Cambria 33

Vessels Cambria 1

Vessels Carbon Solutions is currently operating a combustor at Cambria 33 and capturing methane emissions equivalent to removing 38,000 cars off the road.

Vessels Coal Gas has operated a facility capturing methane emissions from an abandoned coal mine Beth Energy Slope Mine 33 near Johnstown Pennsylvania since 2008.  The residual coal property is now owned by Arcelor Mittal.  The project was a pilot project and served as a model to develop the Abandoned Mine Methane Protocol of the Verified Carbon Standard1.

https://www.terrapass.com/project/cambria-33-abandoned-coal-mine-methane-capture-project

The Protocol Vessels developed served as a reference for the California Air Resources Board as they designed their Mine Methane Capture Protocol for their Cap and Trade System23

Vessels acquired a lease of the methane in 2007 and drilled a well into the mine to capture the methane and sell it into a local distribution pipeline company.

Pipeline injection of methane emissions began in May of 2008. Electrical generation using methane emissions began December 2010.  Natural gas prices plummeted and the gas injection to pipeline ceased at the end of 2014.  The project was converted to a methane capture and combustion project following the California Air Resources Board Cap and Trade System.  By January 1, 2019, the Cambria 33 project has produced the following results:

  • Estimated reduction of 1,032,997 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions.
  • Captured 696,000,000 cubic feet of methane emissions.
  • 10,916 RECS of generated electricity.
  • 514,000,000 cubic feet of methane emissions sold into a distribution natural gas pipeline.
  • 123,000 Voluntary Offsets under the Verified Carbon Standard
  • 107,000 Air Resource Board Offset Credits.

“Baseline Emissions” is a term that refers to the total methane emissions from the abandoned mine that were measured and recorded as having been captured by the project.  This number is represented in metric tons of CO2 equivalent  (tCO2e).

“Project Emissions” refers to the amount of CO2 emissions created by the methane combustion, which produces CO2 and water, and the small amount of methane that is not combusted.  Cambria 33 Project Emissions are approximately 9.5% of the total Baseline Emissions all stated as tCO2e.

“Emission Reductions” refer to the total climate benefit achieved by the project measured in tCO2e using the IPCC fifth assessment report, and a 20-year global warming potential of methane.  Emission reductions equals baseline emissions minus project emissions.

Emission Reduction Summary Report using IPCC AR5 20 years GWP metric tons of CO2 equivalent:

Baseline Emissions 1,141,433
Projects Emissions (emissions from the carbon capture project) -108,436
Emission Reductions 1,032,997

Time line of Cambria 33:

2019 Verification for Report Period 1 in 2018 under ARB begins.
2018 Combustor begins destroying methane emissions.
2015 Gas treating facility shut down due to low gas prices.
2014 Project is converted to ARB from VCS
2010 Verified Carbon Standard approves Cambria 33 as an Abandoned Mine Methane project qualifying for carbon offsets.
2010 Electricity generation facility commissioned to run on methane from the mine 33 to provide power for the gas treating and pipeline injection facility.
2010 Terrapass buys Verified Carbon Units (VCUS)4
2008 Initial finished product gas sales.
2008 Monitoring and recording instruments on placed on F Shaft.
2008 Installation of Molecular Gate Nitrogen Desorption treatment facility adjacent to the People’s Gas Local Distribution Pipeline.
2008 Drilling of a well into the Cambria 33 Mine on top of the Ebensburg Anticline.
2007 F Shaft of Cambria Mine is tested for volume of methane emissions.
2007 Vessels acquired lease right to methane in Cambria 33 coal mine.

North Fork Energy LLC

North Fork

North Fork Energy LLC is currently capturing 280,000 cubic feet of methane per day.  This is equivalent to taking 33,000 automobiles off the road every day.

 

North Fork Energy LLC is currently capturing 280,000 cubic feet of methane per day equivalent to 427 metric tons of CO2, the approximate emissions of 33,000 automobiles.  Vessels is currently planning on renovations of project to recover more methane emissions.  The mine area could be emitting around 9 million cubic feet per day of uncontrolled methane emissions equivalent to the daily emissions of over a million automobiles.

The map above is a representation of the possible different paths of methane emissions from this mine area.  The different colored areas represent different coal mines that have been active in the past.  The green lines represent possible locations of methane emissions.  Tensile fractures are caused by subsidence due to removing the coal beneath the surface.  The various creeks and river valleys are routes of erosion where the buried closed coal mines are in closer contact to the atmosphere where the methane can escape.  The red cylinder is the location of the North Fork Thermal Oxidizer that combusts methane for carbon offset credits.

This project began capturing methane emissions in 2012.  Since then it has achieved the following operational results:

  • Estimated emission reduction of to 3,683,784 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
  • Captured 2.4 billion cubic feet of methane emissions.
  • Equivalent to the annual emissions from 790,000 automobiles.
  • Captured estimated 46 million cubic feet of VOCs.
  • 840,000 Air Resource Board Offset Credits.

