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Russia to begin producing power from coalbed methane

World Coal,

The first coalbed methane (CBM) to energy project in Russia celebrated its grand opening at Kuzbasskaya Energosetevaya Co.’s Talda site, located near Kemerovo. The gas comes from test drills that Gazprom, one of the world’s largest energy companies, is conducting to capture the huge reserves of CBM in this traditional coal mining region. A Jenbacher gas engine from General Electric (GE) uses the gas to provide electricity, which is ultimately sold to the grid. This project is part of a broader GE strategy to invest in resource-rich regions like Russia to respond quicker to customer needs, and it also helps support Russia’s environmental and energy efficiency goals.

In addition, the aim of the Kemerovo administration is to encourage active coal mines in the region to collect the gas prior, during and after coal operations to a larger extent. This will not only help to increase mine safety, but also will provide additional revenues to the coal mining companies. The project will contribute to improving the environmental safety and energy efficiency in Russia.

“GE’s innovative technology allows us to turn a previously environmentally harmful gas into a safer, useful fuel to produce energy for our customers in a more cost-effective manner,” said Peter Kuruch, CEO of Kuzbasskaya Energosetevaya Co. A 1 MW J320 Jenbacher gas engine from GE powers this project. The contract was awarded in September 2010.

GE’s J320 gas engine technology has been successfully used in power projects from various types of coal seam gases (coal mine methane, abandoned mine methane and CBM) around the world. Currently GE has Jenbacher units with a total capacity of more than 400 MW running on this type of gas. The engines have the potential to generate more than 3 million MWh/year of electricity – saving the equivalent of 830 million m3/year of natural gas.

“The flexibility of GE's Jenbacher technology will enable our customer to utilise methane that would otherwise be released from the mine into the atmosphere and convert it into valuable heat and electric power. This also will reduce CO2 emissions by around 30,000 tpa,” said Rod Christie, GE Energy president for central and eastern Europe, Russia and CIS. “This project demonstrates that successful business solutions also can be environmentally responsible.”

CBM gas occurs naturally within coal deposits and is composed largely of methane, the principal component of natural gas. Compared to natural gas, CBM even burns a little more efficiently and thus can serve as a valuable alternative for natural gas on a global base.

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