IMPROVING THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF MINE FAN ASSEMBLAGES
Energy associated with ventilating an underground operation comprises a significant portion of a mine operation's base energy demand and is consequently responsible for a large percentage of the total operating costs. Ventilation systems may account from 25–40% of the total energy costs and 40–50% of the energy consumption of a mine operation. Fans are the most important mechanical devices used to ventilate underground mines and the total fan power installed in a single mine operation can easily exceed 10,000 kW. Investigations of a number of mine main fan installations have determined their assemblage to be, in general, very energy inefficient. The author has found that 40–80% of the energy consumed by a main fan is used to overcome the resistance of fan assemblage components. This paper presents how engineering design principles can be applied to improve the performance and efficiency of fan installations, resulting in substantial reductions in power consumption, operating cost and greenhouse gas emissions. A detailed case study is presented to demonstrate that, by designing fan assemblages using proper engineering concepts of fluid physics and industrial ventilation design, main fan systems will operate at efficiencies well above 80–90% (compared to common operating efficiencies of between 20 and 65%), resulting in a drastic reduction in a mine's overall costs and base electrical and energy loads.
Fans; Power; Design; Operating costs; operating cost; energy; Reduction;