Development of Improved Methane Drainage Technologies by Stimulating Coal Seams for Major Risk Prevention and Increased Coal Output

Duration of the project: 01.07.2014-31.12.2017

Contact person:

dr hab. inż. Janusz Makówka

Project description:

The application for co-financing of the research project with the acronym GASDRAIN has been submitted to the contest of the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) in September 2013. The project received high marks from reviewers and funding from the European Commission under the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS).

Hard coal mining in Europe is increasingly exploiting deep-seams of coal, encountering a growing methane hazard and increased methane emissions into mining excavations.

Methane drainage methods currently used in European mines are not effective enough to combat the growing hazards. Therefore, in order to increase safety and achieve the assumed production parameters of coal in most European deposits, it is necessary to develop innovative techniques of gas emission control and its recognition.

The main goal of the GASDRAIN project is to examine the techniques of stimulating drainage drawholes and to develop modern and improved technologies for methane drainage in coal seams, which will overcome the existing technological barriers helping to increase the level of safety and coal production in mines.

However, it should be emphasized that it is not possible to develop a universal solution that could be directly applied in all mining conditions, in all coal seams.

Therefore, the aim of the project is to examine the possibility of applying the following techniques for stimulation of drainage drawholes:

  • hydraulic fracturing, which has been successfully used in conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon mining;
  • innovative techniques of stimulation of seams such as: cavitation in open and cased hole cavitation, which were successfully used in the stimulation of methane exploitation openings (CBM) in soft coals with low compactness in the San Juan Basin, Colorado, USA;
  • cutting out fissures (flanges) with water around the borehole under high pressure, which have been tested and found to be effective in fighting gas outbursts in some Chinese basins;
  • use of explosives to stimulate coal seams and the surrounding rocks,

using: laboratory experiments, numerical modelling and direct tests and in situ developed techniques, in various mining conditions, to achieve the project assumptions.

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