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Underground Coal Mine Emission Inventory Tool

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Land use planning for industrial development requires estimation of the environmental impacts associated with a given land use choice. For underground coal mining, there are a number of surface environmental impacts resulting from the underground mining activities. AECOM, in a project for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, developed an emission inventory estimation tool to allow estimation of air emissions from proposed underground coal mines in the Western United States. This presentation provides a summary of the emission inventory tool for underground coal mines that AECOM developed in fulfillment of this project.

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Underground Coal Mine Emission Inventory Tool

  1. 1. Underground Coal Mine Emission Inventory Tool Howard W. Balentine, CCM, P.E.
  2. 2. About AECOM AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With approximately 45,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 140 countries and has annual revenue in excess of $8.0 billion. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at www.aecom.com.
  3. 3. Design Objectives for Emission Inventory Tool – Develop a methodology to estimate air pollutant emissions associated with Western underground coal mining – Allow estimates for historical and current operations – Provide means to project emissions from future proposed mining operations – Allow emission estimates for mining operations with limited data
  4. 4. How AECOM Met Study Objectives – Developed Emission Tool using Microsoft Excel – Estimates emissions of Criteria Pollutants, Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), and Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) – Establishes standard default parameters with ability to override – Multiple calculation options with increasing mine-specific data requirements for certain source categories – Quality Assurance (QA), including listing of all default parameters and color coding of required entries – Complete documentation of computation methodology and supporting data
  5. 5. Sources of Emissions Inventoried in the Tool Emission Source Pollutants Inventoried Sources Included Degasification wells Methane & CO2 Degasification well vents Mine ventilation Methane & CO2 PM10 and PM2.5 Mine ventilation system exhaust Underground equipment Criteria, GHGs & Diesel Particulate MSHA certified underground equipment and non-road vehicles Aboveground equipment Criteria, GHGs & Diesel Particulate Mobile and stationary equipment and non-road vehicles Coal Haul Locomotives Criteria, GHGs & Diesel Particulate Coal haul locomotives Aboveground material handling PM10 and PM2.5 Fugitive dust from handling and processing coal and rock Disturbed area fugitive dust PM10 and PM2.5 Windblown dust from exposed areas Paved and Unpaved Roads PM10 and PM2.5 Vehicle traffic
  6. 6. Estimating GHG Emissions – EPA has a well established methodology for particulate matter emission inventory development for Western surface mining – Previous GHG emission inventory efforts have been site specific or depend on monitoring data – The methodology developed for estimating methane emissions from underground mining is innovative
  7. 7. Source of Methane in a Coal Mine – Methane is created along with coal – Under increasing pressure from overburden accumulation, methane adsorbs onto the coal – Amount of coal absorbed is primarily a function of the pressure – Upon release of pressure during mining, the methane desorbs from the coal
  8. 8. Most Underground Mining in Colorado Involves Longwall Mining Photo Source: BLM, Ucompahgre Field Office Coal Resource and Development Potential Report ,April 2010.
  9. 9. Section of a Longwall Mining Machine
  10. 10. Longwall Mining Layout
  11. 11. Methane is released from degasification wells and ventilation exhaust – Pre-mining degasing – Degasing during mining – Mine Ventilation – Post-mining degasing – Post-mine closure/abandonment
  12. 12. Methane Adsorption Curve for Western Coal Absorption curve computed based on a pressure gradient of 0.435 pounds per square foot per foot of increasing depth, fitted to a Michaelis-Menten distribution. 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 0 100 200 300 400 GasContent(scf/ton) 500 Pressure (psia) Methane Adsorption M-M Trend
  13. 13. Mine Ventilation Rate versus Coal Production — Western Underground Coal Mines Data Sources: EPA, 2010; Colorado Department of Health, 2012
  14. 14. Greenhouse Gas Emission Estimation – Emissions are a complex function of mine depth, coal seam and coal basin characteristics, and mining methods – Objective was to produce a simplified methodology – Three calculation methods allowed for estimation of desorption methane • Coal production tonnage, seam depth, and adsorption curve • Emission factors by state, coal basin, and drainage/degasification system based on published EPA data, and • Mine-specific information on methane releases
  15. 15. Particulate Matter Emissions from Disturbed Areas – EPA emission estimation requires daily maximum daily wind speed – Modeled a Log-Normal distribution for 3 years of data for use in computation of daily friction velocity (friction velocity is required in computation of wind blown dust emissions) – Wind data included : • Aspen • Gunnison • Grand Junction
  16. 16. Prospective Tool Uses – Establish a consistent methodology to inventory emissions from Western underground coal mines – Provide input to Program Level National Environmental Policy Act analyses – Assess emissions for new mining lease applications – Provide estimates of GHG emissions for climate change and adaptation analyses – Assess toxic risks from diesel particulate matter emissions from underground coal mines and locomotives
  17. 17. Potential Area of Improvement – Extensive information on methane emissions from underground coal mines is being reported to EPA yearly under 40 CFR 98 Subpart FF – This data include methane concentrations and flow volumes in degasification and ventilation systems – Combined with information on mined formation, coal basin, and mining depth, the EPA data could be processed and incorporated into this tool – The revised tool would allow more refined estimates of GHG emissions for historical and future mining operations
  18. 18. Acknowledgements to AECOM’s project team ̶ Howard Balentine, Project Manager ̶ Sameer Shah ̶ Gregory Derevianko ̶ Snigdha Mehta ̶ Anne Doud ̶ Courtney Taylor
  19. 19. Howard W. Balentine, CCM, P.E. Howard W. Balentine is a technical leader with more than 35 years of experience in environmental services. His areas of expertise include climate change analysis, greenhouse gas/carbon footprint assessment and verification, emission inventory development, environmental engineering and air pollution meteorology. howard.balentine@aecom.com