“Baseline Emissions” is a term that refers to the total methane emissions estimated to be leaking from the mine abandoned or active.  This number is represented in TCO2e.

“Project Emissions” refers to the amount of CO2 emissions created by the methane destruction project and the small amount of methane that escapes combustion.  The combustion of methane either from a generator or a combustor creates CO2 and water.

“Emission Reductions” refer to the total climate benefit achieved by the project measured in TCO2e using the IPCC fifth assessment report, and a 20-year global warming potential of methane.  Emission reductions equals total emissions captured up to the baseline emissions minus the project emissions.

Reduction Summary Report using IPCC AR5 20 years GWP metric tons of CO2 equivalent:

Baseline Emission (what would have occurred without the carbon capture) 3,739,200
Projects Emissions (emissions from the carbon capture project) -386,696
Emission Reductions 3,683,784

Computer Simulation ImageNorth Fork Energy LLC is a company operated by Vessels Coal Gas that has installed methane combustion facilities on an active and then abandoned Elk Creek Coal Mine.  The gas has had variable methane concentrations from 30%-90%.  The rest of the gas is mostly air from the atmosphere.  This is because the mine area is in communication with the atmosphere through numerous manmade and naturally occurring pathways which allows air to enter the mine and methane to escape.  Methane weighs less than air so when the atmospheric pressure rises air tends to enter the mined area and methane tends emit when the atmospheric pressure falls.  The mine gas is too contaminated with air to be shipped into a natural gas pipeline were one present at the mine (there is no pipeline for many miles).  There is no electricity market.  Thermal Oxidation (combustion) to earn carbon offset credits 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.  Public Service Company of Colorado purchased the first carbon credits from this project.  Oxbow Mining LLC, Gunnison Energy and Vessels Coal Gas contributed rights to the methane.

Coal mining has been pursued for around a hundred years in this area.  There are eight abandoned coal mines in the area of North Fork Energy’s operations.  The last working coal mine the Elk Creek Mine was closed in January 2016.  After the mine closed a computer simulation was run of the potential future methane emissions.  The simulation predicted that in 2037 over three million cubic feet of methane per day would still be emitting.

Timeline of North Fork Energy:

2019 Verification of 2018 methane capture.
2018 Request permit from BLM to capture and combust fugitive methane on BLM land.  BLM denies request and North Fork challenges denial in State Director’s Review.
2018 Begin designing mine shaft sealing program
2018 Ground flux methane surveys are conducted.  Highest concentration found was 530,000 ppm Ch4.
2018 Renovation of project to adjust to abandoned mine methane operation vs. earlier active mine methane operation.
2016 Bear Creek Thermal Oxidizer battery installed.
2016 North Fork lists project for Abandoned Mine Methane.
2016 Mine officially closed.
2014 First year of near normal operations at capacity.
2014 First ground flux methane survey conducted.  Sites with thousands of parts per million discovered.
2014 Mining is discontinued.
2013 Vessels receives Conservation Achievement Award from Western Slope Conservation Center.
2013 Thermal Oxidizer runs intermittently as spontaneous combustion events proceed.
2012 Spontaneous Combustion in the Elk Creek Mine interrupts operations of methane combustion by Thermal Oxidizer.
2012 The Thermal Oxidizer was commissioned.3
2012 Xcel Energy contracts to buy first offsets combusted by Thermal Oxidizer.2
2012 Early Action project listed with California Air Resources Board Active Mine Methane.
2012 Holy Cross and Vessels transfer Power Purchase Agreement to 3MW.
2012 Aspen Skiing Company, Gunnison, OXBOW and Vessels agree on 3MW LLC formation and transfer certain rights to 3MW LLC.
2011 Early Action Climate Action Reserve carbon offset project includes all methane from the Elk Creek borehole and methane destruction from combustion by thermal oxidation and electricity generation.
2011 OXBOW Mining, Gunnison Energy, Vessels execute North Fork Energy LLC.
2011 Holy Cross Energy and Vessels execute Power Purchase Agreement for 3 MW.
2010 OXBOW Mining, Gunnison Energy, Vessels agree in principal on electric generation project.
2010 Holy Cross Energy and Vessels agree in principal to PPA.

3MW LLC

3WM Project Image

Vessels operates 3 Mega Watts of electricity generation from methane emissions equivalent to removing over 70,000 cars off the road.

3MW LLC is a company operated by Vessels Carbon Solutions Inc. that has installed electrical generation capacity to deliver 3 megawatts of electricity generated from methane emissions from now abandoned coal mines to Holy Cross Energy. To our knowledge the facility is the first in the USA west of the Mississippi to generate electricity from methane emissions from coal mines. The gas from the mines has variable methane concentrations of around 30%-90%.  The rest of the gas is mostly air from the atmosphere.  This is because the mine area is in communication with the atmosphere through numerous manmade and naturally occurring pathways which allows air to enter the mine and methane to escape.  Methane weighs less than air so when the atmospheric pressure rises air tends to enter the mined area and methane tends emit when the atmospheric pressure falls.  The mine gas is too contaminated with air to be shipped into a natural gas pipeline were one present at the mine (there is no pipeline for many miles).  Electricity 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 greenhouse 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 Carbon Solutions Inc. contributed rights to the methane used by 3MW LLC to generate electricity.

