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CIT receives grant to improve gas monitoring in coal mines

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The Center for Innovative Technology has received a $200,000 award from the Small Business Administration to improve the monitoring of dangerous gas levels in underground mines.

CIT will work with two Virginia companies, Innovative Wireless Technologies of Forest and Pyott-Boone Electronics of Tazewell, on the two-year project. In 2010, the team developed a system for remote sensing of carbon monoxide.

Under the award, the team will adapt methane and oxygen sensors and wireless communication systems to provide continuous , remote sensing of dangerous levels of gas in underground coal mines .

“As we work towards more energy independence, coal mining will become increasingly important, especially in Southwest Virginia and our neighboring states,” Peter Jobse, CIT president and CEO said in a statement. “We are proud to advance innovation and technologies like the ones being pursued with our mine safety team that provide safe working environments for our coal miners.”

The system would detect signs of poor ventilation and methane links early.

In April 2010, an explosion in a West Virginia owned by Massey Energy Co. mine killed 29 miners. The cause of the explosion is ongoing, but high levels of methane were found in the mine.

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