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2019.11.05

Keys to space frame coal storage

The necessary measures to ensure proper maintenance of operations, coal stockpile is crucial to running an efficient, environmentally-friendly coal plant. If stored improperly, the value of coal pile can decrease significantly, and if left uncovered to the elements, it will burn less efficiently as well as register lower BTU values. In addition to the obvious fiscal consequences for your business, the dust runoff from unsealed coal will end up contaminating local water sources and gardens.

In order to ensure your coal supply lasts until you are ready to use it, follow these tips below for responsible storage.

Simple Steps for Coal Storage

No matter the size of your reserve, the main goal of coal storage is to minimize loss by preventing spontaneous combustion and minimizing coal loss. Spontaneous combustion occurs in coal piles when low-temperature oxidation slowly heats up the material to a volatile point. When coal is thoroughly oxidized and the temperature in a pile climbs high enough (usually 500 degrees Celsius), methane in the coal ignites and spells trouble for your coal pile and anything around it.

The first step in preventing spontaneous combustion is to take necessary preventative measures. The stockpile should adhere to principles of proper stockpile management such as: packing it in horizontal layers, followed by leveling and dozing. Minimize moisture content to avoid oxidation, and if possible,place the stockpile in a location with limited exposure to wind. Finally, sealing stockpiles is the single most effective way to prevent these problems and ensure you are in compliance with stringent regulatory requirements.

When the coal is not being used, it should be monitored for temperature and gas levels. With routine measurements, you can ensure the temperature of your stockpile remains around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and well below 70 degrees F as the prime temperature for combustion. Gas tests will indicate whether carbon monoxide levels have climbed to 50 ppm or above, which also indicates heat in the stockpile.

Other Ways to Keep Your Pile Under Control

The payoff of effective coal pile management for operators and managers is clear. It facilitates compliance with EPA and other government agency guidelines, provides a cleaner and healthier work environment for all of your employees, and leads to better community relation, as local citizens will value your commitment to keeping the area dust-free.