Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

ECSC projects in the fields of mining engineering and coal use

The Commission has published an invitation to submit project proposals for research in the fields of mining engineering and coal use.

Under Article 55 of the ECSC Treaty, the European Commission administers a technical coal research programme whose aims are described in the Medium-Term Guidelines for Technical Coal Research 1994 to 1999 published in the Official Journal (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 aid is 60% of the estimated total 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 fully covers the comprehensive range of research topics described in the past and current guidelines.

Because of anticipated limitations to the ECSC research budget, the Commission has decided to target the 1995 programme on a small number of high-priority topics that can have an impact in terms of improved environmental control and safety, and improved cost competitiveness. It has also been decided to concentrate primarily on collaborative projects with a view to using the available resources as effectively as possible.

Projects in the selected areas must be presented and carried out jointly by organizations in at least two or, preferably, more of the Union's Member States, and high priority will be given to the exchange of results and experience among the partners during the course of the research.

The notice covers the following areas:

- Methane control in mines:
. Improving knowledge of methane distribution;
. Optimizing drainage techniques around high-production workings;
. Adapting drainage or degasification techniques to inclined seams;
. Developing safe, reliable means of diluting methane at the face end, and in drivages and blind headings;
. Safe and economic utilization of air/methane mixtures.

- Application of geotechnical techniques for planning and support of roadways, galleries and face ends:
. The application and validation of numerical models for use on a personal computer to analyse geotechnical problems of stability, taking account of the rock mass around workings, roadways and galleries, the support elements, and strata affected by mining;
. Construction of models representing the interaction between rock mass and support elements, particularly with application to rock bolts used in conjunction with steel arches;
. Study of the specific problem of siting and support of coalmine roadways in the vicinity of old wastes (pillar edges, gateside packs and pillar sizes).

- Pan-European exchange of mining safety explosives:
. Round-robin testing of mining safety explosives produced in the countries of the European Union under national conditions in the authorized testing institutes of the countries concerned;
. Comparative evaluation of the test results;
. Formulation of recommendations on the use of such explosives;
. Possible development of a common testing method.

- Hot dry gas cleaning:
. For PFBC systems, particle removal by improved or alternative versions of the ceramic candle filter should be considered, as well as improved control of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen.
. For IGCC systems, there is a need to consider the removal of carbon-rich particles, the control of fuel-bound nitrogen, H2S removal, alkali control and trace element characterization and control. The question of interactions between the different processes is of particular importance in this case.

- Management of solid residues arising from coal mining, advanced coal utilization processes and sorbent injection in conventional processes:
. Means for minimizing the production of coal utilization residues;
. Residue utilization opportunities;
. Environmentally acceptable means for residue disposal.

- Process performance and quality control:
. Improvement of coal preparation systems to ensure that a consistent feedstock can be provided to meet optimum process requirements;
. Definition and implementation of techniques to ensure the safety both coal preparation and coal utilization plants;
.Improvement of predictive methods for assessing impact on plant performance, system reliability, emissions and product quality.
In addition to supporting research in the areas described above, the Commission intends to allocate a certain proportion of the 1995 budget to individual projects in the following fields:

- Explosion and fire development prevention.

. Development of active barriers and quenching systems (operated manually or automatically) around mechanized workings;
. Development of systems which can be activated just in advance of potentially dangerous phases of mining operations;
. Development of systems for the rapid and effective stopping of workings suffering spontaneous ignition;
. Extension of frictional ignition control techniques to continuous miners.

- Improvement and development of carbon products derived from coal:
Materials to be considered include metallurgical and other cokes, briquettes, electrode carbons, etc., as well as new or advanced materials.

Projects in these two 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 from the original proposals that it was intended to seek support for subsequent phases. Project proposals that are not related to such continuations or which fall outside the eight fields described above will not be taken into consideration for the 1995 programme.

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