Mining Publication: Technology News 514 - The Air Quantity Estimator (AQE): A New Computer Software Tool for Large-opening Mine Ventilation Planning
In 2002, regulatory standards were enacted in the United States that limit the allowable diesel particulate matter (DPM) concentrations in underground mines. Mine operators have several engineering controls available to reduce DPM emissions from engine exhaust, including the use of catalytic converters, filters, low-sulfur fuel, and cleaner burning engines. In addition, administrative controls, such as regulating the length of time a diesel-powered vehicle operates underground, may also effectively reduce DPM concentrations. Finally, DPM concentrations can be reduced by increasing the overall ventilation airflow in the mine. Increased ventilation airflow can be achieved by installing large-volume fans and using stoppings or auxiliary fans to direct this ventilation air to the working face of the mine. To help mine operators evaluate their site-specific conditions for DPM control as part of the mine planning process, NIOSH engineers have developed a computer software tool called the Air Quantity Estimator (AQE). The AQE addresses the ventilation needs of large-opening (typically at least 40-ft-wide and 20-ft-high) metal/nonmetal mines.