Compare The Market - Fog Cannons vs GRT Dust Suppression

The present-day dust suppression market is very competitive and every business in the game works tirelessly to have a marketing edge over the other. The evolution of the dust suppression market has also introduced a different approach to the traditional hardware that has been in the market for years. Technology has brought a radical shift in dust suppression operations and it’s no longer about hardware prowess but technical ability to deal with dust based on its intricate details – chemical nature, particle size and surface energy characteristics.

The critical questions you should ask yourself before investing in a dust suppression hardware unit are:

  • Can I reduce costs?
  • Can I save water?
  • How do I lower my power consumption?
  • Is my uncontrolled environment a limitation?
  • Is dust eliminated, captured, or just blocked?

In this compare series article, we give a credible comparison of the marketplace between fog cannon dust suppression systems vs GRT dust suppression systems. 




A fog cannon is a high-powered fan or jet with specially engineered nozzles that spray water in the form of ultra-fine droplets. They are deployed in the industrial setting as a dust suppression tool and also as an effective evaporative mechanism or to disinfect and deodorise enclosed spaces. For dust suppression, fogging systems work particularly well as a barrier or curtain to dust movement.

Fog cannons systems are energy-intensive and need to use electricity or generator sets (petrol or diesel) to power high-pressure water pumps and high-powered turbine fans that convert water into an atomized mist via nozzles. The high-pressure pump and the fine atomizing nozzle atomize the water. The air volume and pressure of the fan send the atomized water mist to a long-distance range as a jet in the air. The mist cannon has many nozzles that atomize water droplets into billions of tiny water droplets making them comparable to dust particle sizes.

Small water droplets are more effective at airborne dust suppression. To catch fugitive dust in the air and bring it to the ground, the water droplet and dust particle needs to be roughly the same size. If the droplet is larger than the dust particle, the dust particle has a tendency to follow the airstream around the droplet which is known as the ‘slipstream effect’. If the diameters of the water droplet and dust particle are comparable, the dust particle is more likely to collide with the droplet and be absorbed, driving the dust to the ground.

The main specifications that govern the fog cannon systems include, throw distance, total power, fan power, pump power, electrical power, generator size, water consumption, water supply connection, water supply pressure, working pressure, oscillation, rotation and vertical tilt.

Fog cannons are heavily used for demolition dust control. Also in other applications such as mining, quarrying, processing, recycling plants, landfills etc.


GRT Dust Suppression Systems

GRT is a world leader in innovative and superior dust suppression systems. GRT’s dust suppression systems use less water and offer a cost-effective, site-specific solution.

GRT’s dust suppression system includes the dust suppression product, SMART dosing units, the GRT dust management app, technical support, site visits, and much more.

Always at the forefront of innovation, GRT’s solar-powered SMART dosing units capture and use powerful data to improve water cart fleet management while cost-effectively eliminating dust. These autonomous Dosing Units are the key hardware component of GRT’s industry-leading dust suppression systems offering the most effective haul road management and dust control.

GRT Dust Suppression Systems

GRT provides dust suppression systems for different applications ranging from mines, logistics yards, dual-track light rails, haul roads, festival grounds, lodge access roads, and maintenance yards.

Comparison Summary

Factor Fog Cannons GRT’s Systems
Product for dust suppression Water only Polymer with water
Environment effect Very high Low
Demolition dust – Asbestos & Silica  Less Effective Highly Effective
Mine & Industrial Roads Captures the dust generated Prevents dust from being generated
Crushing, Processing & Stockpiles  Continuous material handling for dust capture One-time material handling for long lasting results
Dynamic Dust – Drilling & Blasting  Low Efficiency High Efficiency
Cost Effectiveness Low High
Water Usage High Low
Power Usage High Low

Fog cannon systems Vs GRT’s dust suppression systems

Fog Cannon - Product Used for Dust Suppression

Product used for Dust suppression

Fog cannons predominantly use water only for dust suppression. However, water alone is not sufficient due to the hydrophobic nature of dust. Traditional water-based methods employed are ineffective due to the water’s chemistry as it has high surface tension. This becomes an unsustainable dust management practice due to the amount of continual watering required to try and manage dust.

