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ECSC technical coal research programme in the fields of mining engineering and coal utilization

The European Commission, DG XVII, has issued an invitation to submit project proposals for the ECSC technical coal research programme in the fields of mining engineering and coal utilization. In application of Article 55 of the ECSC Treaty, the European Commission administers...

The European Commission, DG XVII, has issued an invitation to submit project proposals for the ECSC technical coal research programme in the fields of mining engineering and coal utilization. In application of Article 55 of the ECSC Treaty, the European Commission administers a coal research programme whose aims and objectives are described in the medium-term guidelines for technical coal research 1994-1999 (OJ No C 67 of 4.3.1994) and under which financial aid is granted for projects in the fields of mining engineering and coal utilization. The normal level of funding is 60% of the estimated eligible costs of the projects selected for support. All persons or organizations of the Union may apply for such aid, and the method of application is laid down in a Commission communication (OJ No C 159 of 24.6.1982). The programme operates on an annual basis and normally covers the full range of research topics described in the medium-term guidelines. However, because of anticipated limitations to the ECSC budget, the Commission has decided to target the 1996 programme on a small number of high-priority topics that can have an impact in terms of improved protection of the environment and improved competitiveness of coal. It has also been decided to concentrate primarily on collaborative projects with a view to using the available resources as effectively as possible. Projects must be presented and carried out jointly by persons or organizations in at least two or, preferably, more of the Union's Member States, and high priority must be given to the exchange of results and experience among the partners during the course of the research. Applications for financial aid are invited for targeted projects in each of the following areas: - Support of long-term roadways: As the depth of mines increases, the problem of roadway stability becomes more acute. Costs for maintenance and repair increase exponentially with depth and it is therefore necessary to investigate topics such as: . Improvement of fundamental understanding of and development of measures against rock weathering processes in mine roadways, including the effects of roadway use, ground water, humidity and temperature; . Modelling and measurement of geomechanical properties and determination of appropriate support elements and combinations of supports; . Improvement of rock reinforcement materials and placement methods to ensure long-term reliability; . Reduction of horizontal roadway convergence; . Development of new methods for strata control and consolidation at great depth; . Properties of injection materials; - Application of geophysical and geodetic techniques to the determination of structure and monitoring of the surface: . Integrated application of a range of surface, in-mine and borehole seismic and non-seismic techniques to the determination of the geological structure of coal prospects and to a range of mining problems relating to old and new mine workings (e.g. detection of voids, ground stress measurement, surface problems); - Improved mine ventilation and climate control: Research in this field should be aimed at improving the performance and reducing the costs of mine ventilation and climate control, particularly through: . Improved software for the prediction of mine climate; . Development of a dynamic ventilation control system using recirculated air where possible; . Investigation of possibilities for novel ventilation procedures using pumped satellite boreholes; . Improved modelling and development of improved monitoring and control for modern mining conditions and practices; . Study of the problems of self-ignition; - Environmental aspects of water discharge and gas emissions from mines: . Assessment of risks to the surface arising from water movements and gas emissions; . Hydrogeological modelling and validation, and study of the long-term effects of fluid migration, particularly on stability; . Determination of the laws of methane desorption from partly flooded zones; . Development and application of monitoring methodologies; . Study of strategies for gas and water management; . Study of the use of old mine sites and recommendations for the decommissioning of mines; - Improved coal preparation, transport and handling: Emphasis should be placed on the quality of the coal product and its impact on subsequent upgrading and utilization processes. Particular areas of interest are: . Improved preparation of coal and lignite for manufactured fuels; . Improved control of coal properties with respect to end use; . Improvement of coal preparation plant maintenance; . Plant condition monitoring and fault evaluation by vibration analysis; - Assessment of blast-furnace coke quality: Developments in blast furnace technology have led to a major reduction in the amount of coke consumed per tonne of metal produced and, in consequence, to more stringent requirements with regard to the mechanical and chemical properties of the coke used. In these circumstances there is a need to improve and harmonize within the European Union the methods used to assess coke quality, and it is therefore proposed to support joint research covering: . The development of correlations between coke properties and blast furnace operation; . Determination of the coke quality characteristics that are of importance for modern blast furnace operation; . Standardization of appropriate test procedures and equipment; . Establishment of a catalogue of requirements for blast furnace coke that can serve both producers and consumers as a common basis for the certification of coke quality; - Reduction of coke oven pollution: The most pressing needs in this area are the reduction of the environmental impact of: . Fugitive emissions of particulates; . The olfactory effects associated with the release of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) during coke manufacture and by-product recovery; . Other emissions to the air, land and water courses; - Improved reliability, control and process simulation using advanced computer models: This area includes the quantification of pollutant emissions and investigation of their removal, particularly from gasification and combustion product streams. The effect of these products on materials used in coal utilization plant is of importance since it influences capital and operating costs as well as plant life expectancy. In the field of process simulation there is a need for modelling studies for all coal utilization processes, including, in particular, both conventional and advanced combustion and gasification at all scales. The main target areas are: . Prediction and control of environmental emissions; . Improvement of process efficiency; . Improvement of the understanding and predictability of coal utilization processes; . Improvement of process control supported by operational plant data; - Utilization of solid residues arising from coal: Although advanced coal utilization processes offer the prospect of better and cheaper control of gaseous emissions, they give rise to a new range of solid and liquid residues whose production and disposal must be fully considered. The processes of particular interest with regard to solid residues are fluidized bed combustion and gasification and conventional combustion plant with dry sorbent injection. More conventional residues such as colliery dirt, power station ash and the products of flue gas desuphurization also offer a disposal problem. R&D is needed in order to identify and evaluate opportunities for the utilization of residues and environmentally acceptable means for residue disposal. Consideration should be given to applications in mining and surface civil engineering, and to the conversion of residues to constructional and other materials. There is also an interest in carrying out full cycle analyses of coal utilization processes to identify further avenues for research and to provide an economic assessment of the benefits that can be achieved. In addition to supporting research in the areas described above, the Commission intends to allocate a certain proportion of the 1996 budget to individual projects in the following fields: - Techniques for mining thin and thick steep seams: . Improved mechanization of coal winning and face support; . Improved efficiency of sub-level caving faces; - Modern means for data transmission in mines: . Fibre optics; . Gateways between bus systems; . Bus couplers for measuring devices; - Development of new techniques for the removal of oxides of nitrogen and sulphur from flue gases. Consideration will be given to projects of limited cost on, for example: . Development of improved, low-cost sorbents; . Post-furnace sorbent injection; . Catalytic cleaning of flue gases at low temperature; - Advanced products derived from coal: There is a need to develop new high-value products derived from coal, such as: . Sorbents to reduce environmental emissions; . Activated carbons; . Carbon fibres; . Special carbons; . Materials produced by the further upgrading of coal by-products. Projects in these four fields need not be of a collaborative nature, although collaborative activity is welcomed. Consideration will also be given, taking into account the limitations of the budget, to the further funding of projects whose initial phases have received support and for which it is clear that it was originally intended to seek support for subsequent phases. Project proposals that are not related to such continuations or which fall outside the 13 fields described above will not be taken into consideration for the 1996 programme. Proposals should be prepared in the manner described in OJ No C 159 of 24.6.1982. Applications must be submitted to: European Commission DG XVII/D-2 200 rue de la Loi B-1049 Brussels