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Centre of Excellence opens in Poland

Published by , Digital Assistant Editor
World Coal,

The International Centre of Excellence on Coal Mine Methane in Poland has been officially launched, representing a milestone as the first of its kind in the industry. The expert institution operating under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe will contribute to the development of new methods of capturing and use of methane as a valuable energy source.

The newly opened Institution was founded by the Central Mining Institute in Katowice, the Polish Oil and Gas Co. (PGNiG), the Polish Geological Institute and the Oil and Gas Institute. The Centre will operate under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The agreement to establish the Centre was signed in Geneva in October 2015.

The Centre's objective is to develop technologies for capturing and using coal mine methane. A further objective of the institution will be to reduce methane emissions and the carbon footprint of the coal mining sector.

Director of the UNECE Sustainable Energy Division, Scott Foster, emphasised: “UNECE and its Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane (CMM) have worked over many years to develop best practice guidance for managing the accumulation of methane in operating coal mines. The United Nations has recognised the value of this work and has recommended wide dissemination and uptake of the best practices. The inauguration of this International Centre of Excellence is an important step in the dissemination, and UNECE applauds this initiative by the Government of Poland and the founding organisations. We very much appreciate our ongoing collaboration with our Polish counterparts and look forward to supporting the activities of the Centre.”

“This Centre of Excellence is significant as it promises to be a repository and knowledgebase for applied science, engineering, and technology that comprises the best practices for managing methane extraction and use at coal mines. Training in best practices at this Centre will enable miners to reduce methane emissions, make underground coal mining safer, and establish sustainable production of coal and associated gas resources,” said Raymond Pilcher, the Chair of the UNECE Group of Experts on CMM.

The International Centre will collect and compile information on methane management from around the world.

Furthermore, following particular needs of the UNECE Member States, the Centre will also organise trainings and conduct research on various matters constituting the core of its activities.

“The involvement of Central Mining Institute in the Centre is the recognition of the experience and qualifications of our faculty. The Centre should contribute to the active development of research on demethinating coal seams,” added Stanislaw Prusek, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Mining Institute.

Polish Oil and Gas Co. will gain access the latest research on the use of methane contained in coal seams. The company is currently testing the possibility of extracting methane from coal seams by fracking.

“We are fully committed to development of new technologies for methane extraction. We want to share our experience in this area but also benefit from expertise of the Centre's specialists. Our experts will join the ranks of its scientific base,” said Lukasz Kroplewski, Vice-President of PGNiG Management Board, Development.

The opening of the International Centre of Excellence was accompanied by a scientific conference.

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