Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

Mark Kleinhans, Eleonora Widzyk-Capehart, André De Kock and Gareth Kennedy, Fighting mine fires with a small turbine engine, Proceedings of the 2023 Resource Operators Conference, University of Wollongong - Mining Engineering, February 2023, 134-143.


In the past, exhaust emissions and steam produced from large turbine engines have been successfully used to extinguish fires or early stages of spontaneous combustion of coal in underground coal mines. Extinguishing fires with a turbine engine exhaust emissions and steam eliminates the heat and displaces the oxygen. However, large turbine engines require a pre-existing connection port and the ability to force exhaust gasses throughout the existing underground coal mine ventilation systems and roadways. Simtars is assessing the viability of a smaller turbine engine, with the vision of the exhaust emissions being deployed through existing or newly drilled boreholes in close proximity to the source of the heating or fire. The viability is being investigated through small-scale trials at the Simtars testing facilities.

This paper presents the outcomes of the small-scale testing of the turbine engine considering: (1) the minimum pipe diameter the turbine engine can deliver the exhaust gases through; (2) the exhaust emissions produced from the turbine engine, especially carbon dioxide, oxygen, and carbon monoxide; (3) the output velocity and volumetric flow that the turbine engine can deliver through the minimum pipe bore diameter; and (4) the temperature and humidity values the turbine engine exhaust delivers through the minimum pipe bore diameter. The results show that the SteamexFire 300 output emission are adequate to extinguish a fire and spontaneous combustion of coal in an underground coal mine. However, the SteamexFire 300 turbine engine could not provide adequate gas flow through a 150 mm ducting as it produced excessive back pressure.