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La perforadora que funciona sólo con agua, un gran avance en 50 años de minería

1 marzo 2011 - 19:25 - Autor:

Dos ingenieros escoceses creen que pueden haber encontrado una solución que podría frenar el declive de las minas de oro de Sudáfrica y de otras muchas explotaciones del mundo que ya no resultan rentables por sus costes.

Durante más de 20 años, Douglas Barrows y su hijo Alan han estado trabajando en una tecnología para reducir la enorme cantidad de electricidad y agua que consumen los trabajos de minería, intentando también reducir su impacto ambiental al tiempo que aumentaban la productividad de la explotaciones.

Ahora, su empresa, Peterstow Aquapower, ha abierto una fábrica en el pequeño vecino de Sudáfrica, Swazilandia, para lanzar al mundo un concepto revolucionario: una perforadora que se sirve de la hidráulica del agua en circuito cerrado para funcionar.

El agua que corre por sus venas se recicla continuamente a alta presión para suministrar alimentación a un taladro de una manera mucho más eficiente que el aire comprimido. Esto se hace con una serie componentes que encajan entre sí con tanta precisión que no es necesario aceite para lubricarlos; sólo agua.

antes

Ahora

Con este taladro especializado ya no es necesario bombear agua de enfriamiento y aire continuamente a la mina, para luego volver a sacarlo de nuevo a la superficie, ahorrando una gran cantidad de energía en compresores y bombas hidráulicas.

El taladro de Peterstow sustituye esta extensa red de tuberías por un taladro autónomo y una batería del tamaño de una nevera pequeña, con un sistema de presurización que necesita que el agua viaje alrededor de sólo 30 metros en un bucle constante.

Esta tecnología podría reducir el consumo total de energía de los trabajos de extracción hasta en un tercio, según algunos consultores de la industria minera. Para los inventores, el aire comprimido es probablemente el uso más ineficiente de la energía que se puede encontrar: su rendimiento mecánico es de sólo un 8%. El otro 92% de la energía se manifiesta principalmente en forma de calor.

Con este taladro, “se usa menos del uno por ciento de la energía que entra en un compresor para obtener el mismo resultado de perforación”. Y todo porque la transmisión de una fuerza en el agua es mucho más eficiente que a través del aire.

Además del ahorro de energía, el sistema utiliza dos toneladas de agua por cada tonelada de mineral extraído, en comparación con los cinco o seis asociados con la tecnología existente. Además, este agua es constantemente filtrada y reutilizada, lo que también repercute en las condiciones de trabajo para los mineros, que en lugar de continuos chorros de polvo y aire caliente impregnado de aceite lubricante, reciben de la perforación un flujo de lodo bastante controlable.

No hay aceite, lo que significa que tampoco hay contaminantes en la roca obtenida. Además, se reduce el ruido ensordecedor de los taladros convencionales.

El secreto de la perforadora de Peterstow está en su interior. Utiliza aluminio, acero y cerámica en varias capas para crear componentes que se deslizan uno sobre otro, con agua en lugar de con aceite de lubricación. Como el agua se mete por todas partes, los componentes tienen que ser fabricados a un espesor entre dos y cinco micras, para una eficiencia máxima a 1.900 revoluciones por minuto, 10 veces más rápido que los equipos convencionales de extracción.

Esta velocidad y eficiencia significan que el taladro es mucho más productivo, disminuyendo el coste unitario de producción y lanzando un rayo de esperanza a las minas del mundo que luchan por sobrevivir sin subvenciones, sobre todo las sudafricanas, donde se esconde el 50% de las reservas de oro del mundo.

Aunque este taladro y su tecnología es mucho más caro que los actuales en el mercado, Peterstow Aquapower afirma que, sin la necesidad de compresores de aire o una red de tuberías subterráneas, aún así se podrían reducir los costos de equipamiento de una nueva mina hasta en un 60 por ciento.

Y aumentar la ganancia exponencialmente a partir de una profundidad máxima de alrededor de 3.2 kilómetros; a más de 5 km, el ahorro podría ser vital para el futuro de la industria. “Creemos que ésta es la pieza más importante que ha golpeado la industria minera en 50 años. El interés que hemos recibido por ella así lo refleja”, afirman sus orgullosos creadores.

Más info: Peterstow

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247 Comentarios

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Excelente! este tipo de tecnologías pueden cambiar la forma en que vemos el mundo.

Espero pronto ver alguno de estos equipos funcionando en México.

Muy curioso, no sabía que el aire comprimido tuviese una eficiencia de sólo un 8% y encima hace un ruido ensordecedor…

Innovadora tecnologia desde el punto de vista ambiental, por la reduccion de consumo de energia y el impacto ambiental en el entorno de los operadores de este equipo.
Deseo conocer que empresas actualmente estan optando por esta tecnologia.

gghbnl

Realmente me parece muy interesante este tipo de tecnologia para crear torque y percusion a partir de un sistema hidrahulico basado en agua a alta presion….
yo soy investigador cientifico y trabajo actualmente en un proyecto con sistemas hidrotermales es desir un termohidromotor o la version moderna y simplificada del motor a vapor mucho mas pequeño versatil y potente….

donde puedo contactarlos para hacer pruebas en mina subterranea

Lástima que no hagan una que funciones solo con mineros (hasta consumirlos a todos), porque el agua vale mucho más que el oro ¡!

Estoy interesado en adquirir un equipo para prueba e implementar el equipo en toda la mina, dime las formas de contacto en Peru.

Saludos,

Walter Reyes.

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BUENO,YO HE VENIDO UTILIZANDO MAQUINAS ELECTRICAS COMO LA HILTI.ESTOY PARA CAMBIAR TODA LA MINA PASAME EL CONTACTO URGENTE PARA COMPRAR.
SALUDOS

Estimados mis saludos, la presente para pedirles las direcciones de comunicación para adquirir una perforadora, me coticen y dejen su dirección para podernos contactar, a la espera de su información me suscribo.

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