Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Vale S.A. conducted a study with the objective of quantifying and characterizing the effects of sintered metal filter (SMF) systems, regenerated with the help of an iron-based fuel additive and electrical heater, on the aerosols and criteria gases emitted by diesel engines.

Two SMF systems, one operated on a locomotive for over 750 hours and one operated on a forklift for over 1500 hours in underground operations at Vale Creighton Mine, were tested in-situ at a mine surface shop. This testing was carried out under hydraulic stall, high idle, and low idle conditions. The effects of these systems on emissions were determined using measurements performed in the exhaust, both upstream and downstream of the systems. The effects on number concentration and size distribution of aerosols were assessed using measurements from a fast mobility particle size spectrometer performed in the exhaust diluted with a partial flow dilution system. The results of measurements, performed in the diluted exhaust with a nanoparticle surface area monitor, were used to establish effects of these systems on the surface area of particles deposited in the alveolar region of lungs. The effects on CO, CO₂, NO, NO₂ and other gases were assessed using measurements performed directly in the exhaust, both upstream and downstream of the SMF systems, using a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analyzer. 

Both of the SMF systems were found to be very effective in reducing particulate emissions from tested vehicles. The systems were found to have minor effects on gaseous emissions. The effects on aerosol and gaseous emissions were found to be comparable to those measured in June 2011 when the units were new. The findings from this study should help the mining industry to better understand the benefits and challenges of using SMF systems to control exposures of underground miners to diesel aerosols and gases.


Last Updated: 19/05/2020 01:14:50pm