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Control Of Methane In Coal Silos; Handbook For Methane Control In Mining
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    In This Chapter [Measuring the gas emission from the coal Methane at the top of the silo Methane at the load-out area and Actions taken after a silo explosion] Methane accumulations in coal silos have resulted in the occasional silo explosion. These can be quite violent and dangerous because coal dust adds to the strength of the blast. However, with the appropriate precautionary measures, methane accumulations in silos can be greatly reduced. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations at 30 CFR2 77.201 require that the methane content in the air of any coal silo be maintained below 1.0 vol %.3 Also, MSHA requires that methane tests be conducted before any electrical equipment is energized, unless a continuous monitor capable of deenergizing the electrical equipment is used.4 Measuring the gas emission from the coal. The first necessary step in dealing with silo methane issues is to measure the gas emission from the coal going into the silo. Such measure-ments allow one to estimate the silo ventilation needs and permit a comparison with the methane controls used at other mines that have similar gas levels. The gassiness of the coal can be measured by taking conveyor belt grab samples.5 Matta et al. [1978] measured the gas emission from conveyor belt grab samples using a simple desorption test. To conduct the test, they collected several grab samples of coal, weighing a few pounds each, from the conveyor belt entering the silo.6 They then sealed the coal into an airtight sample container that was equipped with a valve and short hose along with a pressure gauge. Every few hours they opened the valve and bled the emitted gas into a water-filled graduated cylinder that had been inverted and placed in a pan of water (Figure 11-1). The results are shown in Figure 11-2.

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