They are limited in the type of dust controlled. When dust particles are hydrophobic in nature, the fog will only act as a barrier, rather than capturing the dust and dropping it out of suspension.

However, fog cannon dust suppression can greatly be improved by dosing water with GRT products such as GRT: Activate and GRT: Activate UG. These products super activate water by lowering its surface energy and enhancing its ability to capture dynamic dust and drop it out of suspension.

Effect of environment on Dust suppression

Fog cannons can be used in different dust control applications. However, their limitation is in the requirement of a controlled and restricted environment to work. Ideally, an enclosed environment, with minimal wind velocity in the application areas as tiny water droplets will be blown away by strong wind in open space. The fog must stay in the air, undisturbed and prolonged to be able to slowly bond to the dust particles.

GRT dust suppression systems have no such limitations. For example, GRT: Enviro-Binder is can be used in extreme environments such as bushfires and disturbed sands. Following the 2019/2020 Australian Bushfire season, GRT was selected to provide the expertise for managing hazardous dust. GRT Enviro-binder was used and it provided many innovative benefits and delivered high performing results. In the Sunshine Coast airport expansion project, GRT successfully provided a solution for the treatment of over 600,000m2 of disturbed sand with the supply of 6,000 litres of GRT: Soil-Loc.

Fog Cannons - Effect of environment on dust suppression

"Placement, direction, and environment - the biggest drawbacks of using Fog Cannons."

Fog Cannons - Demolition Dust Management

Demolition dust management

Fog cannons are heavily used for this demolition dust suppression. Demolition produces large amounts of respirable and inhalable dust particles. However, using a fog cannon only blocks dust which is not good for capturing and dropping out of suspension – silica, asbestos dust and other heavy metals after demolition on the surface.

GRT provides demolition dust suppression products GRT Rubble-Loc and GRT: Activate. These products target different dust particles based on their chemical nature and lock down demolition dust onsite. GRT demolition dust suppression products can be used to wet down the fall area thereby capturing and dropping the contaminated demolition dust out of suspension and from wind generated pollutions blown at your staff and the surrounding landholders.

Mine and industrial roads – Haul roads, LV roads and industrial yard roads

Oscillating fog cannons positioned at the boundary of the mine site are used for haul road dust containment, rather than supression. They rely on strategic placement, direction and pitch of the fog cannons to create a mist curtain to dissipate dust generated from haul roads.

GRT: Haul-Loc works through binding the fines (which can become airborne dust) both to the ground and to each other. This holds them down, and also makes the particles heavier and drop out of suspension. The product will help maintain the surface of the road, so you should see the requirement for grading reduce and there is no risk of turning the dusty surface into a muddy surface as the moisture content is optimised.

Fog Cannon - Mine Haul and LV roads dust suppression
Fog Cannon - Fix plant, Processing and Crushing dust

Fixed plant, Crushing, Processing, Conveying, Stacking and Stockpiles

The conveyor belt automated transfer point fogging dust suppression system ensures airborne dust particles are captured and trapped by increasing the surface area of one droplet of water to create mist vapour capable of capturing respirable dust particles. Fog cannons are also used for dust suppression on the formation of stockpiles or to reduce wind erosion of already formed stockpiles. However, their efficiency is based on particle size and particle solubility alone.

GRT implements a combination of chemistry and particle size in making water work for conveyor and transfer point dust suppression. GRT products such as GRT Activate suppress dust by wetting the material to optimal moisture content, preventing fines from being carried off into the air, or to the air above the material, to return airborne fines to the material bed. The incentive to use GRT products is that the material does not have to be handled again. The suppressed dust returns to the main body of conveyed material and on into the process, without requiring additional material handling equipment. GRT: Ore-Loc provides an exceptional surface coating/crusting solution on all ore and material surface types reducing wind-borne material loss.

"Dust capture Vs Dust prevention - Fog cannons reduces dust at the end of the pipeline, while eliminating dust at the sources is more efficient"

Dynamic dust – Drilling & Blasting, underground mining

Fog cannons use sensors or remote activation for blasting operations excess of 600m. They are capable of suppressing dust caused by high volume dust events such as blasting, and the low throw distance is usually necessary for this. However, water is used and its high surface energy reduces the efficiency of dust suppression for drilling and blasting operations. 

