revenue not only by coal but mine water, mine gases and the country rock can as well be thought of as resource commodities. This paradigm shift in approach would convert the conventional mining threats of inflammable gas explosion into a commercial proposition. India has over hundreds of gassy mines of which around twenty (20) coal mines have been categorized as highly gassy (Degree III). A study has been made and estimate done about the loss of business opportunity in terms of unaccounted release of coal mine methane and more importantly Ventilation Air Methane (VAM). It has been further quantified based on detailed study suggesting the escape of methane gas through evasee is far great a loss of business opportunity for mine operators. Two detailed cases on CMM and VAM would be an interesting read for mine operators to continue coal mining with sustainability. This would also help them evolve from mere miners to Earth entrepreneurs.
KeywordsCMM VAM GHG Sustainability Carbon-footprint Additionality
The authors are thankful to the management of IIT (ISM), Dhanbad for allowing publication of this paper o IMVC 2018. The views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the organization.
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