This paper looks at a two new conveyor technologies that offer the opportunities for significant improvement in the handling of coal in power plants, and in bulk transportation facilities, and other coal-handling operations. This first technology is “flow-engineered” chutes. Based on material testing and flow studies, these chutes allow the development of transfer chute systems that provide better control, continuous coal flow at higher capacities, and dramatic reductions in material spillage and the release of airborne dust. By regulating the coal flow path of movement, these engineered chutes improve the load placement on the belt, eliminate chute blockages, reduce safety hazards, and minimize maintenance costs. The second leading edge system is air-supported conveyors. Air supported conveyors are now seeing increasing acceptance in coal handling applications in power plants. This is due to the advantages they offer to coal-handling, including high efficiency and low maintenance. This technology also provides a reduction in the release of coal dust, as the carrying side of the conveyor is completely enclosed. This paper will discuss recent installations of these systems in coal handling facilities. In particular, it will feature the engineering and installation of flow-engineered chute systems at AmerenUE’s Meramec and Rush Island Electric Generating Stations, to improve conveyor system performance, while reducing dust as much as 98%. He will also discuss recent application of air-supported conveyor systems in coal handling systems, and discuss the benefits of the application of conveyors combining both “leading edge” systems.

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