The Coal Mine Methane Project

Despite being one of the world’s largest markets for renewable energy, Germany has an extensive history of coal extraction. Nowadays, the vast majority of coal mines are closed, but the mining has left visible legacies like ruined industrial sites and slag heaps. Another remnant of Germany’s coal mining past is invisible: coal mine methane, which can build-up inside the mining shafts for decades after their closure.Not only does methane pose an explosion hazard, it is also a very potent greenhouse gas, being about 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. In order to mitigate the danger of uncontrolled explosions and impacts on climate change, it is crucial to prevent the emission of this gas to the atmosphere.

Methane from abandoned coal mines can be collected and flared, and thereby be destroyed. This project, supported by First Climate, takes it a step further: it involves the operation of a collecting system based on pumps and funnels and the combustion of the methane in gas-engines. In this way, not only the environmental impacts are reduced, but the gas is also productively utilized by co-generating electricity heat. While coal mine methane projects are eligible for subsidies under the German Renewable Energy Act, the incentives are just too small to support financial viability. Furthermore, gas fluctuations make it difficult to design and adjust the equipment for economically sustainable operations.

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Key Facts

North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Project type:
Coal Mine Methane
Project Standard:
Verified Carbon Standard
Project start date:
December 2002

Total emission reductions:
60.000t CO2 p.a.

Sustainable Development – The Sustainable Development Goals

While focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, all our projects also generate multiple co-benefits. These are supportive of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

By supporting this project you’ll contribute to the following SDGs:

Decent work and economic growth: In the fields of installation, operation and maintenance new jobs were created during the constructing and operational phases of the project.

Life on land: The damaging effects of methane are reduced by a factor of 21. This is an important contribution to the mitigation of environmental pollution caused by coal mine methane. By feeding the electricity into the grid, further green gas emissions are being avoided.