GRT: DC Binder prevents dust generation from the hazardous piles of drill cuttings produced by drill & blast activities. Most fine, hazardous dusts are hydrophobic (water-hating). So regardless of the amount used, the high surface tension and surface charge of water means they repel each other – like trying to force two positive ends of a magnet together.  The addition of GRT: 12X to your drill water changes its nature almost instantaneously, capturing and encapsulating the dust within the water. In underground operations, GRT: Activate UG super-activates water to overcome this behaviour causing the water to immediately engulf airborne particles, forcing them to drop out of suspension in the air.

Fog cannons for Dynamic Dust - Drilling blasting and underground mining
Fog Cannons - Capital Expenditure

Capital Expenditure

Fog cannons require high investment upfront and more costs come from ongoing operational and maintenance needs. Pricing is very dependent on the size of the unit and throw that the unit needs to generate. Basic units without power can range from $30,000 to $60,000, and power sources such as a Genset can cost up to an additional $5,000 to $10,000. The more you require mobility or remote capability, the higher this cost will be.

The GRT goal is to provide cost-effective dust control through the use of remotely operated automated dosing, using less water, solar-powered units and long-lasting products.

For example – for as little as $0.10 per sqm, GRT: DC Binder can be used in mine sites and quarries to ensure drill cuttings and surface particles are bound to form a tough crust, that is not only environmentally friendly but is still 100% effective despite inclement weather such as rain and high winds.

Water Usage

Fog cannons atomize water via the nozzle into suitable dust-reducing water mist particles. This speeds up the dust-reducing speed and makes the spraying more uniform. They are also better than basic low-pressure spray nozzles. However, they are incapable of significant coverage due to evaporation. This means you have to use more water to achieve greater coverage. High water consumption resulting from their continuous work, increases water costs of using fog cannons.

GRT’s dust suppression systems reduce water consumption through water efficiency,  water savings and longevity of the spray-on application.

For example, GRT: Haul-Loc reduces water usage by 65%. By applying GRT: Haul-loc in open-cut mining, in the height of summer for 10 to 15 minutes, you achieve 2+ hours of dust suppression compared to water alone dust suppression. Over a 24 hour shift, there is a reduction from 16-18 loads to 8-9 loads of water per day. This means dust suppression, without overwetting. This frees up water truck resources.

Fog Cannons - Water Usage

"Fog Cannon's 'spray & pray' methods consume more power, water, and incur high costs, while GRT's long-lasting dust solutions are highly effective, reduces water consumption, as well as use sustainable solar-powered power sources."

Fog Cannon - Power Saving

Power Usage

Fog cannons are ‘power hungry’. They either run off diesel or petrol-driven engines or there is a need for a constant power supply. The power consumption of a fog cannon changes according to throw and therefore machine size. At a bare minimum, a 400V power supply with fog cannon has a  power consumption ranging from 4kW to 400kW for bigger ones.

The GRT Dust suppression systems employ the SMART dosing units that run on stand-alone solar-powered units. The solar units at the standpipe enable you to beat power unavailability and contribute to your reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

In the Crossriver Rail Project, GRT used water powered dosing pumps which are which require no external power. The dose of concentrate is directly proportional to the volume of water entering the pump, regardless of variations in flow and pressure which may occur in the main line.

Dust capture and Dust elimination

Fog cannons capture dust but this is just an end of pipe or process solution technology. They cannot eliminate or prevent dust at its source. There needs to be continuous spraying for dust suppression to occur. Fog cannon being a fixed point asset also means that it’s limited directionally. Prevention is better than cure – Fog cannons are curing but GRT products prevent by eliminating dust at the source.

For example, GRT Haul-Loc eliminates dust at the source so no dust is generated in the first place. There is no need to create a mist curtain to dissipate any dust generated as it is dealt with at its source.

GRT: ACTIVATE can greatly improve the function and outcome of fogging systems for dust control. In material handling operations it ensures the processed material is wetted out sufficiently. It confers your material with the right moisture content, so that it doesn’t generate dust at conveyor and transfer points

Fog cannons - dust capture and dust elimination

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