The mining industry is facing major sustainable development challenges. In addition to minimizing the air emissions it produces, it must make sure employees can work in a healthy environment. These issues fall squarely within AIREX’s area of expertise and that is why the audacious and latest technological innovations developed by our specialists can help mines significantly increase their energy efficiency.
Issue #1: Pumping Clean Air Underground
The extensive underground networks found in mines require a continuous supply of large volumes of air. This air flow must first be heated by a gas-powered make up air system, resulting in major energy costs and GHG emissions. However, there is a well-known solution that can greatly improve efficiency in this industry: the installation of a heat-recovery system.
How does it work? Rather than venting the hot and dirty air directly out of the mine, a dust collection and exchange system can recover some of the heat from this air flow. By pre-heating the fresh air, it is possible to lower the costs incurred by this step that is often performed by a propane burner. This method revolutionizes current practices and creates considerable gains for the mining company.
This reliable, efficient and low-risk solution can:
- Reduce the amount of propane burned to heat air
- Reduce combustion-related GHG emissions
- Significantly increase the energy efficiency of operations
- Reduce operating costs
- Improve the competitiveness of mining companies
Issue #2: Fossil Fuel Consumption
Another important innovation that can help the mining industry in its search for energy efficiency: biocoal.
An environmentally-friendly substitute to traditional fossil fuels, biocoal is made of torrefied wood pellets that have a higher energy performance than traditional wood pellets. It is a 100% renewable fuel source that provides mines with access to a clean alternative to propane. A mining site could thereby turn off the gas burners of its make up air system and implement a parallel biomass boiler (fuelled by biocoal) that would be used in conjunction with a glycol-based loop to heat the fresh air.
There are several benefits to biocoal:
- Energy content similar to coal
- 90% reduction in GHG emissions
- Can be combined with coal or replace it completely
- Water resistant - can be stored in bulk outside
- Makes it possible to re-purpose waste from the forestry industry
To find out more about the many benefits of this technology, refer to the BiocoalFX information sheet.
All of these environmentally friendly benefits also enable mining companies to trade credits on the carbon market as well as have access to grants such as those offered by Transition énergétique Québec and the Énergir Innovation Program.
Exciting Possibilities for the Future
The mining industry can make use of more and more efficient innovations to reduce the impact of its activities on the environment. AIREX is proud to be able to offer its dust collection and air management systems and expertise.
Do you work in this industry? Reliable, mature and risk-free solutions are available to you. Contact our team to make the leap to better energy efficiency!