On February 22, the Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet and the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) announced a collaborative project that will measure methane emissions from underground mine ventilation and other mine-related sources using a combination of aircraft, drones, and land vehicles. Developed in response to Kentucky’s new energy strategy, KYE3: Designs for a Resilient Economy, the project will use the data to explore how methane may be captured for economic opportunities such as generating electricity or taking the place of natural gas or carbon markets.
Reducing methane emissions requires an accurate measurement. But because sources of methane emissions are so numerous and widespread, measurements at individual sites are a challenge. KGS geologists, working in the fall of 2021 with GHGSat, Inc. and the University of Kentucky’s Department of Chemistry and College of Engineering, began measuring methane emissions from 22 active and inactive mines in the Appalachian Basin of eastern Kentucky and Illinois Basin in western Kentucky. The research team will complete its measurements in the first part of 2022, and the results will be available to the public in a digital map by early summer.