Mining Publication: Modeling and Prediction of Ventilation Methane Emissions of U.S. Longwall Mines Using Supervised Artificial Neural Networks
Methane emissions from a longwall ventilation system are an important indicator of how much methane a particular mine is producing and how much air should be provided to keep the methane levels under statutory limits. Knowing the amount of ventilation methane emission is also important for environmental considerations and for identifying opportunities to capture and utilize the methane for energy production. Prediction of methane emissions before mining is difficult since it depends on a number of geological, geographical, and operational factors. This study proposes a principal component analysis (PCA) and artificial neural network (ANN)-based approach to predict the ventilation methane emission rates of U.S. longwall mines. Ventilation emission data obtained from 63 longwall mines in 10 states for the years between 1985 and 2005 were combined with corresponding coalbed properties, geographical information, and longwall operation parameters. The compiled database resulted in 17 parameters that potentially impacted emissions. PCA was used to determine those variables that most influenced ventilation emissions and were considered for further predictive modeling using ANN. Different combinations of variables in the data set and network structures were used for network training and testing to achieve minimum mean square errors and high correlations between measurements and predictions. The resultant ANN model using nine main input variables was superior to multilinear and second-order non-linear models for predicting the new data. The ANN model predicted methane emissions with high accuracy. It is concluded that the model can be used as a predictive tool since it includes those factors that influence longwall ventilation emission rates.