Coal mine to save cash with power from wasted methane

The last deep coal mine in Wales is to save ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds a year’ by generating its electricity from underground methane gas that it currently has to release into the atmosphere. The Tower Colliery in South Wales, the only pit in Britain owned by its miners, has signed a deal with Welsh […]

The last deep coal mine in Wales is to save ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds a year’ by generating its electricity from underground methane gas that it currently has to release into the atmosphere.

The Tower Colliery in South Wales, the only pit in Britain owned by its miners, has signed a deal with Welsh water and power utility Hyder, which will build and operate a £3m methane-burning plant on the site.

Andrew Padmore, commercial manager for Hyder Industrial, said the deal would offer the colliery ‘savings in the order of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year’ on its electricity bills, because the 6.5MW plant would have a free source of fuel.

He explained that Hyder would remove dust and moisture from the gas, that currently has to be vented to the atmosphere for safety reasons, and use it to fire the five-unit plant.

Padmore said the plant, to be completed in 1999, would meet virtually all the colliery’s electricity needs and at times should have a surplus to sell to the local grid.