18 February 2008

The University of Queensland has established a milestone Cooperation Agreement with the RWTH Aachen University in the area of coalbed methane research and technologies.

The agreement was signed during a recent visit by a delegation from the State of North Rhine-Westfalia (NRW)in Germany, to Queensland, affirming an MOU on Clean Coal Technologies between the two states.

Professor Victor Rudolph, from UQ’s School of Engineering, said the State of NRW has existing underground coal mines at depths beyond 1000m and has a long history of technological expertise in geological assessment and development of deep coal.

“With the discontinuation of coal mining in Germany, the State of NRW and German industries are seeking opportunities to develop and exploit the vast coalbed methane (CBM) resources in NRW,” Professor Rudolph said.

“The RWTH Aachen is renowned for its expertise on coal technologies, particularly coal mine methane, abandoned mine methane and related adsorption science, as well as its long and close collaborations with industry and Government within NRW.”

Professor Rudolph said UQ has been researching coal methane technologies for more than 10 years, in support of Queensland’s successful and rapidly expanding CBM companies.

“A strategic alliance combining the research capabilities developed at RWTH Aachen and UQ to advance clean fuel technologies holds significant benefit for Queensland and NRW coalbed methane industries, particularly for tight and deep coal resources,” he said.

Professor Rudolph and Associate Professor Sue Golding, from the School of Physical Sciences, signed the agreement on behalf of UQ. Professor Peter Kukla, Director of the Geological Institute Head of Geology Department and Professor Axel Preusse, Director of the Institute for Mine Surveying, Mine Subsidence Engineering and Geophysics in Mining signed for RWTH Aachen.

“An immediate outcome was a joint technical workshop on CBM and Geosequestration Research during which it was agreed to develop a joint research project proposal by end of May 2008 supporting the CBM Muensterland project in NRW, which will involve also an exchange of students, staff and training opportunities,” Professor Rudolph said.

“In the longer term, it is envisioned that joint projects be expanded to include collaborative investigations of CO2 geosequestration into coal seams in Europe. The UQ team currently has a substantial research contract to investigate CO2 geosequestration in coals for the major Italian coal producer.”

Media inquiries: Professor Victor Rudolph (07 33654171).