SIMULATION OF METHANE DISTRIBUTION AND VENTILATION IN UNDERGROUND MINES: POTENTIAL FOR A NOVEL INTERMITTENT AIRFLOW SYSTEM

World Mining Congress
Methane is recognized as one of the prime causes of underground mine disasters around the globe. A cost-effective mine ventilation system and methane control is required to ensure a safe and productive environment in an underground mine whilst keeping energy usage and operating cost at minimum. Typically methane enters a mine environment or tunnel from localized distributed sources at high initial concentration. Hence, an understanding of its dispersion from discrete sources is important to design a methane management system via effective ventilation. This study employs computational fluid dynamics to model methane dispersion in an underground tunnel which has a number of discrete sources of methane and effective ways to dilute and or disperse it. Air flow distribution within the tunnel as well as methane dispersion is simulated by solving the governing transport equations subject to appropriate boundary conditions. First, the effectiveness of ventilation duct placement is examined. Several possibilities are explored and investigated. It is found that the common configuration utilized in underground mine performs best as compared to other configurations in maintaining the concentration of methane below permissible levels. Next, a novel intermittent airflow ventilation system is proposed and evaluated via simulation with the goal of reducing the energy cost whilst maintaining methane level in the mining face below the allowable level. Parametric studies are conducted to investigate effects of various factors influencing the effectiveness and performance of this novel intermittent ventilation system. This study will provide some new ideas for designing an efficient and effective underground mine ventilation system by lowering the net average amount of air that needs to be circulated in the tunnel for a safe operation.
Keywords: methane; Ventilation; Tunnels; Concentration; Mines; Mine; underground mine; underground mines; mining;
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