Consol Energy has joined forces with Green Holdings Enlow to develop the biggest ventilation air methane (VAM) emission abatement project in the US at CONSOL’s Enlow Fork coal mine in Pennsylvania.

Under the agreement, CONSOL will supply the ventilation air fan, site and technical support, while Green Holdings will contribute capital, operate the unit and sell the emissions reduction credits.

CONSOL research and development vice-president Steven Winberg said the company already has a big coal bed methane production business that eliminates methane from coal seams prior to mining, generating a valuable fuel.

“With this agreement, we will deal with methane that is released from a coal seam during the mining process,” Winberg said.

“The project will allow CONSOL to move from its current small-scale ventilation air methane capture programme to a commercial scale effort that, if successful, can be applied at many of the company’s existing underground mines.”

The VAM abatement system will capture and eliminate methane emitted during mining that would have escaped into the environment through the ventilation system at the mine.

The equipment will help lower annual VAM emissions at the mine by the equivalent of 190,000t of carbon dioxide (tCO2e).

Worldwide annual VAM emissions from coal mines total nearly 300 million tCO2e.

The project will commence operations in the second half of the year.

CONSOL’s underground coal mine annually generates about ten million tonnes of coal.