3 MW is an electrical generation project that produces three mega watts of electricity from gas venting from the Elk Creek mine and the adjacent Sanborn Creek mine. This project began generating electricity in 2012.


#OurStory - EP02: Coal Mine from Aspen/Snowmass on Vimeo.


Celebration Tour of 3MW Electric Generation E.



Because of 3MW LLC “what was once a by product of mining to keep the air in a mine safe for people to work in has now become a resource,”  Mike Ludlow, Executive Vice President OXBOW MINING.


“I never thought I would be standing at a coal mine and talking about the most amazing, innovative, optimistic, coolest project I have ever been associated with.”  Mike Kaplan, President of Aspen Skiing Company.


3MW LLC “Is the the first midscale coal mine methane to energy project in the USA. It protects the environment, creates jobs and is a collaboration among all kinds of different entitities: environmentalists, coal miners, a ski resort, a utility…. Take a basic technology, a truck engine that runs on methane instead of diesel. The mine vents the methane because it is toxic. Instead of wasting it we run it into a truck engine and make electricity. But what this means to the ski industry is a statement of what’s possible. Can you make utility scale power, huge amount of clean energy, can you replicate it?”  Auden Schendler, Vice President of Sustainability, Aspen Skiing Company.


“One hundred percent of our power and three times our carbon footprint and there is a lot more for the taking. The amazing thing is, everybody wins, but the biggest winner is the environment.”  Matt Jones, Chief Finance Officer, Aspen Skiing Company.


(3 MW) “demonstrates what we can do when we come together and can solve energy problems and climate problems by bringing different interests and make sure we are looking at a Colorado solution.”  Gail Schwartz, Colorado Senate Energy Committee.


“A project like this makes me proud to be an American, a Coloradon….”  Randy Udall.


3 Mega Watts of Electric Generation from Mine Methane Capture from Oxbow Mining’s Elk Creek Mine. Facility installed and operated by Vessels Coal Gas, Inc.



3MW LLC is a company operated by Vessels Coal Gas that has installed electrical generation capacity to deliver 3 megawatts of electricity to Holy Cross Energy. To our knowledge the facility will be the first in the USA west of the Mississippi to generate electricity from methane that is venting from an active coal mine. The gas normally has a methane concentration of around 30%-40%. This gas is too contaminated with nitrogen to be shipped into a natural gas pipeline were one present at the mine (there is no pipeline for many miles). Electric generation is the only means the energy value of this dilute methane gas can be put to beneficial use while at the same time reducing green house gas emissions. Holy Cross provided a market for the electricity and Aspen Skiing Company provided the majority of the financial resources necessary to build the power station. Oxbow Mining LLC, Gunnison Energy and Vessels Coal Gas contributed rights to the methane used by 3MW LLC to generate electricity.



Aspen Ski Company's video of the comissioning ceremony of the 3MW electric generation facility.



Digital copy of the tour handout of the 3MW electric generation facility.

Photo tour hand out


Research paper by Amy Crowfoot on Elk Creek Generator Project.



Methane to electricity: Global Methane Expo Coal Technical Session.