Mining field-trials pave way for fuel cell power.
Within a couple of years, all the pieces will be in place for the North American North American
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North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus. mining industry to begin converting its underground diesel and battery-power mining vehicles to fuel-cell technology. Positive future benefits could be in store for Northern Ontario Northern Ontario is the part of the province of Ontario which lies north of Lake Huron (including Georgian Bay), the French River and Lake Nipissing.
Northern Ontario has a land area of 802,000 km² (310,000 mi²) and constitutes 87% of the land area of Ontario, although it .
Successful field trials conducted last year at Placer Dome's Campbell mine in Red Lake, using a fuel-cell powered locomotive, outperformed a conventional battery-powered locomotive "at every opportunity," says a federal researcher overseeing an international effort to evaluate the technology's productivity and efficiency in mining.
Dr. Marc Betournay, a senior scientist with CANMET CANMET Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology , the research arm of Natural Resources Canada Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is a department of the government of Canada responsible for natural resources, energy, minerals and metals, forests, earth sciences, mapping and remote sensing. , says the fuel-cell-powered locomotive proved "very dependable and productive" during underground trials at the mine in October 2002.
During the testing, the vehicle ran five, eight-hour shifts at the mine site, pulling drags of six and seven fully-loaded ore cars compared to just five cars from a conventional battery-powered locomotive.
CANMET is part of an international effort headed by the U.S Fuel-cell Propulsion Institute, which is participating in a collaborative research project to investigate new fuel-cell technology in the mining industry.
Various research and academic institutions, mining equipment manufacturers and mining companies are involved. Among those are Placer Dome Placer Dome was a large mining company specializing in gold and other precious metals, with corporate headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Barrick has acquired 100% of the Placer Dome shares on January 20, 2006, and has integrated the company into its own. Inc. and R. A. Warren Equipment of North Bay, who provided the four-tonne underground locomotive used as a prototype to test the fuel cell.
Compared to the battery vehicle, the locomotive in the Red Lake test provided equal acceleration, twice the power, much shorter recharge time, and is likely capable of operating for two labour shifts before re-fuelling. The battery-powered locomotive barely lasted one shift.
Project designers are confident a tele-operated fuel-cell vehicle can eventually run non-stop for 24 to 36 hours without re-fuelling.
That is positive news for the global mining industry faced with ongoing high capital production costs and always looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. ways to address health and safety deficiencies with conventionally-powered equipment.
He estimates by 2005, with the project's proof-of-concept phase complete, all the necessary regulatory and risk issues will be addressed, as well as the re-fuelling and performance aspects for the mining industry to consider changing over to fuel-cell technology.
"Personally, I'm looking at 2007 for equipment manufacturers to come out with a fuel-cell version, and 2008 for the mining industry to start switching over to fuel cells."
Fuel cells produce electricity through an electrochemical electrochemical /elec·tro·chem·i·cal/ (-kem´i-k'l) pertaining to interaction or interconversion of chemical and electrical energies.
adj. reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. The electricity is used to power an electric motor.
Though electric batteries have to be periodically recharged, fuel cells run as long as they have a supply of hydrogen, which can be carried on board the vehicle. The only emissions produced are heat and pure water.
From a health and safety perspective, Betournay says fuel cells offer the "total solution" in eliminating diesel particulate underground, and provide "tremendous savings" in mine ventilation.
As part of their research, the project partners conducted an in-depth cost-benefit analysis cost-benefit analysis
In governmental planning and budgeting, the attempt to measure the social benefits of a proposed project in monetary terms and compare them with its costs. , which revealed there are ventilation savings of anywhere between 25 and 40 per cent in shallow mines, including reduction in electricity consumption of between $300,000, and more than $1 million depending on the size of the mine.
Union officials harboured some concerns about using hydrogen underground, but there were zero occurrences with hydrogen leaks, says Betournay, and the hydrogen can be produced on surface and delivered underground via pipeline, much like diesel fuel.
Betournay is contemplating a fully-automated fuel-cell powered locomotive project in the near future similar to tele-remote loaders operated by Inco in Sudbury.
While the fuel cell locomotive has been shipped to CANMET's experimental mine in Val d'Or Val d'Or (väl dôr), town (1991 pop. 23,842), SW Que., Canada, SE of Rouyn-Noranda. It is a mining center. Gold was discovered in the region in 1909; copper, zinc, lead, and molybdenum are also mined. , Que. for long-term testing, plans are underway to expand the fuel cell program to include other underground mining equipment. The same consortium that built the locomotive is The Steam locomotive IS was a Soviet passenger steam locomotive. The contract design has been prepared in 1929 at the Kolomna factory. The IS were manufactured between 1932 and 1942.
With the final design made, the project partners are beginning to install the power plant aboard the vehicle at the Caterpillar plant in Peoria, Ill. A metal hydride hydride
Any of a class of compounds in which hydrogen is combined with another element. There are three basic types of hydrides: saline, metallic, and covalent. Saline hydrides, such as sodium hydride (NaH) and calcium hydride (CaH2 storage system is being provided by HERA Hydrogen Storage
Hydrogen storage is the main technological problem of a viable hydrogen economy. Some attention has been given to the role of hydrogen to provide grid energy storage for unpredictable energy sources, like Systems of Montreal Of Montreal is an American indie pop band formed in Athens, Georgia, fronted by Kevin Barnes. It was among the second wave of groups to emerge from The Elephant 6 Recording Company. , and the fuel cells will be arriving from Nuvera Europe of Italy.
Betournay says the large loader will be put through field trials in Illinois in the fall of 2004 before being shipped to Nevada to be tested underground at mines operated by Newmont and Placer Dome. He is hopeful the vehicle will be shipped north for more underground testing at Inco's South mine in Sudbury by the spring of 2005.
Betournay has also held preliminary discussions with FedNor about developing a college training program in Northern Ontario for the maintenance and trouble-shooting of fuel cell power plants.
With Sudbury's existing collection of mining supply companies centred around the manufacture and modification of diesel-powered mining equipment, he believes the city would be the ideal place to set up an education component.
He says there are also further commercialization developments on the horizon with two other mining vehicles. CANMET and its development consortium are moving into the prototype phase within the next year in experimenting with fuel cell technology aboard a light duty utility mine run-about vehicle, one which Betournay describes as a "civil engineering tunnelling vehicle."
By IAN ROSS Ian Ross is the name of:
Northern Ontario Business Northern Ontario Business is a Canadian magazine, which publishes monthly in Greater Sudbury, Ontario. The magazine covers business news and issues in Northern Ontario.