AUSTRALIA - BHP BILLITON of Melbourne, Australia, and London, U.K., has become the first company in the world to generate electricity solely from mine ventilation gases. The innovative plant is located in New South Wales at the West Cliff colliery, where underground ventilation air contains low concentrations (<1.25%) of methane.
The A$30-million plant can generate approximately 5.0 MW of electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year.
The installation is the result of a seven-year collaboration of BHP Billiton and MEGTEC SYSTEMS, owned by U.S. company SEQUA CORP. The technology uses oxidation to convert low methane concentrations to CO2 and water vapour. The Australian Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program (www.Greenhouse.gov.au/ggap) contributed A$6.0 million toward development.