Skip directly to local search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

Mining Contract: Application of Extreme Power Line Communication Methods to Mine Environments

Contract DetailValue
Contract #200-2010-36005
Start Date9/13/2010
End Date6/13/2012
Research Concept

This contract will assess the suitability of current power line communication methods (used in nonmining applications) for underground coal mine communication, using mine electrical power distribution conductors as a system backbone.

Program Area

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is complete. To receive a copy of the final report, send a request to OMSHR@cdc.gov.

Electrical power cables are typically the most robust conductors found in underground mines; therefore, the use of power line carrier (PLC) techniques can potentially enhance a communication system’s ability to survive an adverse event such as a mine explosion or fire. PLC communication systems use electrical power distribution cables for voice and data transmission, and this contract assessed the suitability of this approach for underground coal mine power systems. Because power cables are part of the existing mine infrastructure, their use should result in cost savings for equipment and installation when compared to non-PLC communication systems. However, potential problems include frequency (bandwidth) limitations, power system noise, and high voltage safety issues.

This contract confirmed the technical feasibility of employing PLC techniques for voice and data communication over underground mine electrical power systems by designing and constructing an experimental PLC communication system and conducting in-mine tests. The system tested differs somewhat from PLC systems in non-mining applications, in that signals are carried on mine power system grounding conductors rather than individual power line phase conductors. This modification was due to safety concerns related to coupling onto high voltage conductors.

The research performed under this contract ultimately achieved reliable communication at 6 kb/s data rates over 5,000 ft of energized 12.4 kV mine power distribution cable at spread-spectrum center frequencies of 0.75 to 4 MHz, but had limited success over 10,000 ft of cable using an 8-kb/s data rate and 2-MHz center frequency.

Despite the system survivability and infrastructure cost advantages of PLC communication, the private sector is unlikely to commercialize this technology because there is not currently sufficient regulatory or market pressure to do so. The research under this contract, however, did establish PLC as a technically viable option for future systems targeting lower-cost primary (normal operation) communication systems for small mines, and high-survivability emergency systems for larger mines.

 
Contact Us:
  • Office of Mine Safety and Health (OMSHR)
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • New Hours of Operation
    8am-8pm ET/Monday-Friday
    Closed Holidays
  • omshr@cdc.gov
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #