Coalbed methane development is an important way to effectively realize a source of clean energy and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases. However, due to the low permeability of coal seams, the development of coalbed methane in China has encountered substantial barriers. Protective layer mining can efficiently minimize in situ stress and increase coal seam permeability, thus improving gas drainage and avoiding gas disasters. This study analyzed the characteristics of gas migration and the change in permeability during the in situ stress releasing process through experiments and numerical simulation to study the gas drainage effect of a coal mine in an unloaded coal seam under specific geological conditions. First, a stress–strain-seepage coupled test of coal was carried out, and the evolution features of coal permeability during stress loading and unloading processes were investigated. Second, experimental results were used to develop a mathematical model of coal seepage under mining unloading conditions. Finally, a numerical model was developed based on the real geological conditions of the Wulan coal mine to explore the characteristics of in situ stress release and permeability evolution, as well as the gas drainage process in an unloaded coal seam. By combining protective layer mining and gas drainage technology, the risk of gas outburst is significantly reduced.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2022) 39:1027–1043, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-022-00584-2