India, US to form coal methane information centre

India, US to form coal methane information centre

India and the US have decided to enhance their clean energy cooperation by establishing a clearing house to act as a central point of information on coal bed and coal mine methane projects in India.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with other US federal partners, is providing assistance in the development of the information centre under the Methane to Markets Partnership launched by US President George W. Bush in Nov 2004.

‘This clearing house will provide valuable information to potential investors and project developers interested in coal bed and coal mine methane projects in India,’ William L. Wehrum, EPA acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation and chair of the Methane to Markets Steering Committee, said Thursday.

‘This commitment represents yet another initiative between the US and India that will support clean development and energy security,’ he said.

The clearing house will be the initial point of contact for domestic and international investors and will effectively promote the development of coal bed and coal mine methane projects in India.

EPA has successfully established coal bed methane clearing houses in several other countries including China, Russia and Ukraine.

‘India and the US are working together to strengthen our collaboration and diversify our efforts to effectively use all of our energy resources,’ said R.S. Jassal, deputy chief of mission at the Indian embassy.

‘The clearing house will help us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase our energy generating capacity, and to increase private investment, both foreign and domestic,’ he said.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that can be recovered and used as a clean energy source. Coal bed methane is methane contained in coal seams.

Coal mine methane refers to gas that is released from the coal seams during the process of coal mining. Methane in coal seams presents a critical danger for mine safety as it can cause explosions.

The Methane to Markets Partnership, launched by Bush in November 2004, is a public-private partnership to advance methane recovery and use projects in four sectors: agriculture, coal mines, landfills, and oil and natural gas systems.

More than 350 organisations from around the world have made commitments to this partnership. The US has committed up to $53 million to this initiative over the next five years.

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