Following extensive research and testing to quantify the effectiveness of applying antioxidants to coal to inhibit spontaneous combustion, GE officials announced that its CoalPlus technology, as applied to various and specific coal mine projects worldwide, has been verified in laboratory results by Dr. B. Basil Beamish.
The laboratory testing results of GE’s CoalPlus technology, as matched against the experience and performance of actual coal mine sites where the GE technology is being applied, provides a benchmark approach that can be applied to certain type of coals from around the world.
As new coal basins are developed in Australia, the range of coals found in the mines provides a challenge to mining operators in identifying the appropriate management strategy for mining and handling of these coals with respect to spontaneous combustion. The successful application of GE’s CoalPlus treatment allows mining operations in Australia to maintain the high safety and environmental standards of the region.
“GE’s CoalPlus technology has been developed to provide the coal industry with options to manage spontaneous combustion issues with greater certainty,” says Dr. Beamish, currently the managing director of B3 Mining Services Pty Ltd, with whom GE recently collaborated with for the research and testing. “The GE technology can be applied at various stages in the mining, handling, transport and consumption chain, as well as power plants and terminals. It takes innovative efforts to make best use of the technology.”
GE’s technology can reduce dusting by up to 90% during loading, unloading, stack-out, and reclamation at mining utilities and coal terminals and significantly decreases in-transit coal losses from rail cars. It was originally designed for low-rank coals, such as those from the Powder River Basin region in the United States, which supplies approximately 40% of all coal in the country.
CoalPlus technology slows down the oxidation and weathering of low rank coals, which in turn reduces hot spots, smokers and spontaneous combustion at generating stations, coal terminals, and mines. In addition, less weathering reduces BTU losses during outside storage at coal yards and terminals.
“GE’s CoalPlus technology is designed to significantly reduce dusting and oxidation at utilities, terminals, mines and in transit,” says Homero Endara, chemical and monitoring solutions (CMS) senior global product manager—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water, “The CoalPlus portfolio of dust control binders and antioxidants enhances coal quality, reduces dust emissions and minimizes spontaneous combustion, addressing operator safety and environmental compliance, two of the main challenges faced by mines and utilities.”
GE’s engineering team, in partnership with the utility, can audit the coal supply chain from the mine to the generating unit, identify specific problems and design a custom CoalPlus program to address specific issues.
In addition to dust control technologies, GE offers a complete portfolio of water treatment chemicals, equipment and monitoring and control equipment to address the toughest water reuse and conservation challenges.
The research and testing on which GE collaborated was led by Dr. Beamish. The results are included in the co-authored technical paper, “Delaying Spontaneous Combustion of Reactive Coals through Inhibition.” The paper is co-authored by GE’s Senior Product Application Specialist Umit Turunc, Lead Engineering Product Applications Specialist Patrick McLellan, Lead Engineer Michael Raab and Senior Global Product Manager Homero Endara. The technical paper on coal anti-oxidation was presented on February 14, 2013, at the Australian Coal Operators’ Conference, held at the University of Wollongong.