The Rhenish mining area has the biggest single lignite deposit in Europe. Here, RWE mines just under 100 million tons a year, lignite being Germany’s most important domestic energy source, and always with the aspiration of working with max. efficiency and min. environmental impact. 

Better forecasts 

In the mining and upgrading of lignite, our scientists and engineers are focussing their efforts on materials-handling technology. For opencast mining operations, advances in this field mean high efficiency, lower energy consumption, more flexibility. An example: conveyor belts today, many kilometres in length, are monitored by sensors. This provides RWE with vital data which hep produce better forecasts on the availability of the large-scale equipment. This improves deployment and maintenance.

Map of opencast mines

Novel technology 

Central tasks are also performed by RWE's scientists and engineers in the renaturation of opencast-mine surfaces and in environmental protection. For example, they investigate the cultivation of renewable raw materials on post-mining land or develop technologies that ensure more effective emission avoidance. Hence, RWE uses novel extra-fine spray mist systems to combat the dust that emerges during mining. The shape to be given to ecologically valuable post-mining landscapes is planned and supported in extensive long-term inter-disciplinary projects.   

Expertise in demand 

Besides this, research and development are also in demand when it comes to coal upgrading. What matters here is that we tap new applications for lignite products and produce low-pollutant fuels. The experts also provide impetus outside actual mining. They input their geological expertise, e.g., into European projects that investigate safe CO2 storage in deep layers of the Earth.

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