Diesel particulates measured

TRIALS of hand-held instruments capable of measuring diesel particulate have been completed at five New South Wales underground coal mines. The initial results are promising and may result in a way of quickly monitoring diesel particulate at the source.

Staff Reporter

The research project, funded by Coal Services, was conducted by the NSW Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) - now part of the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) - to identify a simple method to measure diesel particulate at the exhaust outlet of engines. The mine trials follow initial testing stage at TestSafe in Londonderry, where four different methods were tested against the standard method of measurement.

DPI senior scientific officer Clive Ellis said while several instruments had been identified only three were trialed at the mines. Two light scattering instruments and an American pressure instrument were tested, consisting of a filter, air-sampling pump and a pressure measuring device.

The light scattering instruments, designed to measure airborne dust, required a dilution and drying box add-on to pre-treat the exhaust gas so they could handle the water and the high particulate concentrations. Differences were observed in the practicality of the various methods.

A device such as this would allow mines to rapidly identify which machine in a diesel fleet was not running cleanly. Ellis stressed that the project has steered clear of setting a standard for the industry. The aim was to give mines a simple method of measuring their own problem, so they could manage it.

Ellis expects to finalise a report on the project outcomes by November.