ACARP recognises five key projects

THE Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) recognised five outstanding research projects at this year's 10-year ACARP celebration, held in Brisbane on September 24.
ACARP recognises five key projects ACARP recognises five key projects ACARP recognises five key projects ACARP recognises five key projects ACARP recognises five key projects

Earth Tech Engineering won an ACARP award for research into stream diversions in Queensland's Bowen Basin

Staff Reporter

The five projects are Optimisation of Inertisation Practice; Monitoring Geomorphic Processes in Bowen Basin River Diversions; Safe, Rapid Coal Washability Assessment; Automated Full Phase Maceral Reflectograms and Coal Grain Analysis; and Airborne Infa Red Thermography for Monitoring Spoil Piles.

CSIROÂ’s Rao Balusu won the underground award for the project Optimisation of Inertisation Practice, the main objective of which was the development of optimum and effective strategies to achieve goaf inertisation within a few hours of sealing a panel.

During the field demonstration studies, the goaf atmosphere was inert by the time doors were closed on the final seals, with oxygen concentration below 5% at all locations in the goaf. The project demonstrated the new inertisation strategies were successful in converting the goaf environment into an inert atmosphere within a few hours of panel sealing.

“Rao’s work has made an important contribution to the safety of operating longwalls, and as such is deserving of this prestigious award. There is a need to know what is happening in the sealed goaf. Rao has taken us down this path,” ACARP said.

The opencut award went to Ross Hardie of Earth Tech Engineering for groundbreaking research into stream diversions in QueenslandÂ’s Bowen Basin: Monitoring Geomorphic Processes in Bowen Basin River Diversions.

“This project was not just a first but has become the defacto standard for designing stream diversions. The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines now regularly refers mine operators that are seeking to re-route a stream to the results of this ACARP project. It is an excellent example of how the coal industry worked together with the researcher to define a sound engineering process for handling ephemeral stream diversions. One that is unique internationally,” ACARP said.

The coal preparation award went to Geoff Lyman and Andrew Jonkers of the JKMRC for the project, Coal Washability assessment, which sought to identify an alternative means of assessing the washability of coal to the current method of float/sink testing in heavy organic liquids.

This project took a new approach in which the dry density of individual particles is determined by making separate mass and volume measurements. The system has been automated such that a coal sample can be loaded into a feed hopper, the density of each particle determined, and the particles sorted into user-specified density fractions.

Graham OÂ’Brien, CSIRO Exploration & Mining, and Barry Jenkins of Jenkins-Kwan Technology were awarded the coal utilisation award, for the projects Automated Full Phase Maceral Reflectograms and Coal Grain Analysis.

Petrographic analysis is a coal characterisation technique in which the brightness, or reflectance, of individual coal macerals are determined under a microscope. Measurement is, however, subject to human error. The project has developed an automated imaging system to determine the reflectance distribution of all constituents, giving a characteristic reflectance “fingerprint” of any coal.

The greenhouse gas mitigation award went to John Carras, CSIRO Energy Technology for Airborne Infa Red Thermography for Monitoring Spoil Piles.

“This group has a long and impressive history of working on air quality and spontaneous combustion issues, and most recently on measuring emissions from the slow combustion of carbon-containing waste in spoil piles resulting from opencut mining. While this award is nominally given in respect of one project, it is really a recognition of their excellent work since 1993,” ACARP said.

A key contributor to the success of this research has been the collaboration of the scientists, led by John Carras, with an advisory committee comprising experienced mine personnel responsible for land rehabilitation and the management of spontaneous combustion.

This project has developed a fly-over technique based on infra-red detection of subtle variations in surface temperature to estimate emissions over large areas. The ground based and airborne techniques are entirely complementary, the ground-based data being used to calibrate or ground truth the broad scale aerial information.

For example, from such measurements it has been shown not only that surrounding undisturbed lands produce background greenhouse emissions but also that, once rehabilitated, mined land exhibits little or no increase in such emissions.