The Application Of Exergy Analysis To The Cooling Of A Deep UK Colliery

Lowndes, I. S.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 16
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
The extraction of minerals and coal at greater depth, employing higher-powered machinery to improve production levels, imposes an increased burden on the ability of a ventilation system to maintain an acceptable mine climate. Hence, mechanical mine cooling systems are often adopted, which can be expensive in terms of both their associated capital and operating costs. Consequently, in order to optimize the total mining costs, it is essential to provide the mine operator with a method with which to determine the most cost effective and efficient mine cooling system. In a previous paper1a novel energy analysis employing the concept of exergy was proposed and applied to cooling systems applied to two conceptual model mines, representative of UK deep coal operations, and their resultant subsurface thermal environ-mental conditions predicted. This paper presents an analysis of the results obtained from the application of this novel technique to assess the performance of various cooling systems applied to a current UK colliery that is experiencing climatic problems due to its depth and highly mechanized production and development workings. To perform this analysis, ventilation and climatic data collected at the case study mine were used to construct balanced mine ventilation and climatic network models to replicate the subsurface environment. Where air conditions exceeded specified climatic limits within identified climatically control zones, mechanical mine cooling systems were employed. A number of cooling system configurations were applied to these model to investigate the potential to satisfactorily regulate the thermal environment. The heat energy transferred out of the air stream by the various cooling methods was absorbed using a variety of chilled water systems, which were designed to operate at various water flow rates and temperatures. Models of various cooling system were developed and applied to control the underground climate within this mine network to within pre-set climatic limits. The results of a comparative analysis of the energy transfers that were produced by the application of the different cooling systems are presented in the form of exergy performance indices. The results produced by simulation models constructed to represent chilled water distribution networks to supply the various air coolers, are designed and balanced. The results of the exergy analyses applied to the operation of the various chilled water pipe networks are discussed and used to assess the exergetic performance of the application of each proposed cooling system to the mine ventilation network.
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