Home » Archive News In Brief » News in Brief 2017 » News in Brief Issue 06_2017 » The best thesis at the conference: THGA student receives the Oskar-Niemczyk prize in Austria
Fig. 1. Speaker Prof Christian Melchers awards the Oskar-Niemczyk prize to THGA graduate Stefan Schnell. // Bild 1. Laudator Prof. Christian Melchers vergibt den Oskar-Niemczyk-Preis an THGA-Absolvent Stefan Schnell. Photo/Foto: RAG

The best thesis at the conference: THGA student receives the Oskar-Niemczyk prize in Austria

How can the world power itself in the long term? And how can we make sustainable use of raw materials in the future? Experts frequently exchange ideas on these topics at the “Mining, Energy and Raw Materials” conference held by the Deutscher Mark­scheider-Verein (DMV). This year, the conference took place at the Montan­universität Leoben in Austria. Specialists from the TH Georg Agricola (THGA) University of Applied Sciences, Bochum/Germany, also take advantage of this forum to discuss issues with other industry experts. Stefan Schnell, graduate from the professional Master’s course “Geological Engineering and Post-Mining” offered by the THGA, was awarded the Oskar Niemczyk prize for his innovative monitoring system “Mineberry” (Figure 1). The conference will come to Bochum and the THGA for the first time in 2019.
Stefan Schnell’s concept was able to win over the expert jury: For his Master’s thesis, this 37 year old developed a monitoring system that can control the surface openings of former mining operations. Openings of this kind left over from mining operations near to the surface, sometimes centuries old, are particularly prevalent in the southern Ruhr region. Stefan Schnell’s employer, RAG Aktiengesellschaft, is monitoring around 4,000 old shafts in this area. Approximately 20 of these shafts are repaired each year. “The large number of legacies means that not all properties can be completely overhauled with immediate effect, so monitoring technologies are required on a transitional basis,” explains Stefan Schnell, referring to his idea, developed in conjunction with a number of electrical engineers at the THGA. The sensors on his Mineberry detect the smallest changes or ground motion at the surface. “If anything subsides, the responsible engineer immediately receives a live image on their mobile. Everything is powered by environmentally-friendly solar cells.” The guide in Stefan Schnell’s Master’s thesis will serve as the groundwork for the implementation of such monitoring systems in future. (THGA/Si.)