Operational results as of December 31 2018:

  • Estimated emission reductions of 1,944,302 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e).
  • 142,524 Mega Watts of electricity eligible for the Colorado Renewable Portfolio.
  • 303,432 Air Resource Board Offset Credits.
  • 1.3 billion cubic feet of methane emissions captured.
  • Estimated 25 million cubic feet of Volatile Organic Compounds emissions captured.
  • The CO2 emissions captured are equivalent to the emissions from the generation of:
    • 1,700,000 Mega Watts of electricity from coal.
    • 5,000,000 Mega Watts of electricity from natural gas.
    • 400,000 automobiles driving daily for over a year.

The project has continued to generate electricity while adapting to changing conditions and gas quality.

“Baseline Emissions” is a term that refers to the total methane fugitive emissions from the mine abandoned or active that were captured by the project.  This number is represented in tCO2e.

“Project Emissions” refers to the amount of CO2 emissions and uncombusted methane created by the methane destruction project.  The combustion of methane either from a generator or a combustor creates CO2 and water.

“Emission Reductions” refer to the total climate benefit achieved by the project measured in tCO2e using the IPCC fifth assessment report, and a 20-year global warming potential of methane.  Emission reductions equals total emissions captured up to the baseline emissions minus the project emissions.

Emission Reduction Summary Report using IPCC AR5 20 years GWP metric tons of CO2 equivalent:

Baseline Emissions(what would have occurred without the carbon capture) 2,148,400
Projects Emissions (emissions from the carbon capture project) -204,098
Emission Reductions 1,944,3002

Time Line:

2019 Verification of 2018 methane capture.
2018 Scheduled engine overhauls are made.
2018 Renovation of project to adjust to abandoned mine methane operation vs. earlier active mine methane operation.
2018 Colorado Public Utilities Commission approves electricity generated since 2012 eligible for Colorado Renewable Energy Standard.1
2017 Vessels and North Fork Energy transfer Air Resource Board Offset Credits to Holy Cross attributable to electricity sales.
2016 Mine officially closed.
2014 First year of near normal electricity operations.
2014 Mining is discontinued.
2013 Electricity generation facility completed with interruptions during spontaneous combustion recurrence.
2013 Remaining two electricity generators are installed and begin operating.
2013 Vessels presents project to Public Utility Commissioners.2
2012 Spontaneous Combustion in the Elk Creek Mine interrupts operations and build out of complete electricity generation facility.
2012 The project was commissioned with the first electrical generator.3
2012 Early Action project listed with California Air Resources Board.
2012 Holy Cross and Vessels transfer Power Purchase Agreement to 3MW.
2012 Aspen Skiing Company, Gunnison, OXBOW and Vessels agree on 3MW LLC formation and transfer certain rights to 3MW LLC.
2011 Early Action Climate Action Reserve carbon offset project including 3MW methane destruction.
2011 OXBOW Mining, Gunnison Energy, Vessels execute North Fork Energy LLC.
2011 Holy Cross Energy and Vessels execute Power Purchase Agreement for 3 MW.
2010 OXBOW Mining, Gunnison Energy, Vessels agree in principal on electric generation project.
2010 Holy Cross Energy and Vessels agree in principal to PPA.

1 In 2018 The Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved the electricity generated through 2017 as eligible for the Colorado Renewable Portfolio.

December 6, 2018.
Decision No. R18-1092
BEFORE THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF COLORADO
PROCEEDING NO. 18A-0444E
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF 3 MW LLC FOR A COMMISSION FINDING
THAT THE ELECTRICITY GENERATED BY THE ELK CREEK 3 MW POWER PROJECT
IS GREENHOUSE GAS NEUTRAL PURSUANT TO § 40-2-124(1)(A)(IV), C.R.S., AND ISN ELIGIBLE ENERGY RESOURCE FOR THE RENEWABLE ENERGY STANDARD
PURSUANT TO § 40-2-124(1)(A), C.R.S.

Services Drawing

2 July 9, 2013  Presentation to PUC Commissioners . March14-2013-MAKMuir-GlobalMethaneExpo-CoalTechnicalSession
3 2012 Aspen Ski Company's video of the commissioning ceremony of the 3MW electric generation facility.
3 http://vimeo.com/53614122 - Digital copy of the tour handout of the 3MW electric generation facility.
3 Photo tour hand out - Research paper by Amy Crowfoot on Elk Creek Generator Project.
Crowfoot_Final - Methane to electricity: Global Methane Expo Coal Technical Session.