Coal Seam Methane - ABC TV Science Catalyst

Various technical topics related to science, energy, climate change and coal & gas.

Coal Seam Methane - ABC TV Science Catalyst

Postby HVPA_research » Mon May 24, 2010 11:42 pm

Here is a link to a video of the ABC TV program Catalyst. It reviews some technical aspects of the coal seam gas industry in Queensland.

Video:Coal Seam Methane Gas ABC TV Science Catalyst . A complete text transcript of the whole program is here.

Unfortunately, as most media reports, the program underplays all the negative environmental and social aspects of the CSG industry. They do mention the produce water in passing as something pretty benign. The did not mention hydraulic fracturing that uses "proprietary" toxic chemicals.

One positive aspect of the program was that they mentioned Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) which may be a better technology then coal seam gas as far as the environment goes. Typically, UCG is not getting much support from the Queensland government that keeps all her eggs firmly in the CSG basket. Of course, this is yet another fossil carbon fuel, which we talk about minimizing but never actually do. The proponent of UCG claimed that they need twenty times smaller land area then CSG because they use both coal and coal seam gas. It would be interesting to get some hard data. Perhaps the land are advantage could be even greater. Why?

Just consider a lump of wet coal just extracted from a deep coal seam . In that lump of coal there are some small pores called cleats that contain salty water. In that salty water is dissolved some small quantity of methane gas. The CSG industry drills a hole, extracts the produce water, separates the methane, leaves the coal in the ground and water in evaporation ponds. There is not all that much energy extracted from that original lump of coal. No wonder the CSG boys need such a huge land area! Yet the media give the impression that coal seam gas is like the conventional natural gas - somewhere deep underground there are huge concentrated deposits of gas that only need to be drilled into for the natural gas to come out.
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