Mining Publication: Assessing the Methane Hazard of Gassy Coals in Storage Silos
The Bureau of Mines investigated coal storage silos to determine how gassy coal must be for methane accumulations in a silo to become hazardous and where such accumulations are likely to occur. Methane concentrations were measured in the open space above the stored coal pile, in the pile, and in the reclaiming area. No methane layering was found in closed-top silos. Reclaiming areas were as gassy as the top part of the silos. Coal samples were collected from the conveyors entering the silos in order to assess the gassiness of the coal. No simple correlation was found between the gassiness of the coal stored and the measured methane concentrations. However, at mines where the average 24-hour gas emissions from the conveyor belt samples was 14 ft3/ton or more, fans or open tops were used. It appears that a large fraction of the methane released during storage remains in the void space between the coal particles.