The rules for safe and effective coal storage are few, but proper adherence is essential.
Taking necessary measures to ensure proper maintenance of your operation’s coal stockpile is crucial to running an efficient, environmentally-friendly coal plant. Stored improperly, the value of your coal pile can decrease significantly. Left uncovered to the elements, it will burn less efficiently and 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.
To ensure your coal supply lasts until you’re ready to use it, follow these tips 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: 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 — 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, healthier work environment for all of your employees, and leads to better community relations, as local citizens will value your commitment to keeping the area dust-free.
So in addition to all of the above, consider employing a range of products to guarantee your coal pile stays safe and dust-free. Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc.’s line of dust control and stockpile sealing solutions are geared toward limiting the level of erosion, moisture penetration,spontaneous combustion, and fugitive dust emissions in coal piles.
Add a coat of Midwest’s patented Soil-Sement® polymer emulsion to chemically bond and seal the surface of your pile, thereby preventing wind from lifting fines into the air and moisture from soaking your supply. With Midwest’s engineered solutions, your stock will maintain its strength and durability well into the future.