ContiTech promotes sustainable raw material extraction

Conveyor belt systems are the energy savers and climate protectors in conveyor technology. They consume only a fraction of the energy required by conventional means of transport and emit much less CO2. Often, the braking force in downward conveyance can even be used to generate ­electricity. This makes conveyor belt systems an indispensable com­ponent in sustainable raw ­material extraction. ContiTech, the world‘s leading manufacturer of conveyor belts, is consistently working on further optimizing this technology, thereby making an important contribution to better climate and environmental protection in conveyor technology.


A study by the renowned Institute of Mining at the Clausthal University of Technology calculated that 340 million t of CO2 could be saved in the next 30 years simply by employing conveyor belts more consistently when transporting raw materials. This represents the CO2 equivalent amount that the European Union, made up of fifteen countries at the time, pledged itself to reducing under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997. More consistent use in this context means steadily increasing the proportion of conveyor belt systems in the area of raw materials transport from the current level of 30  % to a level of 50  %. At present, more than 12.3 billion t of solid ­mineral raw materials are extracted each year. To get at these riches, another 28.84 billion t of spoil must also be hauled away.


ContiTech is not content to rest on its laurels, despite the excellent energy and environmental results of the conveyor belts; it is working intensively on researching and developing materials that would make it possible to operate conveyor belt systems with even greater energy efficiency. The focus here is on how to reduce movement resistances. Rolling resistance, which is partly dependent on the conveyor belt‘s material characteristics, makes up more than two thirds of the total movement resistance in the case of longer, horizontal conveyor belt systems. ContiTech’s research therefore concentrates on the rubber mixture, known as the compound. When it comes to producing the ideal compound, ContiTech can draw on its outstanding rubber expertise and decades of experience in research and development. In recent months, for example, a new rubber mixture was developed for conveyor belts, allowing reductions to the operating energy consumption of about 20  %.


In many cases, it is possible to generate electricity from downward conveyance. One example is in Jamaica (Fig.), where a conveyor belt system transports 1200 t of bauxite over a distance of 3.4 km and a drop in altitude of 470 m. The braking force is converted into an electrical output of 1300 kW – in three hours, as much energy is generated as the average four-person household in Germany consumes in a year. In addition to this, the system meant it was no longer necessary to build new roads. It replaces 1200 truck journeys each day, as well as the associated fuel consumption and CO2 and fine particle emissions that entails.


ContiTech AG, Hannover (D), Tel.: +49 511 938-02,


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