Bulga Coal is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas impact through initiatives that include the capture and use of methane to generate electricity, abating ventilation air methane and improving energy efficiencies.
Draining methane from the coal
In an underground mine, removing the gas from the coal prior to mining is crucial to the safety of underground employees. Gas that is not drained from the coal prior to mining can cause a safety hazard as well as delays in production.
Bulga Underground also undertakes post drainage once the coal has been removed to remove gas which accumulates in the goaf (the area behind the longwall). For more information about our gas drainage program, download the community information sheet by clicking here.
Once we have drained the gas, we burn the methane to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint. Combusting the captured gas is called flaring which is done at a central flaring facility. Flaring methane to produce carbon dioxide and water vapour reduces the methane greenhouse gas impacts by 21 times.
Power Generation – utilising the gas
We aim to utilise the gas collected by our gas drainage system for power generation. Bulga Underground's 9 MW gas fired power station consists of 3 x 3 MW power generators that are being supplied with high purity methane from the Bulga Underground pre-drainage wells. Producing electricity from the captured methane helps to reduce the potential greenhouse effects. The power produced from the generators is fully utilised by Bulga Coal.
Energy efficiency initiatives – reducing our energy use
Bulga Open Cut and Bulga Underground have Energy Actions Savings Plans in place that ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible. Energy efficiency is a key requirement in the procurement of plant, equipment and technology at Bulga Coal.
The Energy Actions Savings Plans identify projects which will lead to a reduction in energy consumption and is reviewed annually at both operations.
Low emission technology projects
Glencore is involved in a number of low emission coal technology projects including:
- FutureGen project: working with the US Department of Energy (DOE), this $1.65 billion project will upgrade a power plant in Illinois with oxy-combustion technology. This should capture approximately 1.1 million tons of CO2 each year (over 90% of the plant's emissions) to be stored underground. We are a member of the FutureGen Industrial Alliance
- Callide Oxyfuel project: a A$245 million large-scale demonstration project to prove the suitability of oxyfuel technology in capturing CO2 for both new-build and existing coal-fired power stations. It involves burning coal in a mixture of oxygen and recirculated exhaust gases, instead of air, and results in a concentrated stream of CO2 suitable for capture and storage. The project is a joint venture between CS Energy, ACA Low Emissions Technologies, Glencore, Schlumberger Carbon Services and Japanese participants J-Power, Mitsui & Co Ltd and IHI Corporation
- CTSCO: Glencore is hosting a carbon capture and storage research project called CTSCo (carbon transport storage company) on our landholdings at Wandoan in QLD. The key focus of this project is to monitor, evaluate and verify CO2 storage capacity in the Surat Basin in Queensland. We have received funding from the Federal government and the coal industry COAL21 fund for this project.