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Russia to Begin Producing Power from Coal Bed Methane

The first coal-bed-methane (CBM) to energy project in Russia celebrated its grand opening at Kuzbasskaya Energosetevaya Compania’s Talda site, located near Kemerovo. The gas comes from test drills that Gazprom, one of the world’s largest energy companies is conducting to capture the huge reserves of CBM in this traditional coal mining region. A Jenbacher gas engine from GE (NYSE: GE) uses the gas to provide electricity, which is ultimately sold to the grid. This project is part of a broader GE strategy to invest in resource rich regions like Russia to respond quicker to customer needs, and it also helps support Russia’s environmental and energy efficiency goals.

In addition, the aim of the Kemerovo administration is to encourage active coal mines in the region to collect the gas prior, during and after coaling operations to a larger extent. This not only will help to increase mine safety, but also will provide additional revenues to the coal mining companies. The project will contribute to improving the environmental safety and energy efficiency in Russia.

“GE’s innovative technology allows us to turn a previously environmentally harmful gas into a safer, useful fuel to produce energy for our customers in a more cost-effective manner,” said Peter Kuruch—CEO of Kuzbasskaya Energosetevaya Compania. “GE’s ability to install and start-up the engine in a short timeframe—2.5 months—along with the company’s vast expertise in this industry were main reasons we chose them for this important project.”

A 1-megawatt (MW), J320 Jenbacher gas engine from GE powers this project. The contract was awarded in September 2010 to INTMA, GE’s official distributor and service provider in Russia for its Jenbacher product line.

GE’s J320 gas engine technology has been successfully used in power projects from various types of coal seam gases (coal-mine-methane, abandoned-mine-methane and CBM) around the world. Currently GE has Jenbacher units with a total capacity of more than 400 MW running on this type of gas. The engines have the potential to generate more than 3 million MWh of electricity per year—saving the equivalent of 830 million cubic meters of natural gas a year.

“The flexibility of GE's Jenbacher technology will enable our customer to utilize methane that would otherwise be released from the mine into the atmosphere and convert it into valuable heat and electric power. This also will reduce CO2 emissions by around 30,000 tons a year,” said Rod Christie, GE Energy president for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia & CIS. “This project embodies the spirit of GE's ecomagination initiative, demonstrating that successful business solutions also can be environmentally responsible.”

CBM gas occurs naturally within coal deposits and is composed largely of methane, the principal component of natural gas. Compared to natural gas, CBM even burns a little more efficiently and thus can serve as a valuable alternative for natural gas on a global base.

The Kemerovo plant opening continues a series of recent actions in GE’s energy business over the past several months aimed at growing its overall presence in the global coal mining and energy space in general.

On November 5, 2010, GE announced that it signed a memorandum of understanding with Indonesia’s leading coal bed methane company, Ephindo, to develop a pilot power generation plant that will tap into the country’s vast reserves of coal methane gas to produce electricity using cleaner burning power generation technology. The project will use GE’s Jenbacher gas engine technology.

Similar to this first-of-its-kind project in Russia, GE recently was awarded an order for one of its J420 units to power the first Kazakh Coal Mine Methane (CMM) project in the Arcelor Mittal Lenina Mine in Temirtau. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the environmental, safety and economic benefits of CMM utilization to other mining operations in Kazakhstan. This project was awarded through INTMA, which is GE’s Jenbacher distributor and service provider that works as an engineering procurement company in Kazakhstan and in CIS region.

In June 2010, GE announced that it has developed the world’s first two-stage turbocharged gas engine and is applying this game-changing technology to its Jenbacher J624 platform. The new engine provides significant output and efficiency increases compared to the single turbocharged version and is particularly well-suited for operation in hot environments and combined heat and power (CHP) applications. The J624 two-stage turbocharged technology will play a major part in GE’s future CBM power project opportunities in many countries such as Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and others.

Source : Communiqué GE

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