IIT-K makes a breakthrough in the transportation of coal and minerals

01 Feb 2023

With its innovative compressed air-based pipeline system for coal and mineral transportation, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has made a significant contribution to the transportation industry.

The system, which was created by Professor Bishakh Bhattacharya and researchers Kanhaiya Lal Chaurasia and Yashasvi Sinha from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Kanpur, is said to revolutionise the transportation of minerals and coal.

The traditional mode of transportation has always been difficult, as evidenced by issues like material loss, delivery time uncertainty, and air pollution, according to an official release.

The new cargo-based hyperloop system promises to significantly reduce air pollution, material loss, and travel time while effectively addressing these issues.

Director of IIT Kanpur Prof. Abhay Karandikar stated, "This system is a game-changer in the field of transportation." This technology will significantly boost underground and open-cast mining production and productivity due to its dual benefits of simultaneously monitoring pipelines and reducing energy consumption. Additionally, the reduced number of trucks and railway wagons will lessen the burden placed on clogged freight-carrying roadways and tracks."

The system uses compressed air as its energy source to move coal or slurry from one location to another. The robot can continuously transport the loaded block to the designated receiving/unloading sub-section and travels at approximately 120 km/hr. This will be a continuous process, and depending on the workload and requirements, more than one robotic vehicle may operate in series.

Even parallel pipeline loops have the potential to significantly improve transportation efficiency. Through a ball and socket joint, the vehicle's modules are connected to one another. The robot can navigate the intricate bends in the pipeline network thanks to this system's connectivity and manoeuvrability.

A continuous, accurate, and dependable vehicle/robot positioning system is also included in the system. The system employs a hybrid multi-sensor fusion strategy for wagon positioning in pipelines in order to achieve such positioning performance in extended GPS-denied environments like tunnels and pipelines.

With a delivery rate of 5.6 T/min/km, the system may have a power consumption of approximately 107 KW and a pipe diameter of just 40 inches.

The system, which was developed at IIT Kanpur's Smart Materials, Structures, and Systems (SMSS) Lab, has already been demonstrated successfully at the UP Global Investors Summit 2023 and has received favourable feedback from industry professionals.

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