DMT supports Prototyping the use of low calorific coal mine methane (CMM)

In the project "LowCH4-MDT-Module" a plant with lean gas combustion, steam generation and micro steam turbine is being built.

Greenhouse Gas CMM outgasses from old coal mines into the atmosphere. Up to now, this gas is burned in gas piston engines at many locations and is used to generate electricity. This usage cases decline as methane concentrations are slowly decreasing and the gas piston engines cannot run below appr. 18% methane by volume. In the "LowCH4-MDT Module" project, Fraunhofer UMSICHT, DMT and the Herne municipal utilities (Stadtwerke Herne) are testing a new technological utilization chain with a special lean gas burner for mine gas with less than 18% methane by volume, a steam boiler and micro steam turbine for power and heat generation in order to continue to avoid Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Project goals
For utilization of coal mine methane (CMM) below 18% by volume methane concentration there are currently no economically viable technologies available. In order to avoid the emission of considerable amounts of greenhouse gas in the long term, the "LowCH4-MDT-Module" project aims to develop, build and demonstrate a prototype of a modular plant with a lean gas burner, steam boiler and micro steam turbine. This prototype should enable a reliable utilization of CMM between five and 18 vol. % CH4 and thus further avoid CH4 emissions of today's approx. 270 million Nm³/a (corresponding to 3.6 million tCO2 eq/a) for at least another decade.

For this purpose, the specification of a corresponding plant is derived by analyzing site data of CMM utilizations in the Ruhr Area. Based on this, the modular prototype will be designed, developed, planned, built and commissioned, optimized and put into trial operation at a CMM site of Stadtwerke Herne AG. Based on the technical and economic results, the potential of further use at CMM sites in the Ruhr Area will be evaluated.

Project partners

Project duration

January 2019 to December 2021 (extension planned)

Funding information
The project "Prototype development and trial operation for the utilization of low calorific CMM with methane contents between 5 % and 18 % by volume by lean gas­combustion, steam generation and micro steam turbine" (LowCH4-MDT module) is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Vitali Kerber
Tel: +49 201 172-1097