West Virginia University is creating a model to determine the probability of coal mine fires and explosions.
The university's Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources is creating the model. The 15-month study will also delve into the roles of moisture and rock and coal dust.
Experiments will be conducted at a combustion laboratory at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.
The Alpha Foundation awarded the project a $150,000 grant.
The foundation was formed in 2011 in an agreement with federal justice officials and the U.S. attorney's office. Alpha Natural Resources Inc. purchased Massey Energy Inc. in 2011. Massey owned the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia where 29 men died in a 2010 explosion.
Alpha agreed to form the foundation and fund $48 million in mine safety projects.