Hearing Highlights Potential of Coal Mine Methane Capture Technology

DENVER -- The latest in a series of Statehouse hearings highlighting Colorado’s vast and diverse energy portfolio on Thursday focused on the huge untapped potential of coal mine methane, a potent “greenhouse gas” that can be captured and resold as natural gas with the help of emerging technology, according to Tom Vessels, President and CEO of Vessels Oil and Gas Company.

The company’s technology captures and converts coal mine methane into utility-quality natural gas and electricity. Vessels told the Senate Select Committee on Energy and Environment, chaired by Grand Junction Republican Ray Scott, that capturing these emissions is the equivalent of removing 23,000 cars annually from America’s highways.  

"Coal Mine Methane capture has enormous potential for both energy development and tackling climate change, inside Colorado and throughout the country,” Vessels said. “Nations like China and Germany have been using this technology to that end for years and it is high time America utilize this resource for our energy needs on a larger scale."

Also presenting to the committee were Howard Geller of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, David Mooney of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Matthew Crosby of City Now Utility Options. They discussed ways to make “renewables” like wind and solar power more prominent and efficient, while addressing storage issues and marketing strategies.

Scott in this closing remarks voiced frustration with XCEL Energy, also known as the Public Service Company of Colorado, which repeatedly was mentioned by those testifying but refused an invitation to address the panel. Scott said he hoped XCEL was paying close attention to the presentations, even if it was for some reason reluctant to participate. 

“What we’re trying to do here is learn, understand—not convict, and I’m very disappointed in the fact that they refused to attend today,” said Scott.

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