The first coalbed methane (CBM) to energy project in Russia celebrated its grand opening at Kuzbasskaya Energosetevaya Compania’s Talda site, located near Kemerovo. The gas comes from test drills that Gazprom is conducting to capture the huge reserves of CBM in this traditional coal mining region.

A Jenbacher gas engine from GE (NYSE: GE) uses the gas to provide electricity, which is ultimately sold to the grid. This project is part of a broader GE strategy to invest in resource rich regions like Russia to respond quicker to customer needs, and it also helps support Russia’s environmental and energy efficiency goals.

In addition, the aim of the Kemerovo administration is to encourage active coal mines in the region to collect the gas prior, during and after coaling operations to a larger extent. This not only will help to increase mine safety, but also will provide additional revenues to the coal mining companies. The project will contribute to improving the environmental safety and energy efficiency in Russia.

"GE’s innovative technology allows us to turn a previously environmentally harmful gas into a safer, useful fuel to produce energy for our customers in a more cost-effective manner," said Peter Kuruch, chief executive officer of Kuzbasskaya Energosetevaya Compania. "GE’s ability to install and start-up the engine in a short timeframe—2.5 months—along with the company’s vast expertise in this industry were main reasons we chose them for this important project."

A 1-megawatt (MW), J320 Jenbacher gas engine from GE powers this project. The contract was awarded in September 2010 to INTMA, GE’s official distributor and service provider in Russia for its Jenbacher product line.

"The flexibility of GE's Jenbacher technology will enable our customer to utilize methane that would otherwise be released from the mine into the atmosphere and convert it into valuable heat and electric power. This also will reduce CO2 emissions by around 30,000 tons a year," said Rod Christie, GE Energy president for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia & CIS. "This project embodies the spirit of GE's ecomagination initiative, demonstrating that successful business solutions also can be environmentally responsible."