Methane Emissions from Superemitting Coal Mines in Australia Quantified Using TROPOMI Satellite Observations

Pankaj Sadavarte*, Sudhanshu Pandey, Joannes D. Maasakkers, Alba Lorente, Tobias Borsdorff, Hugo Denier van der Gon, Sander Houweling, Ilse Aben

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Two years of satellite observations were used to quantify methane emissions from coal mines in Queensland, the largest coal-producing state in Australia. The six analyzed surface and underground coal mines are estimated to emit 570 ± 98 Gg a–1 in 2018–2019. Together, they account for 7% of the national coal production while emitting 55 ± 10% of the reported methane emission from coal mining in Australia. Our results indicate that for two of the three locations, our satellite-based estimates are significantly higher than reported to the Australian government. Most remarkably, 40% of the quantified emission came from a single surface mine (Hail Creek) located in a methane-rich coal basin. Our findings call for increased monitoring and investment in methane recovery technologies for both surface and underground mines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16573-16580
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume55
Issue number24
Early online date29 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported through the GALES project (#15597) by the Dutch Technology Foundation STW, and the TROPOMI national program through NSO. P.S. and S.P. are funded through the GALES project (#15597) by the Dutch Technology Foundation STW, which is part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). A.L. and T.B. acknowledge funding from the TROPOMI national program through NSO.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society

Keywords

  • emission inventory
  • source rate
  • superemitters
  • surface mines
  • underground mines

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