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Mining Contract: Utilization of Booster Fans in Underground Coal Mines

Contract DetailValue
Contract #200-2009-30328
Start Date9/1/2009
Research Concept

This contract will research the use of booster fans in deep coal mines, where coal seams can have over 3,000 ft of overburden causing ventilation and ground control problems. The high-pressure fans currently used can be unsafe, but booster fans can be used to overcome these adverse conditions.

Program Area

Contract Status & Impact

Coal will continue to be the major source of energy in the United States. To cope with the growing demand, increased amounts of coal will inevitably come from deep underground mines. In some western U.S. mines, coal is extracted from seams covered with more than 3,000 ft of overburden. At these depths coal mining has encountered two new problems—ground control and ventilation. With increased depths, the gas emission and heat flow rates have also increased, requiring larger quantities of fresh air. Currently, high-pressure fans are used to supply these quantities. Higher pressure fans often induce larger losses of fresh air and create unsafe conditions. Booster fans can be used to overcome these adverse conditions by operating in series with a main fan and boost the air pressure of the ventilation air passing through it.

This contract will research the use of booster fans in deep coal mines.To accomplish this objective, the fan will be installed in a permanent stopping and equipped with airlock doors, a monitoring system, and interlocking devices between main and booster fan controls to continuously assess the operating conditions of the fan.

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