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A field experiment of carbon dioxide (CO2) storage in underground coal seams with simultaneous (enhanced) production of coalbed methane production was set up and performed in the upper Silesian coal basin in Poland. The main aim of this project was to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of this type of CO2 storage under European conditions. An existing coalbed methane well was cleaned up, repaired, and put back into production in May 2004 to establish a baseline production. A new injection well was drilled 150 m (492 ft) away from the production well. This distance was chosen to establish a breakthrough of the injected CO2 into the production well to learn as much as possible from the operations. Initial injection of CO2 occurred in August 2004 in three seams of Carboniferous age in the depth interval between 900 and 1250 m (3117 and 4101 ft). Several actions were taken to establish continuous injection, which was eventually reached in April 2005 after stimulation of the reservoir by a frac job. In May 2005, approximately 12–15 t/day were injected in continuous operations. Compared to baseline production, the production of methane increased significantly because of the injection activities. Recovery of methane is, however, low, which is probably related to low diffusion rates into and out of the coal. Nevertheless, a total of 692 t of CO2 are stored in the reservoir, most likely because of adsorption of CO2 on the coal. The results provide good hope for successful future upscaling of the operations, although further research is required. The realization of an onshore pilot for CO2 storage can possibly help to overcome start-up barriers of future CO2 storage initiatives in Europe.
Frank van Bergen graduated from Utrecht University with an M.Sc. degree in geochemistry. Since he joined Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) in 1998, he has been involved in national and international projects on subsurface CO2 storage, especially related to storage in coal seams with simultaneous CBM production. Additionally, he has been involved in projects related to exploration and petroleum system evaluation and geothermal energy.
Henk Pagnier graduated with an M.Sc. degree in geology at the University of Amsterdam. During his professional career, he was involved in several major projects on coal exploration. He was also project leader in oil and gas exploration and was responsible for the mapping of the deep subsurface of the Netherlands. Since 2005, he has been head of the Sustainable Geo Energy team at TNO, involved in CO2 storage, geothermal energy, and clean coal technologies.
Pawel Krzystolik graduated and obtained a degree of Ph.D. at the Mining Department of Silesian Technical University in 1970. In 2000, he obtained his D.Sc., and in 2002 he obtained a degree of professor. From 1981 to 2004, he was the director of the Central Mining Institute Experimental Mine Barbara. He is engaged in the fields of methane and dust hazards control in mining, blasting techniques, and explosion-proof electrical equipment. He is also the author of more than 280 articles and three books and is an honorary member of the International Organizing Committee of the World Mining Congres.