Diesel generators are used extensively throughout the mining industry due to the limited availability of utility power at remotely located mine sites. The generators are used in a variety of applications including utility loads for the mine’s accommodations and offices, production facilities, and remote site operations.
Due to the fact that mines typically span numerous kilometres, it is often impractical to provide multiple generator sets throughout the mine facility because each generator will require fuel, maintenance, electrical distribution and general oversight. For this reason many mines turn to generators that generate electricity at medium voltage such as 4160V in order to reduce the cabling sizes required to transmit power throughout the mine site. By increasing the voltage of the generator end, the same copper within the wire is able to transmit more power while still carrying the same amount of amperage through the cable. Amps are the limiting factor for the copper within an electrical cable, however once the voltage exceeds 1000V, the copper cable needs to include additional insulation to ensure there is no chance for short circuits in the power electrical conductors.
Besides reducing the size of the copper conductors required to transmit the power between the generator and the electrical load, utilizing 4160 volts also reduces the voltage drop experienced by lower voltage systems over extremely long lengths of cable runs between the generator and the load. By reducing the voltage loss experienced, fuel economies are increased and the generator set itself becomes more efficient.
4160 volt generators are available in both stationary and mobile applications depending on the desired requirement of the generator. Stationary generators running at 4160 V are used in conjunction with a large electrical distribution system in order to provide power to a large portion or even the entire mine. As a result of the decreased voltage drop associated with 4160 V generators, mines are able to provide a centralized power plant to generate electricity away from other site installations. This will reduce noise, pollutions and vibrations, and will allow for ease of maintenance and fuelling during routine maintenance and service because the systems can be worked on whenever the service is required, without having to worry about interrupting other workers at the mine site.
Mobile 4160 volt generators are also available, however they are more rare, and are used with mobile machinery that require a large energy supply. The 4160 V generators in this case are equipped with trailing cables which are similar to everyday extensions cords, but are intended for industrial prime use. The trailing cables will typically include a specialized conductor that is connected to a ground fault monitor located with the generator set. This ground fault monitor is intended to detect the slightest trace of a ground fault of electricity between the generator set and earth. If a fault is detected the ground fault monitor will send a signal to the circuit breaker to trip and disconnect the electrical load from the generator. By isolating the generator from the load, the risk of accidental electrocution is greatly reduced by have a ground fault monitor with the 4160V generator.
4160 volt generators are available as small as 300kW and range in size in excess of 2000kW. If you are interested in finding out more about 4160V generators for your application please contact us.