Undesorbable residual gas in coal seams and its influence on gas drainage

Wang Gongda

Abstract

The definition of “residual gas” can be found in different scenarios, such as the “fast” and “slow” desorption methods of measuring gas content and the sorption hysteresis test and gas management of coal mines, however, its meaning varies a lot in different contexts. The main aim of this paper is to discuss the existence of truly undesorbable residual gas in coal seam conditions and its impacts on sorption model and gas drainage efficiency. We believe the undesorbable residual gas does exist due to the observation of the extended slow desorption test and the sorption hysteresis test. The origin of undesorbable residual gas may be because of the inaccessible (closed or semi-closed) pores. Some gas molecules produced during coalification are stored in these inaccessible pores, since the coal is relatively intact in the coal seam condition, these gas molecules cannot escape during natural desorption and then create the undesorbable residual gas. Based on the existing adsorption models, we propose the improved desorption versions by taking into consideration the role of residual gas. By numerically simulating a gas drainage case, the gas contents after different drainage times are studied to understand the influence of residual gas content on gas drainage. The results indicate that the influence starts to be obvious even when the total gas content is at a high level, and the impact becomes more and more apparent with increasing drainage time. Our study shows that the existence of residual gas will impede the gas drainage and the total amount of recoverable coal seam methane may be less than expected.

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