With technology rapidly advancing to meet evolving operational challenges, engineers do not often look backward for solutions. However, in examining options for supplying cooling and compressed air for ultra-deep mines, engineers may have found the answer in a technology that is more than 100 years old.

Soon, test results will reveal if resurrecting and refining Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC) technology holds the key for affordable, resource-conscious cooling.

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(img. This test setup is located at a research facility in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Project sponsors are using the 30-m-high rig to evaluate possible use of HAC as an energy-efficient process for providing cooling air to ultra-deep mines.)