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Innovative method of methane utilization gains recognition abroad

A team of scientists from the Institute of Chemical Engineering of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Gliwice has developed a new method of methane recovery from the coal mine ventilation air. The TFRR technology – Thermal Flow Reversal Reactor – does not cause the formation of toxic gases such as nitrogen oxides or carbon monoxide.

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Photo Caption: Thermal Reversing Reactor. Photo by Anna Pawlaczyk-Kurek

Methane is the second most important factor in rising global temperature after CO2. The major source of non-biological greenhouse gas emissions is from burning fossil fuels and their extraction. Large quantities of methane are emitted to the atmosphere from the ventilation shafts of hard coal mines. It is estimated that about 900 million m3 of methane is released annually from Polish mines alone, 70 % of which is methane-air mixture. Methane released into the atmosphere is not only wasted as a valuable source of energy, but above all increases the greenhouse effect.

TFRR technology

"Such a mixture might be used as an alternative fuel in the production of energy using reverse combustion technologies" – emphasizes Dr. Eng. Krzysztof Gosiewski from the PAS Institute of Chemical in Gliwice. A team of scientists and engineers under his supervision has developed an innovative TFRR technology that allows to utilize ventilation air methane (VAM) with simultaneous heat recovery. This technology enables the combustion of low-concentration methane-air mixtures at temperatures that do not cause the formation of toxic gases such as nitrogen oxides or carbon monoxide.

TFRR technology operates at low methane concentrations (around 0.2%), which means that no additional fuel has to be used to perform the reaction. Moreover, if the concentration of this gas mixture exceeds 0.4%, we can not only utilize VAM, but also recover heat generated during this reaction and use it for other purposes.

Awards

The TFRR technology, developed at the PAS Institute of Chemical Engineering in Gliwice, was awarded a gold medal at the XIII International Invention and Innovation Show and Competition INTARG®2020 Online, as well as a gold medal and a special award at the International Invention and Trade Expo 2020 Online in London.