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A field study of US longwall coal mine ventilation and bleeder performance.

Schatzel SJ; Krog RB; Dougherty H
2011 SME Annual Meeting, February 27 - March 2, Denver, Colorado, Preprint 11-013. Englewood, CO: Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc., 2011 Feb; :1-6
Longwall coal mine operators in the US are required to ventilate multi-panel longwall districts but may have little or no knowledge about what happens to the ventilation air between the inlet evaluation points (IEPs), bleeder evaluation points (BEPs), and bleeder fans. The effectiveness of bleeder performance can directly influence the ability of a ventilation system to remove and dilute coal bed methane emissions. Consequently, the performance of coal mine bleeders is an important aspect of underground worker safety. U.S. coal mining stakeholders have acknowledged their belief that the T- junction split at the longwall face tailgate corner is very important in controlling the distribution of ventilation air. The percentage of air directed inby towards the bleeders and bleeder fan and outby to the submains is often not well-defined and can vary over the life of a longwall panel. To obtain direct measurements of bleeder performance, a tracer gas, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), was released into the intake air stream along the panline of active longwall panels and in the bleeder/gob ventilation air inlets of an inactive panel. Tracer gas sampling was conducted underground using tube bundles attached to permissible vacuum pumps in the gateroads, former gateroads, and bleeders. Surface tracer gas monitoring was also conducted from operating gob boreholes and from bleeder fans. Testing was performed on multiple longwall panels which included various phases of longwall development and variable path lengths of ventilation air transport to bleeder fan installations. The applied methodology defines and describes coal bed gas pathways, rates, and volumes of movement at the bleeder/gob interfaces, and indicates flow rates for air/gas mixtures within these gobs. These findings are reported for three stages of longwall extraction using direct field-based measurements. Changes in the T-junction ventilation air distribution over the life of a longwall panel and its variable effect on panel ventilation airflow are discussed. These findings will assess the effectiveness of commonly applied ventilation strategies for improving air distribution and ventilation controls to meet statutory requirements and to achieve the desired ventilation patterns through multiple phases of longwall panel extraction.
Mining-industry; Underground-mining; Ventilation; Methanes; Methane-control; Air-flow; Air-monitoring; Sampling; Longwall-mining; Coal-mining
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
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NIOSH Division
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2011 SME Annual Meeting, February 27 - March 2, Denver, Colorado, Preprint 11-013
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division