Role of coal type and rank on methane sorption characteristics of Bowen Basin, Australia coals

Chikatamarla Laxminarayana; Peter J Crosdale

Coalseam Gas Research Institute, School of Earth Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia


The effect of coal composition, particularly the organic fraction, upon gas sorption has been investigated for Bowen Basin and Sydney Basin, Australia coals. Maceral composition influences on gas retention and release were investigated using isorank pairs of hand-picked bright and dull coal in the rank range of high volatile bituminous (0.78% Ro max) to anthracite (3.01% Ro max). Adsorption isotherm results of dry coals indicated that Langmuir volume (VL) for bright and dull coal types followed discrete, second-order polynomial trends with increasing rank. Bright coals had a minimum VL at 1.72% Ro max and dull coals had a minimum VL at 1.17% Ro max. At low rank, VL was greater in bright coal by about 10 cm3/g, but as rank increased, the bright and dull trends converged and crossed at 1.65% Ro max. At ranks higher than 1.65% Ro max, both bright and dull coals followed similar trends. These competing trends mean that the importance of maceral composition on VL varies according to rank. In high volatile bituminous coals, increases in vitrinite content are associated with increases in adsorption capacity. At ranks higher than medium to low volatile bituminous, changes in maceral composition may exert relatively little influence on adsorption capacity. The Langmuir pressure (PL) showed a strong relationship of decreasing PL with increasing rank, which was not related to coal type. It is suggested that the observed trend is related to a decrease in the heterogeneity of the pore surfaces, and subsequent increased coverage by the adsorbate, as coal rank increases. Desorption rate studies on crushed samples show that dull coals desorb more rapidly than bright coals and that desorption rate is also a function of rank. Coals of lower rank have higher effective diffusivities. Mineral matter was found to have no influence on desorption rate of these finely crushed samples. The evolution of the coal pore structure with changing rank is implicated in diffusion rate differences.


coalbed methane; methane adsorption; desorption rate; coal rank; coal type

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