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Australia’s coal-fired region produces 1.6 tons of methane a year, research has found


Australia’s highest coal-fired power plant emits methane equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions of 30m high-speed vehicles, according to a new study using satellite.

A study by a team of Kayrros energy experts shows the Bowen Basin, which crosses the border between the regions of New South Wales and Queensland, produced about 1.6m tons per year of methane in 2019 and 2020.

Considering the energy of methane as a greenhouse gas, the emissions are equivalent to 134m tons of carbon dioxide per year – similar to the CO2 emissions of Central Europe or 30m fire engines.

The Bowen Basin is the world’s largest coal-producing region, with Anglo American and BHP leading the way. Coal is one of the most important raw materials in the production of iron.

Methane gas is the second largest source of global warming, after carbon dioxide. They have grown faster than scientists expected, Lots of history last year.

Recognizing this loss can help governments, investors and individuals to take responsibility for their actions accelerate air reduction.

Methane emissions, or plums, can come from a variety of sources, including oil and gas, landfills, wetlands and livestock. Mining also produces methane, with many of the industrial forces produced during coal mining.

While oil and gas companies are facing challenges to reduce methane emissions, the mining industry has not been monitored even though many large companies are committed to achieving zero emissions by 2050.

Lack of accurate data has been a hindrance, but using a satellite from the European Space Agency, Kayrros said it could measure methane emissions in the Bowen Basin and monitor their changes over time.

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Bryce Kelly, an associate professor at the University of New South Wales, said the methane comparison of satellite emissions was important because they showed “where we should look for costs to reduce or reduce emissions”.

However, Kelly said Kayrros’ report needed to be confirmed from very high altitude and low-flying aviation education. “We have less information to investigate the results because there is a lack of information in the community and a lack of independence and monitoring,” he said.

Mining companies have developed methane production systems, which can be used to generate electricity locally or to sell local electricity, Kayrros said. This involves dumping methane in charcoal bags before collapsing and obtaining air from a ventilator.

Anglo American says it took up a large portion of methane gas. BHP was not immediately available for comment.

Workers in the Bowen Basin have already seized half of the methane emissions through these channels. If sent to a larger scale, the recording methods could reduce methane emissions by 650,000 tons per year without much cost, equivalent to removing 12m of traffic on the road.

“At a cost of around tens of millions of dollars, in a few years you could reduce some of the 50m tons of CO2 equivalent per year,” said Christian Lelong, Kayrros environmental manager and author. “For me, it’s very difficult to take advantage of a reduction opportunity based on size and cost.”


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