Shiploader conveyor upgrade positions Port of Seward for growth in coal handling

The Port of Seward has completed a conveyor system upgrade
for its coal handling operations that has raised throughput by an
estimated 20%, allowing Alaska’s largest coal producer to better
compete for international customers. By installing the new
EVO® Conveyor Load Zone from Martin Engineering, the
terminal has increased the average load rate for the entire
shiploading process from 700tph (metric tonnes per hour) to
858tph, while dramatically enhancing control over dust and
fugitive particle emissions.
With throughput increased, shiploading times are being
reduced, driving down costs and making the exported coal more
affordable to overseas buyers. “Basically, we should be able to
knock one day off our loading time for each ship,” observed
Steve Denton, VP of Business Development for Usibelli Coal Mines.
The terminal has progressed from an absolute maximum of
18,000 metric tonnes per day with dry coal and optimal loading
conditions to more than 20,000 metric tonnes per day on
average — including operations in poor weather and less-thanideal
operating conditions. “Over the course of a million tonnes
per year, that’s a major savings for our customers, as they’ll be
able to enjoy better FOB [free on board] prices. We also save
on the cost of ship demurrage, which helps pay for the cost of
the conveyor investment,” Denton said.
Since 1985, the Port of Seward has shipped over 16mt (million
metric tonnes) of coal, all of it originating at the Usibelli Coal
Mine 400 miles to the north, which currently exports more than
45% of its annual production. UCM and its affiliate Aurora
Energy Services, LLC (operator of the Seward coal terminal)
have no doubt that the port plays a key role in their future.
With one of Alaska’s few year-round ice-free harbours, Seward
has the shiploading resources to feed the expanding international
export market. It’s also the southern terminus of the stateowned
Alaska Railroad, with terminal facilities owned by the
railroad and operated by AES.
A major obstacle to expansion was the port facility’s ageing
infrastructure, which had seen few improvements prior to 1999.
Upgrades began that year when Alaska Railroad purchased the
terminal, but despite best efforts, by 2008 the facility had
become a logistical bottleneck and a source of occasional dust
One of the issues was the shiploader itself. With a view to
expanding Usibelli’s export market share, AES began taking steps
to increase throughput at the port facility, but initial efforts to
reach 2,000tph proved almost entirely unsuccessful. “Working
with what we had, we could only reach 600–700tph,” said AES
Terminal general foreman Vic Stoltz. “We made some
improvements and got up to a steady run rate of 750tph. But
there were still some major issues with coal backing up in the
Even as some gains were realized, AES found that with
higher-speed operation, dust became an increasing
problem. The shiploader wasn’t designed to contain
fugitive material, and airborne coal dust generated
negative attention, threatening community relations. The
company reports that the recent chute upgrades have
virtually eliminated spillage and dust issues.
The need to increase throughput at Seward while
protecting the region’s air quality and natural splendour
led AES to investigate new conveyor technology from
Martin Engineering. After testing the Usibelli coal to
determine its flow properties, Martin specialists used
Discrete Element Method modeling to design a chute
capable of properly handling the coal.
“When we got back the computer models, we saw that
we were able to pass 1,500tph and still control dust, all
while keeping within our capital budget,” said Stoltz.
“When our management realized that we could increase
throughput, increase safety and reduce our environmental impact
all at once, they were completely in favour of implementing the
suggested upgrades,” he recalled.
The new transfer point makes use of MARTIN® INERTIAL
FLOW™ Transfer Technology, the ,entire chute custom-engineered
and modelled in 3-D to provide the optimum design for the material and
flow rate needed.
The ‘hood’ controls the flow of material from the discharging conveyor,
maintaining a coherent material stream and minimizing induced air. A smooth
loading chute (‘spoon’) places the stream of coal onto the
shiploader’s boom conveyor at the proper speed and angle with
minimal impact, reducing material degradation, belt abrasion and
the expulsion of airborne dust.
