AIR2VOLTS – Intrinsically Safe Underground Mine Power
Posted on August 29th, 2022
Australian Legislation states that the real time gas monitoring systems in underground coal mines, shall not only have its normal electric supply, but shall also have a backup means of electric supply, in the event of its primary supply being lost. This is the basis of the presently used electrically powered uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) with battery backup.
With the advancement of technology, the reliance on mine primary electrical reticulation and backup UPS power, is now also ensconced into the operation and deployment of mine digital communications and Wi-Fi tracking networks, and other digital monitoring devices for condition and environmental monitoring underground, in areas of the mine that would otherwise not require or have access to mine electric power.
This remains to be a challenging factor for digital technology, restricting it’s use beyond areas of accessible electrical power reticulation.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
- Numerous explosion risk mitigation controls are in place for tripping localized sections of mine power or total mains power in an underground coal mine, when increased levels of methane are detected or ventilation pressure levels drop. This has the secondary effect of creating an unreliable power source for monitoring, tracking and communications devices, relied on during normal operations, emergency response or mine disasters.
- Critical monitoring, tracking and communications equipment, is reduced to UPS battery life operation, when mains power is lost or tripped and required the most.
- Increased hazards and risk with high, medium, and low voltage electrical reticulation in explosion risk zones, for the sole purpose of powering intrinsically safe low power devices.
- Limited available or accessible electrical reticulation in areas of the mine, restricting the use of technology to the minimum required by legislation or operational requirements. Common reasons for the lack of electrical reticulation in areas of an underground coal mine are –
- Geographically or otherwise uneconomic to install and maintain.
- Unable to satisfy safety laws and regulations (Ex compliance); or
- Required for a short duration not justifiable for the added risk and cost of installation.
WHO HAS THE PROBLEM?
This is a global underground coal mining dilemma, that to date remains unchecked due to the technology not being available or developed.
The AIR2VOLTSTM solution has been developed to be firstly certified for offer to the Australian Underground Coal Mining Industry.
WHY SHOULD THIS PROBLEM BE SOLVED?
- Reduced hazards and risk with reduced electrical reticulation in hazardous atmospheres.
- Alternative and extended operation of a reliable power supply for lifesaving monitoring, tracking and communications equipment underground, during and after mine emergencies, emergency response or power outages.
- Peace of mind utilising an Intrinsically Safe Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), that can be installed and remain fully operational in an ERZ 0 atmosphere, without the reliance of mains power.
- Eliminate Wi-Fi “blackspots” adding to mine unscheduled downtime, with increased Wi-Fi tracking communications ability, between key mine maintenance or statutory personnel, during operational breakdowns or mine statutory inspection situations.
- Availability and reliability of an underground mines compressed air reticulation, in comparison to underground electrical power reticulations many interlock trip functions and exposure to nuisance trips.
- Extensive location and life of mine installation of compressed air reticulation by nature of the methods of mining.
- Reduced capital and operational expenses with the costs associated with electrical reticulation and equipment, installation, and maintenance.
- Harnessing the underutilised energy source of compressed air in underground mining, in replacement of expensive and complicated HV electrical reticulation, to power low energy devices for monitoring and communications.
- Allowing the ability to rethink the way a mines electrical infrastructure is planned and deployed.
- Reduction in a mines embodied energy and carbon footprint with reduced electrical infrastructure.
- Maximising the benefits of technology for emergency preparedness and response.
- Extended ability to monitor a mines environmental condition allowing for more informed decisions operationally and for matters health and safety.
Download now the AIR2VOLTSTM Technical Description Presentation.