Establishing Total Airflow Requirements for Underground Metal/Non-Metal Mines with Tier IV Diesel EquipmentBy MVS
Traditionally, airflow requirements for diesel equipment operating in underground environments such as mines and tunnels were determined by multiplying the vehicle power by a ventilation rate that was either mandated by regulations(s) or determined empirically from known quantities. In some cases, utilization factors were further used to adjust (reduce) the total airflow calculations for a diesel equipment fleet.
However, in light of the drastic reductions to diesel equipment emissions mandated by the US EPA Tier IV and URO Stage 4 regulations, there is currently a great deal of uncertainty in the underground mining industry among those responsible for the ventilation of planned new mines or the expansion of current mines. Tier IV engine standards mandate a reduction of DPM and NOx of approximately 95%, but can ventilation rates at mines with Tier IV equipment (or equivalent) really be reduced by a factor of twenty?
This paper outlines some of the factors that affect the airflow required for the ventilation of modern diesel-powered equipment and examines how they can be applied in determining a reasonable ventilation rate for Tier IV compliant equipment operating in subterranean environments.