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Coal Seam Degasification; Handbook For Methane Control In Mining
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    In This Chapter [Origins of coalbed methane Reservoir properties of coal seams Thresholds for coal seam degasification Methane emissions in mines Methane drainage techniques How to transport gas safely in mine pipelines and Economics of coal seam degasification Recommended publications on coal seam degasification are Gas Control in Underground Coal Mining [Creedy et al. 1997], Coalbed Methane Extraction [Davidson et al. 1995], and Methane Control for Underground Coal Mines [Diamond 1994].] ORIGINS OF COALBED METHANE AND RESERVOIR PROPERTIES OF COAL SEAMS Origins of coalbed methane. Coal seams form over millions of years by the biochemical decay and metamorphic transformation of plant materials. This coalification process produces large quantities of byproduct gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide. The amount of these byproducts increases with the rank of coal. It is the highest for anthracite, where for every ton of coal nearly 1,900 lb of water, 2,420 lb (20,000 ft3) of carbon dioxide, and 1,186 lb (27,000 ft3) of methane are produced [Hargraves 1973]. Most of these gases escape to the atmosphere during the coalification process, but a small fraction is retained in the coal. The amount of gas retained in the coal depends on a number of factors, such as the rank of coal, the depth of burial, the type of rock in the immediate roof and floor, local geologic anomalies, and the tectonic pressures and temperatures prevalent at that time. The gases are contained under pressure and mainly adsorbed on the surface of the coal matrix, but a small fraction of gases is also present in the fracture net-work of the coal. Methane is the major component of gases in coal, comprising 80%-90% or more of the total gas volume. The balance is made up of ethane, propane, butane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, oxygen, and argon.

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