Underground » Maintenance
The need to protect workers from diesel particulate matter (DPM) had led the underground coal mining industry to install disposable filter systems on their vehicles.
This project has progressed the industrialisation of the wall-flow DPF system with additional site work, assessments of system robustness and the embedding of real-time, and near-real-time, technology to monitor the performance of diesel particulate filter system.
The first five parts of the project were completed under project C25073, with this one consisting of a further two main parts with specific sub-tasks under each:
- Industrialisation Design - DPF, pipework and monitoring,
- On-Engine Validation and Durability Testing,
- Field Trial Support and Monitoring System Software Refinement;
- Emissions Compliance Testing,
- Safety System Testing.
The system outline for industrialisation proposed by the coal sector was as a retrofit installation that will be designed to meet the performance and safety standards required by the industry with a focus on minimising system cost.
The work scope for activities in this project included a mix of specific design and validation, as well as some application engineering. The project yielded what Orbital (and the automotive sector) call a P2 (second stage prototype) which has the form, function and performance of a production intent design but was not using production tooling/fixtures. It includes the industrialisation features, but not the commercialisation aspects which would also involve setup of tooling and manufacturing supply chain considerations.
In addition to the industrialisation activities, there were a number of additional technical investigations undertaken:
- Characterisation of the absorption of NO2 in the wet exhaust scrubber as a means of investigating opportunities to reduce tailpipe noxious emissions;
- Characterisation of DPM particle size / distribution characteristics from the DPF system; a point of interest with regard to occupational exposure;
- Characterisation of DPF system performance and durability with Eromanga fuel (the 100ppmS fuel used in some mines);
- The addition of NOx and DPM exhaust sensors post-DPF to monitor DPF system performance; and potentially demonstrate ongoing system compliance;
- Realtime broadcasting of DPF monitor status for in-service machine monitoring and system performance management; and
- Verification of the applicability of the C25073 proof-of-concept wall-flow DPF to legacy Mechanical Injection engines; which are still prevalent in operations.
The addendum investigations provided additional technical insights into the performance of the DPF and /or LHD emission control and monitoring systems.
Despite some regulatory questions requiring clarification, the wall-flow DPF system industrialised under this project makes for a compelling solution to diesel particulate management in underground coal mining operations.