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Germany - CleaningGround

CleaningGround

Improving the local energy mix by capturing methane

Country: The project is located in Germany, North-Westphalia. In the last century, several coal mines were exploited in North Rhine Westphalia. Many of them were abandoned in the 90s causing several problems in the region: job losses, geophysical risks, air and soil pollution, etc. The project can be seen as part of the wider efforts to revitalize closed mining sites in North Rhine Westphalia. A number of initiatives contribute to develop the project area (the mining installations) for tourism, leisure, events, real estate, etc.  

PO: MineGas is a market leader in energy generation from coal mine gas (CMM) with over 100 years of experience in the extraction and use of mine gas. The company participates to the national federation of CMM project developers as well as to a dedicated UNECE* working group.

Key issue: CMM emissions are an unavoidable side effect of mining activity. The gas is a mixture of CH4, CO2 and Nitrogen. CMM easily escaped to the atmosphere through back-firing arresters. Methane emissions have a strong effect on global warming.

 

Solution:

The CMM is captured for heat and power generation in cogeneration units, equipped with gas engines (each cogeneration unit producing approximately 32 GWh per year). CMM electrification replaces power produced from the primary energy mix including power from coal. Therefore, emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere are reduced. Many projects of this kind were developed in the area in the period 2000-2005: the sites are connected underground. The gas is not treated (only dust removal), but directly used to produce energy.  It is expected that 90% of the underground released gas is pumped and used. The produced energy is sold to renewable energy providers.

* United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

 

 

 

Results:

An average of 700,000 tCO2e avoided per year.

Corresponding to avoiding emissions for more than 75,000 people in Germany

 

 

Co-Benefits:

Social:

  • Sites rehabilitation: There is a spontaneous restoration of vegetation due to the covering/filling-in of mines: the ancient hill of stones are now covered by vegetable biomass and some of them are also used for water storage or as a support to install wind turbines. Public authorities have been involved in the permitting of the project: local acceptance is very high.
  • Reduced explosion frequency: Pumping gas diminished the risk of explosions /fires: in this region houses need to have a CMM gas protection system to avoid explosions.

Environmental:

  • Air quality: CMM electrification replaces power produced from the primary energy mix including power from coal. Therefore, emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere are reduced.
  • Monitoring of impacts: Noise and other possible environmental impacts are monitored every three years, noise reduction measures are taken in some cases.
  • Varied energy mix: The produced energy is sold to renewable energy providers. It contributes to local  energy self-reliance.

 

 

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