The Coalbed Methane Outreach Program (CMOP) strives to reduce methane emissions from coal mining activities. Coal mine methane (CMM) is a potent GHG and can be an explosive hazard inside mines. But if CMM is recovered safely and used for energy, it is a valuable, clean-burning fuel source. CMOP collaborates with coal companies and related industries to lower emissions through the development of environmentally beneficial, cost-effective CMM recovery and utilization projects.
The program primarily focuses on mitigating U.S. emissions from underground coal mines, both from degasification systems and from mine ventilation systems, as well as from abandoned (closed) underground mines and active surface mines. CMOP provides high-quality, mine-specific information and technical assistance to the coal mining industry and project developers, including identifying project sites, analyzing and demonstrating technologies, conducting mine-specific project pre-feasibility assessments and market evaluations, and analyzing financial incentives and regulatory hurdles.
Achievements in 2012
- There are 26 operating coal mine methane projects in the U.S.: 14 using drained gas from active underground mines, 2 mitigating dilute ventilation air methane (VAM) at active underground mines, and 10 using abandoned mine methane gas.
- CMOP reduced CMM emissions by 8.4 MMTCO2e in 2012 (see Figure), and since the program began in 1994, cumulative reductions are 140.2 MMTCO2e. (Emission reductions are draft, pending the final 2012 CMM Inventory Numbers.)
- Developed new technical reports and outreach materials for coal companies, project developers, and industry stakeholders.
- Continued to proactively engage U.S. coal mines and industry representatives to stimulate further domestic CMM project development.