A study of optimisation methods applied to methane recovery and mine ventilation systems
The current trends towards increased coal production from seams at greater depth has led to increased demands being placed on the methane drainage and mine ventilation systems. This study has been directed towards the development of computer models to simulate and analyse the gas flows in methane drainage ranges and the airflow and pressure distribution in mine ventilation networks. The first part of this thesis describes the conventional techniques of methane drainage currently employed and the mathematical approach used to model gas flow in the methane drainage range. It also discusses how, when combined with measured underground data, predicted results can be used to assess the performance of the range. Subsequent analysis techniques will suggest measures that can be undertaken to optimise this performance and assess the effect of selective network reconfiguration. The second part of the thesis includes a discussion of the increasing application of booster fans in U.K. underground coal mines and a critical analysis of the mathematical methods used to model airflow and pressure distribution in mine ventilation networks. One particular method was adopted in a simulation model used to analyse networks with booster fans and specified face airflows. Both simulation models developed have been used to analyse representative underground methane drainage ranges and mine ventilation networks. The thesis concludes that the accuracy of the methane drainage models can only be guaranteed when developed in conjunction with suitable measured data. The mine ventilation model requires user guidance through the solution and analysis procedure. Results are presented in a simple graphical manner and this approach, rather than the 'black box' non interactive approach, is to be favoured in the analysis of mine ventilation networks.