Diesel-powered equipment is widely used in underground metal and nonmetal mines (m/nm), and its use is increasing in underground coal mines. However, there is concern over problems that may be associated with the inhalation of diesel exhaust, especially diesel particulate matter (dpm), or soot. To minimize dpm exposure, the U.S. Bureau of Mines conducted laboratory tests of a ceramic diesel particulate filter (dpf) and demonstrated that up to 90 pct of the dpm can be removed from the exhaust. Currently, the dpf cannot be used safely in designated areas of gassy mines where explosive mixtures of gas or dust might be present. In response to this problem, a dry-type safety system was coupled with the dpf to form an integrated control system. The dry system replaces the conventional diesel exhaust-gas water scrubber to ensure safe performance of the dpf in mine areas where permissible equipment is required. A cooperative research project with several segments of the mining industry is underway to evaluate the integrated control system. The goals of the project are to determine the performance and durability both in the laboratory and underground, and to determine whether this integrated system will meet the needs of the mining industry. This report briefly overviews the safety and health issues associated with operating diesels underground, describes dpf technology and its applications in underground coal and m/nm mines, and describes an ongoing cooperative research project to evaluate the integrated dry system and dpf for coal mines.
Proc. Amc Minexpo Int'l '88; Am. Min. Congr., Washington, DC, 1988, PP. 89-98