Airflow Requirements for Modern Diesel and Electric Equipment


Euler DeSouza, Queen's University

Traditionally, airflow requirements for production and support equipment operating in underground mines have been determined by multiplying the vehicle power by a ventilation rate that was either mandated by regulations or determined empirically from known quantities. However, in light of the drastic reductions to diesel equipment emissions mandated by the US EPA Tier IV and EURO 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. The question remains, what ventilation rates should the ventilation designer apply for modern diesel equipment? Also, given the ongoing development of grid/battery-electric equipment and active construction of fully electric mines, it has become critical to determine adequate airflow rates per brake kilowatt of electric engine power. One of the most important criteria for determining ventilation rates for electric equipment is the amount of heat they generate, as this is the only emission produced by electric equipment. Therefore, ventilation rates required to dissipate heat from electric equipment must be suitably determined. This paper outlines some of the factors that affect the airflow required for the ventilation of modern diesel-powered equipment and of electric equipment and examines how they can be applied in determining reasonable ventilation rates for Tier IV compliant diesel equipment and for electric equipment operating in mining environments. Airflow calculations for modern diesel powered equipment and for electric equipment are more complex and must be based on a combination of factors that are unique to each mine. Methodologies for ventilation rate determinations for each case are proposed in this paper.