Broadspectrum joins University of Newcastle in world-first clean-air project for coalmines


Monday, 27 November, 2017

Vam duct web 1 36

A world-first Ventilation Air Methane (VAM) Abatement Safety Project, led by Professor Behdad Moghtaderi and the University of Newcastle, sponsored by the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) and funded by partners including the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and Australian coal producers through the COAL21 Fund, has completed its pilot project. The project has been delivered by Broadspectrum and its subsidiaries ICD and APP.

The project aims to address the technical and safety challenges currently impacting VAM abatement efforts. It is part of a wider initiative to decrease methane emissions from underground coalmining operations by up to 90% and reduce Australia’s annual greenhouse output by up to 3%.

The project will expand the understanding of the safety risks posed by operating VAM abatement units on gaseous mines, as well as develop functional safety requirements and design guidelines to support implementation of abatement technologies to the mining industry.

Broadspectrum Chief Executive Resources Tom Quinn said: “This innovative project demonstrates Australia’s leadership and commitment to be more sustainable in the mining industry. We are bringing expertise from across our business in engineering, project management, construction and maintenance, and further developing it from an innovative angle through our Centre of Excellence for Resources — of worldwide reach — to deliver this project.”

Broadspectrum constructed the industrial-scale VAM capture duct, which records VAM data to then help verify the effectiveness of new and existing protective devices and strategies. It leveraged its in-house capabilities of project management through subsidiary APP and engineering and design through ICD, which took the VAM design from a laboratory prototype to a fully engineered demonstration plant.

The team has been praised for their collaborative efforts on the pilot project, which has involved 186 people and 44 subcontracting companies working 219 days without injury.

This unique project has been achieved through the collective strength of industry, government and academia collaborating to address issues of global significance.

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