Mining Contract: Adapting Remote Methane Leak Detector (RMLD) to Coal Miner Rescue
This contract will evaluate the practicality and permissibility of modern laser-based technology for remotely detecting and mapping potentially explosive methane accumulations under supported roof. This technology could be useful for monitoring methane in routine conditions, during deep cutting, and in mine rescue situations.
Contract Status & Impact
Remote methane detection using laser-based technology could be useful as a secondary method for detecting methane at the mine face, in deep cutting situations where the operator must remain away from the face under the supported roof, and in mine rescue situations. Previous work in this field was halted due to technology limitations, but recent advances in computing power, data acquisition and storage capabilities, range-finder technology, and most significantly, laser-based methane detection capability, have made remote detection a realistic option.
Physical Sciences, Inc., developed the Remote CH4 Detection technology for natural gas leak surveying. Like a lantern, the handheld, eye-safe, and Intrinsically Safe transceiver illuminates a distant surface with laser light and receives light scattered from that surface. Methane in the laser beam's path modulates the received laser power. This device was shown to work on coal surfaces coated with light-colored rock (limestone) dust at OMSHR's Safety Research Coal Mine (SRCM).
These technology developments and SRCM results, combined with a re-emergent industry demand for improved safety, warrant new research to evaluate the practicality of
- applying and making permissible a modern laser-based instrumentation to identify methane accumulations under supported roof,
- scanning the active mine face area from multiple locations and storing the acquired information, and
- processing the stored data using tomographic software to produce a visual 2-D representation of the methane cloud at the face.