Mining Publication: NIOSH Research for Monitoring and Controlling Methane at U.S. Underground Coal Mining Operations
NIOSH research has focused on the monitoring and the control of methane levels in active mine workings. Response times for instrumentation using catalytic heat-of-combustion sensor technology were evaluated. NIOSH research has modeled the flow of methane gas onto longwall faces and gobs, developed engineering controls to limit methane levels during mining, and designed coalbed and gob degasification systems. Available methane control systems have been challenged by recent developments in longwall and room-and-pillar mining systems. This includes increased face advance rates leading to increased productivities, increased longwall panel sizes, and the generally deeper workings of U.S. coal mines. The potentially violent nature of any underground explosion or ignition requires the measurement, control, and reduction of methane emissions into the mine environment for continued worker safety.