Utilization of Booster Fans in Underground Coal Mines


A booster fan is an underground fan installed in series with a main surface fan and used to boost the air pressure of the ventilation air passing through it. To accomplish this objective, the fan is installed in a permanent stopping and equipped with airlock doors, a monitoring system, and interlocking devices between main and booster fan controls. The stopping and doors are used to prevent flow recirculation, and the monitors to ensure safe operation of the fan. A booster fan, properly sized and sited, can be used to create safe work conditions and allow the extraction of minerals from areas that would otherwise be uneconomic to mine. In deep and large mines with heavy emissions of air contaminants, the required quantities of air can only be supplied by using high pressure fans. These fans will inevitably induce significant losses of fresh airflow through the stoppings and doors. For well defined ventilation circuits, booster fans can be used to decrease the main fan pressures and reduce the leakage flows. However, this will require a good understanding of the correct ventilation practice, from planning to operation and maintenance of booster fans. The objective of this study is to investigate the conditions under which booster fans can be used safely and efficiently in underground coal mines. Specifically, the study is directed at (1) collecting reliable information on airway resistances and flow requirements from two large U.S coal mines, (2) collecting fan performance data from one or more existing coal mine where booster fans are used regularly, (3) monitoring the performance of booster fans in a laboratory model and an experimental mine, (4) developing a booster fan selection method to assist the ventilation engineer at the planning stage, and (5) training six M.S. or Ph.D. graduate students in advanced mine ventilation.

Meeting Name

2010 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit (2010: Feb. 28-Mar. 3, Phoenix, AZ)


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Booster Fan; Coal Mines; Ventilation Air

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2010 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

03 Mar 2010

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