Capturing energy from ventilation air methane a preliminary design for a new approach
Applied Thermal Engineering
Reason for embargo
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), discharged to the atmosphere by coalmining, the natural gas industry and natural biological processes, second only to carbon dioxide; thus, any reduction in atmospheric methane would be globally beneficial. The capture or use of ventilation air methane (VAM) is challenging because it is a high volume low concentration methane source. This results in the routine discharge of methane into the atmosphere.A review of VAM mitigation technologies is provided and the main disadvantages of the existing technologies are discussed. In the proposed VamTurBurner<sup>©</sup> system, the heat from the combustion chamber is transferred to the preheating zone either by a heat exchanger or by redirecting the combustion products to mix with the ventilation air stream from a coalmine. Gas turbines (GT) are used to produce electricity with the exhaust gases directed to mix with the incoming ventilation airflow. The turbulence introduced by the GT exhaust assists with mixing of the incoming ventilation airflow and the return flow of combustion products from the combustion chamber. The combustion products are a source of heat, which increases the temperature of the incoming ventilation air to a value high enough for the methane to undergo flameless combustion upon encountering the igniters.The high temperature combustion products enter a multi-generation system. The multi-generation system is based on mature engineering technology such as heat exchangers and steam turbines. The residual heat provides additional heat based products such as industrial scale drying, chilling by an absorption chiller or simply hot water.The VamTurBurner<sup>©</sup> uses the energy from the GT, igniters and VAM to provide clean efficient energy while mitigating the atmospheric emissions of methane. The opportunity to collect carbon credits may improve the economics. Since the VAM is a free energy source, the output of the system is greater than the purchased energy.
The European Union Research Program's Research Fund for Coal and Steel supported this research under grant agreement RFCR-CT-2010-00004. The University of Exeter, College of Engineering Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Camborne School of Mines provided research funding in support this work.
Article in Press
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Applied Thermal Engineering, 2015, Volume 90, pp.1151-1163