The underground coal mining regulations for Nova Scotia, Alberta, British Columbia and also the Federal regulations require methane-initiated automatic shutdown of electrical equipment, when methane levels reach a predetermined level. This value varies, depending on the specific federal or provincial jurisdiction, and can fall between 1.0 and 1.25 %. Development of diesel equipment to respond to such requirements has shown that difficulties can be experienced, such as: reliability of the methane monitoring system may suffer when working in conjunction with a "dirty" power supply from the diesel engine; maintenance issues; differences in certification requirements; the use of light alloys in construction (particularly for diesels purchased in the U.S.); and an unexpected shutdown may leave the operator in a vulnerable position.
This project will review both the current difficulties in meeting regulatory compliance with methane initiated automatic shutdown of diesel equipment in underground coal mines and the factors affecting the cut-off limit for electrical equipment. The project may reveal scope for the development of new technologies for diesel equipment. Problems related to methane initiated shutdown of diesel equipment at Quinsam Coal were investigated.