Electrical Power & Protection


Increased safety in mine charging stations

November 2017 Electrical Power & Protection

Increasingly, mines are using battery-powered electric vehicles underground as they help eliminate the problem of air pollution from diesel exhaust emissions. However, there is also an inherent risk in having large multi-battery charging bays underground. The charging process generates hydrogen, which escapes from the banks of batteries on charge to form a potentially explosive mix. This could result in a potentially catastrophic hydrogen gas explosion – constituting a very real health and safety risk in the process.

In addition, in a ‘fiery’ mine such as a colliery for example, hydrogen combustion may potentially trigger a more serious secondary coal dust explosion.

RTS Africa Engineering, based in Tshwane, specialises in innovative technologies that provide solutions to industrial challenges. Among other things, the company has been involved in supplying hydrogen production and analysis equipment for many years.

“Importantly, we also offer hydrogen detection instruments, the Hy-Alerta 500 and the Hy-Alerta 600B/610B from our international California-based principal, H2Scan, for use in many industrial applications, including the mining sector,” explains managing director Ian Fraser. “For example, these products serve as a valuable safety aid in hydrogen gas detection within battery charging stations in underground mines.”

Hydrogen detection and monitoring

The Hy-Alerta 500 instrument is a versatile handheld detection device, able to detect a wide range of hydrogen gas concentrations without the need for any peripheral equipment. The hydrogen sensor probe has a unique visual LED array that will effectively help navigate to the source of a hydrogen leak where hydrogen gas is produced, used, transported or stored.

“With two sensing elements on the same semiconductor die, the Hy-Alerta 500 can detect hydrogen leaks as low as 15 ppm and will not saturate or be destroyed when detecting high concentrations of hydrogen up to 100%,” says Fraser.

The Hy-Alerta 600B/610B fixed area hydrogen monitors are better suited for area monitoring; and will provide hydrogen-specific leak detection and measurement for hydrogen concentrations as low as 4000 ppm. They can, furthermore, be scaled to any concentration up to 5% hydrogen by volume, a range representing 10% to 125% of hydrogen’s low flammability limit.

“This instrument can be connected to a flashing light or an alarm siren and, if need be, can communicate with a mine’s existing control system,” elaborates Fraser.

Both models have been designed for either ceiling or wall mount; and have RS-422 capability that extends the interface from the sensor to the controller to over a hundred metres.

“In addition, H2Scan’s hydrogen-specific sensor technology has no cross-sensitivity to other combustible gases, thus eliminating false alarms and increasing system reliability,” adds Fraser.

He points out that the company’s hydrogen analysers and leak detectors are based on patented, solid-state core hydrogen sensor technology exclusively licensed from the US Department of Energy, and are supported by 15 years of research and development, and field verification work. In terms of occupational health and safety certification, H2Scan’s instruments conform to the highest international standards.

For the past ten years, RTS Africa has been the agent – locally and pan-Africa – for H2Scan. Many Hy-Alerta instruments are currently being used to detect hydrogen leaks around power station generators.

“Ultimately, with the improved measurement capability provided by these solutions, industries such as mining and the petrochemical industry will be able to operate with the added peace of mind that the risk of hydrogen combustion has been eliminated,” concludes Fraser.

For more information contact RTS Africa Engineering, +27 (0)12 433 6335, www.rtsafrica.co.za




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Cut the complexity of panel design
September 2019, ElectroMechanica , Electrical Power & Protection
A low-voltage electrical distribution system design to reduce the complexities often associated with panel design is available from leading local supplier ElectroMechanica (EM). Quadro+ from Hager combines ...

Read more...
Ultra slim DIN rail power supplies
September 2019, Vepac Electronics , Electrical Power & Protection
XP Power has announced the DSR range of AC-DC DIN rail power supplies approved for industrial control systems and information technology equipment applications. These versatile supplies provide reliable ...

Read more...
Oil dielectric RF termination loads
September 2019, Comtest , Electrical Power & Protection
For maximum process repeatability and consistency, modern plasma applications require precise RF power regulation and control. A key component in ensuring accurate and repeatable RF power delivery to ...

Read more...
Outsmarting the DC switch arc
August 2019, Phoenix Contact , Electrical Power & Protection
Trouble-free switching even of higher DC loads up to 250 VDC and 10 A can be realised by means of selecting a special coupling relay, preferably with blowout magnet.

Read more...
Movidrive for screen filters
August 2019, SEW-Eurodrive , Electrical Power & Protection
An industrial water filtration specialist that has used gearmotors from SEW-Eurodrive for many years has adopted its Movidrive inverters with CMP servo motors and customisable iPOS software for its latest ...

Read more...
Fast payback on steam cogeneration
August 2019, Zest WEG Group , Electrical Power & Protection
Fast payback on steam turbine cogeneration systems makes this power source an attractive option across numerous industries. This is according to Leandro Magro, manager steam turbines at Zest WEG Group, ...

Read more...
Power-factor correction to cut ­energy costs
August 2019, ElectroMechanica , Electrical Power & Protection
Power-factor correction is a mechanism to reduce operating costs associated with electricity consumption. Some of the key advantages here are reduced kVA charges, improved plant efficiency and network ...

Read more...
Battery monitoring for power utilities
August 2019, Comtest , Electrical Power & Protection
Comtest now offers the Midtronics Cellguard ELS+ electrolyte level monitoring system, an innovative solution for power utilities’ critical power reliability. This customer-driven product assures reliable ...

Read more...
Motor repair in Zambia keeps mine pumping
August 2019 , Electrical Power & Protection
Marthinusen & Coutts’ Cleveland Engineering Services Division, a division of Actom, recently teamed up with the Marthinusen & Coutts Kitwe facility in Zambia to rehabilitate medium voltage pump motors ...

Read more...
Dry-type transformer excels on mobile process plant
August 2019 , Electrical Power & Protection
Four dry-type transformers from Trafo Power Solutions have been proving their worth on a mobile process plant at a Sierra Leone mine. So successful have they been that the customer has ordered six more ...

Read more...