Getting more gas from lignite brown coal and low rank coal resources

first_imgRegal Resources has signed a Joint Venture Agreement with Enhanced Biogenic Methane. EBM has been granted an exclusive Australian licence to patented biogenetic methane enhancement (BME) technology from the Western Research Institute (WRI) of Wyoming, a company at the forefront of this technology globally. BME speeds up the natural biogenic process that produces methane from coal. Biogenic methane accounts for in excess of 20% of the total methane reserves on earth. Major sources include coal seam gas in the Surat Basin in Queensland and Powder River Basin in Wyoming, USA.Regal, which holds Exploration Licences 4507 and 4510, has granted EBM access to its Oak Park site (within EL 4507), west-northwest of Melbourne, Australia, to conduct a demonstration project (subject to regulatory approvals). EBM will invest A$300,000 to fund a single well technology demonstration at the Oak Park site that is expected, subject to regulatory approval, to commence during the first quarter of 2010.The Joint Venture provides EBM access to 1,000 Mt of brown coal / lignite within the tenement area without causing disruption to the Underground Coal to Liquids (UCTL) pilot test that Regal is undertaking or potential applications of UCTL within the tenements. Any methane produced from the use of the BME technology will be shared between EBM and Regal on a 50/50 basis.BME works by artificially stimulating the micro-organisms called methanogens that break down the coal structure and produce methane as a by product. BME technology works best on lignite (brown coal), low rank black coals and oil shale. This is because of their high volatiles and hydrogen content, which if all converted to methane would yield gas quantities 10 times that of traditional coal seam gas.As there are currently little economic applications for these asset classes and due to their abundance, the BME technology has the potential to be applied on many projects and many locations. Application of BME is expected to be via the same drilling techniques used in the coal seam gas industry or via re-entering wells that are not economic or that have not been successful in previous coal seam methane testing.One of the advantages of BME over coal seam gas is that the groundwater does not need to be extracted. Also, as only a small amount of the coal is converted to methane, there is no surface subsidence as can happen with underground mining or underground coal gasification. BME has been demonstrated to produce methane real time in both bench scale trials (lignite and black coal) and field tests (black coal).Typical hydrogen content of low ranked coals and oil shales is 5% by weight. If all this hydrogen could be converted to methane, gas content of coal would be 10 times that of traditional coal seam gas.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *