Coal Bed Methane

The Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas recently discussed the policies regarding coal bed methane in the Rajya Sabha.

Coal Bed Methane

Coal Bed Methane or Coal Seam Gas refers to methane gas that is adsorbed onto coal seams which is a solid matrix. It is a gaseous fuel that is extracted from the coal beds. It is devoid of hydrogen sulphide and is hence called ‘sweet gas’. It is formed during the coalification process.

Uses of CBM

Coal Bed Methane is used for several purposes like:

  • Methanol production
  • Energy generation
  • Fertilizer feedstock
  • In cement production
  • In steel plants etc.

Environmental Impact

The methane from CBM extraction accounts for 8 to 10% of the global methane emission. Methane is an important greenhouse gas and is many times more deleterious than carbon dioxide in that role. The ‘produced water’, a by-product of CBM extraction, can be harmful to the environment due to presence of heavy metal or radioactive contaminations. The extraction process also harms the ecosystem.

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