The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducted a study to determine the effects of selected, state-of-the-art emission control technologies on the ambient concentrations of particulate matter and gases emitted by underground diesel-powered mining equipment. Tests were conducted in an isolated zone of an underground mine to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative fuel formulations, namely, water-fuel emulsions, blended biodiesel fuels, ultralow sulfur diesel fuel, and #1 diesel; and selected exhaust aftertreatment devices, namely, diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs), diesel particulate filter (DPF) systems, and filtration systems designed around high-temperature disposable filter elements.

The results showed that using a cold-weather and warm-weather water-fuel emulsion formulation reduced mass concentrations of elemental carbon (EC) by about 70% and 85%, respectively. The 20% and 50% soy biodiesel blends reduced EC by 49% and 66%, respectively. The reductions were slightly less pronounced for the 20% and 50% yellow grease biodiesel blends: 33% and 56%, respectively. EC concentrations were unaffected by using ultralow sulfur diesel in place of #1 diesel. Use of the reformulated fuels did not substantially alter the concentrations of nitric oxide and carbon monoxide.

However, a measurable increase in the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) peak concentration was observed during the biodiesel tests. The ArvinMeritor (AM) fuel-burner DPF system with a palladium-catalyzed DOC reduced EC concentrations by 92%. The diesel filter elements from Donaldson Co., Inc., and Filter Service & Testing Corp. reduced the EC concentration of the mine air by 92% and 70%, respectively. When the palladium-based DOC was used with the AM DPF, it raised the average and peak downstream NO2 concentrations by a factor of three. Tests of the AM DPF system with a platinum-catalyzed DOC and CAP/ETG catalytic particulate oxidizer system had to be terminated because the elevated NO2 concentrations threatened to overexpose the operator. The tests with only a selected DOC also resulted in increased NO2 concentrations in mine air.


Last Updated: 19/05/2020 01:13:18pm