UW Professor Compiles Coalbed Natural Gas Expertise in New Book

July 13, 2010

Coalbed natural gas expertise from UW and from around the world has been compiled into a single source by a University of Wyoming professor.

The 511-page Coalbed Natural Gas: Energy and Environment, published by Nova Science Publishers Inc., has 19 chapters written by authors invited by Professor K.J. Reddy.

"Wyoming has been at the research forefront of coalbed natural gas (CBNG) development for the last 10 to 12 years," says Reddy, who is in the Department of Renewable Resources in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "In recent years, CBNG has become prominent because of several environmental issues but also because it is a clean-burning fossil fuel compared to coal, oil or other fossil fuel. Its carbon footprint is small compared to other energy production."

The book examines aspects of CBNG from start to finish - water quantity, use, public education, geochemistry, water quality, environment and water management.

"There was a need for a source where all can access information for ideas about the processes they can use to manage water and the environment responsibly," he says.

Nova had invited Reddy to write the book based on his own research group's work and his work with the energy industry, but he says CBNG issues are so interdisciplinary he wanted others to contribute.

"I decided I should invite others for their expertise, not only from the U.S. but other countries where CBNG production is occurring," he says.

He also wanted to write the book to show UW's leadership in CBNG issues.

"We have so many faculty members working on coalbed methane issues," he says. "I wanted to show the leadership in how we are looking at the issues."

Although a resource for academia, the book's expertise is meant to be put to use, he says. "This has applications the industry could use to manage the water from the processes," he says. "It has the treatment technologies they can use. Those all depend on the economics of a company in how the company uses the water."

Reddy says the amount of water in Wyoming involved over the 15-20 years of the life of CBNG production is estimated at 3 billion cubic meters. "In a semi-arid environment, water is more of a valuable resource than anything else," he says. "We began looking into what is the geochemistry, water quality and beneficial uses of the water."

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