Design Study for the European Underground Research Infrastructure related to Advanced Adiabatic Compressed Air Energy Storage

Innovative excavation methods

Main objectives

  • Application of laser technology to assist or replace conventional mechanical rock cutters
  • Performance assessed through basic experiments with specific energies under various circumstances
  • Development of concepts to apply laser power in tunnelling

Laser-assisted mechanical cutting

First results:

  • Movement speed of roadheader cutting head comparatively slow
  • Pre-carving the rock face using laser at moderate powers possible
  • Laser beam pre-treats path of cutting tool to reduce required force to break rock

Main benefits

  • Total power requirement for tunneling machine can be lowered
  • reduced wear on tools
  • higher efficiency in hard rock environments