Martin Engineering supplied other redesigned components to
contain material and improve serviceability. Belt support cradles
were installed under the drop chute to absorb impact and
stabilize the belt line and prevent spillage. AES also mounted
EVO External Wearliner on the load zone’s existing skirtboard
for improved sealing. Because it is attached from the outside, it
is easier to install, inspect and adjust than conventional seals,
without requiring confined space entry.
The first thing the AES crew noticed was an improved material
load rate. During the initial shakedown run, operators noted the
conveyor’s weigh scale pegged at 100%, but the belt didn’t shut
down. The old system peaked at 1,000tph (including ship and
hatch moves), but with new components in place, the system
now hits peaks of 1,500tph. “We don’t have slowdowns due to
the chute clogging up, which previously was a constant battle,”
Stoltz added.
Equally important, following the system’s initial run, the
shiploading area was virtually free of fugitive material and dust buildup,
allowing AES crews to reduce their cleanup time from days to just
hours. “The clean-up time has been reduced by more than 40 manhours per shipload,”
said Stoltz.
To AES, the environmental and worker safety benefits
of Martin Engineering’s upgrades have been just
as important as the production advantages. “Faster loading times
help manage our risk, from both the environmental and safety
perspectives,” commented Bart Coiley, AES Manager of
Environmental Affairs. “The longer it takes to load a ship, the
greater the chances of creating dust.”
Summarizing the experience, Denton said, “The work that
Martin Engineering did eliminated a chronic bottleneck for us.
There were many things we were doing to increase our
throughput, but it was impossible to realize the full benefits until
we cleaned up our loading operation with the installation of the
new EVO hood and spoon transfer chute.” Stoltz added: “With
these upgrades, we’re earning our money back every time we
start it up.”
Founded in 1944, Martin Engineering is headquartered in
Neponset, IL (USA), with global reach from operations in Brazil,
China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey
and the UK.
Expert dust treatment and gas filtration by CTP Team S.r.l
CTP Team S.r.l., an engineering and manufacturing company with
40 years of experience in dust treatment and gas filtration
technology, is a reliable international partner in gas cleaning
Technologies for gas treatment: filtration, chemicals treatment,
De-NOx, De-SOx, acid treatment, heat recovery systems, dioxin
elimination and special processes are part of the company’s core
CTP Team’s expertise is particularly extensive in different and
complementary segments:
  •   cement and lime;
  •   steel and non ferrous material (aluminium, brass, lead, copper);
  •   chemicals and petrochemical;s
  •   waste-to-energy;
  •   glass; and
  •   thermoelectric plants
The CTP Team bag filter is advanced, reliable and boasts low
energy consumption.
CTP Team can satisfy the most different market needs, from
the small standard to the tailor-made large process filters (flow
rate from 3,000 to more than 3,000,000m3 per hour).
The MKPR type bag filter, developed by CTP Team, has an
optimized lateral flow gas distribution to enhance the cleaning
efficiency and reaching a longer lifetime of filtering bags without
local erosion as could be expected in other gas distribution
The SWAP (Sonic Wave Acceleration Pulse) system
developed by CTP Team is a unique bag cleaning technology at
low pressure, designed to remove dust from bags up to 10m
Thanks to this proven technology, CTP Team process filters
can operate with an on-line cleaning procedure, which means no
need to isolate the filter section during cleaning.
CTP Team electrostatic precipitator (ESP), has particulate
collection equipment that removes particles from a flowing flue
gas using the force of an induced electrostatic charge.
The basic precipitator contains a row of thin vertical wires,
followed by large flat metal plates vertically oriented, with the
plates typically spaced depending on the application.
The gas stream flows horizontally through the spaces
between the wires, and then passes through the stack of plates: a
negative voltage of several thousand volts is applied between
wire and plate.
Particles build up on the collection plates and form a layer.
Transformer-rectifier systems apply voltages of 50–100
kilovolts at relatively high current densities.
CTP Team has the know-how to upgrade the existing
electrostatic that are unable to meet dust emission requirements
with additional fields or with hybrid filter technology which
consists in the partial replacement of the electrical fields with
filtering bags in the same casing.
