Underground » Health and Safety
The project goals were to develop an underground load haul dump (LHD) vehicle using a modified Caterpillar 3116 engine.
The project has delivered and demonstrated a new class of diesel engine for underground coal mines that is not fitted with a wet scrubber. An Eimco 913 LHD was fitted with a "conventional" Caterpillar 3116 industrial engine that incorporates a dry exhaust scrubbing system. This was tested underground to measure the effect of its exhaust emissions on the concentrations of pollutants in the ventilation air. Atmospheric monitoring in the breathing zone of the driver over many shifts showed pollutants to be well within those legislated.
The values compare to an average CO concentration of 2.1 ppm and NOs values averaging 0.9 ppm measured in the breathing zone of a Wagner 3306 LHD operator. This project has demonstrated that newer designs of more efficient diesel engines can be used underground safely and, most importantly, generate comparable net pollution to commonly used 3304 and 3306 Caterpillar engines, which have underground approval, and which were benchmarked for this project. Visits and discussions with US suppliers, including Caterpillar, confirmed that engine development will be centred on newer generation engines, for example, the 3116, and that the 3304 will be progressively phased out of production.
Total funds of $316,000 were expended on the project. The key players in the project were:-
ACIRL as project originators, researchers and managers
Eimco, who engineered a dry exhaust scrubber based around the Canadian ECS "Addtrap" filter and fitted it to a Caterpillar 3116 engine. The engine was installed into a 913 LHD by Eimco.
Oaky Creek Coal, who provided much support, the 913 LHD and the test site with staff and operators (Oaky Creek No 1 Underground).