The first cooling system in the world with a capacity of more than 9MW using ice slurry pressure-piping has been operating for more than a year at the Lubelski Węgiel ‘Bogdanka’ mine. It is considerably more efficient from water systems, says its creator, Dr hab. Eng. Łukasz Mika, Associate Professor at the AGH University from the Faculty of Energy and Fuels.
If the temperature in a mine goes beyond a certain threshold value (we can round it up to 33°C), all work, with the exception of rescue operations, should cease immediately. With reduced air circulation and high humidity, the conditions in the tunnel would pose a serious threat to the health and life of miners, if they continued their work. Meanwhile, when we go deeper, the temperature begins to rise, and at the extraction level in a coal mine, it can reach more than 40°C. Lowering the temperature markedly increases the working comfort of miners; however, until now, maintaining it within optimal ranges for the miners, or at least around 28°C, was not always possible, and even if it was achieved, it required significant energy input.
The solution developed by an AGH University scientists, Associate Professor Łukasz Mika, facilitates the maintenance of a considerably lower temperature in the extraction regions with reduced energy consumption compared to the cooling systems used to date. Furthermore, the solution can be implemented in many different mines without the need to modify the underground infrastructure, which would otherwise require a stoppage of extraction work for the time of the cooling system modernisation.
Associate Professor Łukasz Mika controlling the production of ice. Photo: private archives of Ł. Mika
A fragment of the installation that produces the ice slurry. Photo: private archives of Ł. Mika
Snow on a conveyor belt. Photo: private archives of Ł. Mika