CTP Team can offer the following cooling systems:
  •   gas-air heat exchangers;
  •   air-air heat exchangers ;
  •   twin-fluid conditioning towers;
  •   mono-fluid conditioning towers;
  •   steam heat recovery boilers; and
  •   thermal oil boilers.
All these items of equipment are studied and applied in CTP
Team’s plants and in all fields of application.
Each application needs dedicated technology and thanks to
CTP Team’s know-how it can apply the most appropriate
technology coming from its experience of more than 100
With limited investment and low maintenance cost, the
equipment is mainly used for applications with high
concentrations or for sparks separation or in case pre-filtration
upstream the filter is needed.

Thanks to the years of experience acquired, CTP Team can be
considered as an ideal partner for supplying equipments such as
bags filters absorbers, scrubber absorber towers to fit both dry
and semi-dry gas cleaning systems.
CTP Team can propose hydrate lime, bicarbonate, Trona and
activated carbon for Dioxin treatment or other reagents as per
inquiry from its clients.
The selection of chemical depends on the process and
temperature and also the installation of the reactor (it is a drum
mixer) makes it possible to homogenize the reagent / gas
mixture and the apparent particle size distribution in a very
short time, in order to get a very effective gas cleaning.
In 2003 CTP Team manufactured the first pilot plant of SCR
system for cement industry. CTP Team developed SCR for high
or low temperature and SNCR systems at high temperature for
De-NOx treatment. The company can propose urea or ammonia
as reagent for the reaction with NOx pollutants.
CTP Team staff and organization can supply a turnkey flue gas
treatment plant complete of civil works, mechanical and
electrical erection, electrical power supply with electrical boards
and supervision system like PLC, VPN plant monitoring the
system control and cabling of all the equipments.
CTP Team is specialized in mechanical erection around the
world, even in the worst conditions, with qualified site managers
and skilled operators.
Full service package including commissioning, start up and
training activities is included.
CTP Team’s after sales service is able to operate both in Italy
and abroad.

techNaero keeps the air dust-free
techNaero supplies technologically advanced air solutions and
designs systems for ventilation, handling of exhaust air, material
transport and separation.
From the very beginning, techNaero’s pulse filter system was
developed as a highly exportable commodity designed in parts to
fit though a standard container door. All filters consist of several
‘shells’ which, all together, form a highly efficient cyclone filter.
The filter parts are built up on site using a local labour force,
and they are assembled with bolts. The assembly procedure is
easy, which makes this concept usable for exportation all over
the world. With today’s global container prices, the company
does not see a big difference in supplying a filter at its home
base in Scandinavia or any other places on the globe.
After implementing the system, techNaero found another
very important feature. This is that filters placed indoor used to
require a breakdown of the roof or a wall, but sized to go into a
container door the parts can also go through normal access
doors in a factory or a warehouse.
The way the filters are made is not the only unique feature of
the system; the most important feature is the very effective and
gentle regeneration system which secures a long lifetime for the
filter bags, perfect cleaning and a minimum of downtime. The
filters operate 24 hour per day, seven days a week.
At the present moment the company has pending orders of
ten very big filters for coal handling in power plants in the
Ukraine and Georgia, which in total will handle over 600,000m3
of dust-loaded air per hour and with a total removing capacity of
more than 30,000kg fine coal dust per hour.
The biggest filters have a diameter of 4.6m, a height of more
than 13m and 6m-long filter bags. The orders have been won in
international competition and techNaero’s customers have
valued the quality and the effectiveness, but also the price level
and the use of local labour force for the installation.
The company expects further filter orders in the near future
from both the coal handling and the metallurgic industries.
With many years’ experience within filter technology and
dust handling, techNaero has a huge programme for round
filters, spot filters, cyclones and silos made of standard
Since the beginning of 2008 techNaero has been working on
sourcing of metal components from China to Europe.
techNaero has been awarded its first filter order for delivery in
Georgia. The order is for two huge filters for coal dust with a
total capacity at 141,000m3 cleaned air per hour.
