The ideal development for underground mining environment is to replace diesel engine operated equipment with BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles). Normet is already the true leader in making BEV a reality and customers all over the world in both mining and tunnelling has shown substantial interest in our new products.
However, not all customers area ready to change into BEV vehicles right away. This has to do with specific conditions at each mine, and also their own strategy on how to convert mines into fully electric. It takes time and Normet has understood from a few leading mining customers that they are looking for other systems that will help them with the transition. Many mines are located in remote areas with no or poor availability of fuel qualities required for the emission-friendly Tier 4 and 5 diesel engines. The fuel quality is unfortunately only suitable for Tier 2 and 3 engines. Those engines by natural reasons produce more emissions and requires a much higher ventilation air volumes in the mines, to keep the working environment at acceptable levels. Apart from the diesel fuel itself, another very high contributor in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for equipment, is the electrical power needed to run ventilation systems inside the underground mine.
Diesel engine emissions consist mainly of two hazardous components - PM (Particle Matters) and NOx (Nitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide). Both these components are very unhealthy for human beings, and in order to keep the levels low enough, the mine needs to install huge ventilation systems, to ensure that fresh clean air is diluting the high concentration of PM and NOx. Large air volumes in combination with very high pressure increase in the ventilation fans, to ensure that also the deepest parts of the mine is being ventilated well, means high power fan motors and subsequent power consumption.
By offering combined Diesel Particle Filters (DPF) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems, Normet is giving mines the chance to highly improve air quality in the mine, by effectively removing up to 90 - 95% of the emissions. That reduction will heavily impact the needs for ventilation air flow and after installation of the combined DPF/SCR system, the mine may reduce the ventilation air flow and hence the power consumption, but still being able to maintain the working environment at a better level.
It is important to point out that the mines need to think both on particles and NOx. The common understanding is that what is visible (soot particles) is what is most dangerous. However the NOx is an even bigger problem to health, and therefore the right approach is to look at the combined emission contribution from both particles and NOx. A simple particle filter (DPF) will be able to take care of one problem, while leaving the NOx to still expose the employees to dangerous emissions. The key to the solution is the combined Normet SCR/DPF filtration system.
Another interesting Upgrade and Modernisation product that Normet offers is High Voltage Electro Hydraulic Power Packs, that could be both installed on the machines or as stand-alone portable units. By using these power packs, the machines do not need to use the diesel engines for activities like concrete-spraying, scaling, charging, lifting or concrete-supply. This in combination with DPF/SCR systems will further improve the air quality inside the mine or tunnel, and subsequently be a safer working environment.
Please contact your nearest Normet office for more details and for advice on how to ensure a more sustainable and healthy work environment for your underground employees.