As companies look to improve safety in mining, BMT is partnering with Skill Pro Services Pty Ltd in Australia to develop a new way of suppressing coal dust explosions. The innovative Active Barrier (AB) technology has the potential to revolutionise safety in the mining industry and recently picked up an excellence award from ACARP (Australian Coal Association Research Program).
The prototype AB system was first tested in August 2012, using the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s experimental tunnel in Kloppersbos, South Africa. This system could play an integral role in enhancing the future safety of coal miners.
Coal dust explosions have historically been the primary cause of fatalities within underground coal mines. Even today, despite the use of various passive countermeasures, these explosions cause many deaths worldwide.
David Proud, Business Development Manager for BMT WBM’s Machinery group commented that, “using a sensor to detect the approaching coal dust deflagration, the Active Barrier system successfully injected 120 litres of water within 250 milliseconds in order to suppress the explosion, as was predicted by BMT WBM’s computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling. This is a ground breaking development – one which could help to mitigate the risks of coal dust explosions occurring in underground coal mines.”
BMT WBM has been modelling the physics and chemistry involved in the entrainment, devolatilisation and combustion of the coal dust particles and the injection and vaporisation of the suppressant. CFD was also used to simulate a range of designs for the prototype suppression device, in order to arrive at a practical and reliable experimental unit. SkillPro designed the final test apparatus and managed the test programme.
The ACARP Underground R&D committee has recently awarded the SkillPro/BMT WBM team an excellence award for the research and development undertaken on the Active Barrier project.
David Humphreys, SkillPro’s Manager of the Active Barrier project said that “a zero harm approach remains top priority for mining companies. SkillPro and BMT WBM are committed to helping their customers achieve this through the development of a range of innovative systems such as the Active Barrier. The success of the programme is another huge leap forward.”
Adapted from press release by Samuel Dodson
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/21052013/new_technology_suppresses_coal_dust_explosion_203/