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Underground Compressed Air Vehicle “UCAV”

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Published: June 20Project Number: C27019

Get ReportAuthor: Michael Christian | AMM Product Development

The project objectives were to:

  • Develop a prototype machine for transporting people in an underground coal mine;
  • Test the practical application of compressed air engines as a replacement for existing diesel-powered transport;
  • Prove this technology can travel an acceptable duration on one tank full of compressed air;
  • Show that mobile equipment can run intrinsically safe lighting system;
  • Provide the underground coal mining industry with a personal transport vehicle that is diesel particulate free; and to
  • Capture adequate results which can expand the practical use of compressed air engines as a direct replacement for all underground diesel engines eg underground loader.

Work in the project consisted of:

  • Proof of technology.
  • Construction of high-pressure air enclosure.
  • Design and implantation of fluid drive system.
  • Underground compliance.

This project has been the first step along the road to determine the basics of the technology, it has given understanding and direction as to how to move forward.

The project proved the potential of many technologies including:

  • The potential use of air driven equipment underground;
  • Safe and rechargeable storage of high pressure compressed air;
  • Fully Intrinsically Safe lighting systems;
  • Fully flame path free mobile equipment designed for all areas underground is possible;
  • Enclosed pressured cabs fully dust and DPM free.

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