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SUEK invests in emergency system at mine-powering substations

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World Coal,

SUEK is investing in its Kuzbass mines to equip substations with quick-response automatic power backup, aimed at improving their fault tolerance. The project costs over US$5 million.

The introduced quick response automatic backup activation (QABA) device was developed by Tavrida Electric, an international electrotechnical group, jointly with NPK ProMir (Russia). It is an innovative solution intended to be used specifically in the underground coal mining industry. Essentially, it is an array of interacting switches capable of differentiating between the emergency situations that require backup supply activation and the ones that do not. QABA’s proprietary algorithms ensure the response time of 5 - 12 msec. The total time needed to switch to the backup power supply does not exceed 35 - 40 msec. The system will be used to prevent interruptions in power supply to the main mine fans, pumps, and transportation chains caused by short-term decreases in the quality of electricity supplied by the power lines. This, in turn, prevents costly halts in the operation of industrial equipment. As a consequence, mining work safety improves, since even a short stoppage of the main fan requires enacting an emergency response plan that includes personnel evacuation. Also, lower starting currents and fewer machinery restarts help increase the service life of electric motors and transformers two or threefold.

“The QABA system significantly increases the fault tolerance and efficiency of power supply at our mines,” Alexander Nikonov, Director of SUEK’s Energy Management Department in Kuzbass, says. “According to our estimates, it takes on average at least an hour to resume power supply after a short-term outage. During all this time, the mine stands idle and incurs losses, which can amount to thousands of dollars. The introduction of QABA, which automatically restores normal operation in a split second and without human intervention, minimises the number of such outages.”

To date, QABA systems have been introduced at seven substations at the following mines: Ruban, Kirov, Polysaevskaya, Taldinskaya-Zapadnaya 1, Taldinskaya-Zapadnaya 2, Yalevsky and November 7th New (under construction). By the end of 2020, SUEK plans to install automatic backup power activation at all primary substations serving the company’s mines.

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