The Design and Evaluation of a Large Direct-Contact Ice-Air Cooler for Vaal Reefs Gold Mine
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1988
A new mining area at the Vaal Reefs gold mine is to have a shaft. system which will extend to a depth of 4 200 m and will require 130 MW of cooling. A novel feature of the proposed cooling system is a large underground air cooling installation in which an ice slurry is sprayed into the ventilation air. The design of the ice slurry bulk air cooler, in the form of counter.flow cooling towers, is discussed. Comparative thermal tests with cold water and ice slurries (with ice mass fractions up to 22 per cent), were carried out in a 5 m high test tower. The presence of the ice in the water spray increases the resistance to heat flow and reduces the overall thermal characteristics of the air cooler by 8 per cent. Notwithstanding this, the use of ice slurries is indeed beneficial in terms of overall costs. It is concluded that a 25 MW air cooler should use 410 kg/s of ice slurry with a 10 per cent ice mass fraction to cool 550 kg/s of air which is 75 per cent of the total air flow rate.