Mining ventilation should ensure in the excavations required amount of air on the basis of determined regulations and to mitigate various hazards. These excavations are mainly: longwalls, function chambers and headings. Considering the financial aspect, the costs of air distribution should be as low as possible and due to mentioned above issues the optimal air distribution should be taken into account including the workers safety and minimization of the total output power of main ventilation fans. The optimal air distribution is when the airflow rate in the mining areas and functional chambers are suitable to the existing hazards, and the total output power of the main fans is at a minimal but sufficient rate.

Restructuring of mining sector in Poland is usually connected with the connection of different mines. Hence, dependent air streams (dependent air stream flows through a branch which links two intake air streams or two return air streams) exist in ventilation networks of connected mines. The zones of intake air and return air include these air streams. There are also particular air streams in the networks which connect subnetworks of main ventilation fans. They enable to direct return air to specified fans and to obtain different airflows in return zone. The new method of decreasing the costs of ventilation is presented in the article.

The method allows to determine the optimal parameters of main ventilation fans (fan pressure and air quantity) and optimal air distribution can be achieved as a result. Then the total output power of the fans is the lowest which makes the reduction of costs of mine ventilation.

The new method was applied for selected ventilation network. For positive regulation (by means of the stoppings) the optimal air distribution was achieved when the total output power of the fans was 253.311 kW and for most energy-intensive air distribution it was 409.893 kW. The difference between these cases showed the difference in annual energy consumption which was 1 714 MWh what was related to annual costs of fan work equaled 245 102 Euro. Similar values for negative regulation (by means of auxiliary fans) were: the total output power of the fans 203.359 kW (optimal condition) and 362.405 kW (most energy-intensive condition). The difference of annual energy consumption was 1 742 MWh and annual difference of costs was 249 106 Euro. The differences between optimal airflows considering positive and negative regulations were: the total output power of fans 49.952 kW, annual energy consumption 547 MWh, annual costs 78 217 Euro.

KW - mining ventilation network KW - forced airflow KW - ventilation costs KW - airflow optimization in ventilation network KW - safe mining ventilation KW - dependent air streams T1 - Optimization of Forced Air Flow by the Comparison of Positive and Negative Regulations in Mine Ventilation Network