Mining Contract: Refinement of and Integration of New Features into a Prototype for Long-Term and Post-Event Environmental Monitoring in Remote Areas of the Mine
As underground mine development can stretch for miles, it can be impractical and cost-prohibitive to extend a wired monitoring system to measure and relay atmospheric information, particularly to remote or infrequently traveled areas of a mine. However, after a mine incident, there is great benefit in knowing what the atmospheric and environmental conditions are in these remote areas in order to chart escape routes, evaluate rescue options, or plan when it is safe to re-enter the mine. A remote sensing system would give emergency responders and mine operators the data they need to make the best decisions.
Contract Status & Impact
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The underground coal mining sector could greatly benefit from employing a low-maintenance atmospheric monitoring system that doesn’t need to be linked to an external power source or a communications cable in order to function and relay gas exposure information back to the surface. Additionally, in order to reduce personnel exposure and maintenance overhead for such a system, it should contain methods for calibrating the sensors without a mine worker present, and be powered by a long-life battery.
An existing prototype of a wireless, battery-powered, long-lasting sensing system is undergoing further refinement and adjustments. Through this contract, SenSevere, LLC, will improve the prototype’s communication system to enable self-configuration and self-healing, and develop a means for monthly autocalibration of the sensors—all on a battery-powered wireless repeater network.
Ultimately, this contract is designed to yield a refined and well-tested prototype that is ready for MSHA evaluation in order to be certified and deployed in operating mines.