Field trials of nitrogen injection enhanced gas drainage in hard-to-drain coal seam by using underground in-seam (UIS) boreholes

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Three stages of nitrogen (N2) injection enhanced gas drainage through underground in-seam boreholes were carried out in a coal mine located in the southern Sydney basin. Due to the high CO2 content and low permeability, hard-to-drain coals were encountered during the excavation process in this coal mine. Two parallel in-seam boreholes (the length of 36 m, the diameter of 96 mm and the borehole space of 5 m) were drilled on the rib of the gateroad. A total of ten-cylinder packs of nitrogen (approximately 1500 m3) were injected into the coal seam. Different nitrogen injection pressures (150 KPa, 250 KPa, 350 KPa and 450 KPa) and injection methods (continuous injection and cyclic injection) were employed. Gas flow rates and gas compositions from the production borehole were recorded during and after the nitrogen injection process. It was observed that gas breakthrough was tightly related to the nitrogen injection pressure. The higher injection pressure was, the shorter breakthrough time was. Specifically, no gas breakthrough was obtained when the injection pressure was 150 KPa. The minimum of breakthrough time was 35 min when 450 KPa's injection pressure was employed. Strong post-injection effect was monitored after each stage of injection and it was affected by the volume of the injected nitrogen. Under the current injection conditions, the performances of different injection methods were like each other, which was out of our expectation. After the injections, the results of cores showed that less than 5 % of the total injected nitrogen was remained in the coal seam. The coal seam gas content dropped 0.99–1.65 m3/t after these three stages of injection. All these findings provide implications and guidance not only for laboratory experiment and numerical modelling, but also for the field application of this new technology.

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National Natural Science Foundation of China



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