After a general analysis regarding the concept of coal "cleat system", its genetic origin and practical applications to coalbed methane (CBM) commercial production and to CO2 geological sequestration projects, the authors have developed a method to answer, quickly and accurately in accordance with the industrial practice and needs, the following yet unanswered questions: (1) how to define the spatial orientation of the different classes of cleats presented in a coal seamand (2) how to determine the frequency of their connectivites. The new available and presented techniques to answer these questions have a strong computer based tool (geographic information system, GIS), able to build a complete georeferentiated database, which will allow to three-dimensionally locate the laboratory samples in the coalfield. It will also allow to better understand the coal cleat system and consequently to recognize the best pathways to gas flow through the coal seam. Such knowledge is considered crucial for understanding what is likely to be the most efficient opening of cleat network, then allowing the injection with the right spatial orientation, of pressurized fluids in order to directly drain the maximum amount of gas flow to a CBM exploitation well. The method is also applicable to the CO2 geological sequestration technologies and operations corresponding to the injection of CO2 sequestered from industrial plants in coal seams of abandoned coal mines or deep coal seams. © 2014 Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Rodrigues, C. F., Laiginhas, C., Fernandes, M., Lemos de Sousa, M. J., & Dinis, M. A. P. (2014). The coal cleat system: A new approach to its study. Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, 6(3), 208–218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrmge.2014.03.005