Hoosier Energy, an Indiana generation and transmission cooperative that that serves 18 distribution co-ops in Indiana and Illinois will soon be one of the first to generate power using coal bed methane. No mining or scrubbing is needed and the release of carbon dioxide is cut in half.
Methane is produced by bacteria in coal beds. It has been tapped before and added to natural gas pipelines, but Hoosier Energy will be using it to generate 28 MW of electricity.
If released, methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Using it for electricity generation on site is considered by some to be one potential energy solution for the U.S., which has 23 percent of the world’s coal reserves. Unfortunately not all coal beds are suitable for coal bed methane extraction. For those that would work it could provide a clean use of our coal resources.