Methane Emissions and Hard Coal Production in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin in Relation to the Greenhouse Effect Increase in Poland in 1994-2018
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Univesrity of Silesia
Marcin Dreger   

Univesrity of Silesia
Mining Science 2021;28:59–76
The Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB) is the largest coal basin in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. It is the most industrialised region in the country. The main natural source of energy is hard coal, which was produced by 65 mines in the early nineties. The USCB geology is very diverse and not homogeneous. Coal deposits situated in the central, southern, and western regions are mostly covered by impermeable Miocene deposits, which helped methane (CH4) to accumulate in the past. Methane is one of the most dangerous natural hazards in Polish underground mining because it is an explosive gas. CH4 is also the second strongest greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, but its radiative power is 20-25 times stronger than the radiative power of CO2. Polish coal mines release 470 thousand Mg (average) of CH4 yearly and it contributes to the greenhouse effect increase. Year after year, Upper Silesian coal mines are going to extract hard coal from deeper seams where the methane content in coal seams is much higher. To keep workers safe, CH4 needs to be captured and released to the open-air atmosphere or used in the power and heat production.
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