The filters are to be installed at a 13MW Georgian district
power plant near Tkibuli, not far from the Black Sea, where they
will be integrated in a new and improved coal supply system
which should improve the air quality around the plant.
The filters are very big and consist of two cylindrical shaped
filter houses with a diameter of 4.6m and a height of 13m.
Because of techNaero’s advanced design, the entire delivery is
will comprise a number of ordinary 40ft containers and will be
assembled at the site by local labour force.
In May of this year, techNaero has gained a huge order for six
big, explosion-vented coal dust filters with a total capacity of
385,000m3 cleaned air and extractions of maximum 19,000kg
coal dust every hour. The filters will be installed at the big
Ukrainian coal fired power plant Burshtynska Power Plant
outside the city of L’viv, 400km west of Kiev, where they will be
included in a new and improved coal supply system and will,
after commissioning this month, improve the environment
around the power plant.
Where is YOUR dust going?
Talk of ways to preserve and improve the
environment is everywhere — government, industry,
even our personal lives. Industrial activities play an
important role in the economic well-being of a city,
region and even countries, contributing to the
sustainable growth — and yet, these activities can
have an impact on the environment. Industries
throughout the world are faced with questions about
what and how they do things — and how their
decisions will affect the environment.
Those industries that deal with bulk storage are no
different. They want to protect their resources from
the environment and protect the environment from
their operations.
One of the biggest concerns in bulk storage has to
do with dust abatement. As stockpiles increase in size,
dust control becomes a bigger issue – and employees
as well as the communities need to be protected.
Many companies
representing many
different industries have found a solution for stockpile dust
— covering the stockpiles with a free-span enclosed dome
structure that will allow work to continue but keep the dust
contained. One company that commissioned such a structure
was Ras Al Kaimah Cement Company (RAKCC) in the United
Arab Emirates and the manufacturer of the structure —
RAKCC was established in 1995 and is on the northern coast
of the UAE. It is located 50m above sea level and can
experience strong winds of up to 140kph. The plant produces
960,000 tonnes of clinker and 1,000,000 tonnes of cement
As with most cement plants around the world, protecting the
environment against dust emissions is a priority and a local
concern. It is the same at the RAK cement plant and that is why
the plant is designed to meet the European Standards for
environmental protection. That is also why the customer
wanted a domed structure to cover a 30,000-tonne coal pile.
Not only would this help protect the community
and workers from dust emissions and water
contamination, it would also help reduce material
loss caused by wind and humidity.
Coal contains trace levels of various
dangerous elements: arsenic, barium, cadmium,
and mercury to name a few. Its ash will continue
to contain these trace elements. It is important
to protect the environment/communities from
these elements. RAK Cement Company is
providing environment protection to the
surrounding community by applying the most
stringent standards for dust and gas control in
their operation.
Geometrica’s free span domed structures
can be built over existing piles with little or
no down-time and they can be designed to fit
any shape or space requirement. RAKCC
ended up with a longitudinal barrel vault, 140m
long x 40m wide x 20m tall. The ends were closed with vertical
walls. Since the plant is very close to the port, the structure is
galvanized steel allowing for a stronger yet lighter and corrosive
resistant building with low maintenance. The dome was
completed using painted steel sheets and translucent panels.
The solution for Ras Al Khaimah Cement Company — a
dome structure by Geometrica — has proven to be a smart
choice — combining the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the
dome, including low maintenance with a way to contain the dust
emissions from their coal stockpile and protect the coal
stockpile from wind and rain/humidity.
Geometrica is a Texas-based company, working with cement,
power, and mining industries around the globe to cover
stockpiles — protecting the resources and the environment. Its
free span domes can be 300m long, can be conical, circular, and
free form. They can be designed and installed to sit on top of a
wall or can be erected from the ground up. Because the domes
are prefabricated, local crews can be used for the installation
under the supervision of Geometrica’s site consultants.
Dust suppression is key area of responsible management at Aurecon
Dust emission control is a key factor in asset management, and
the fundamentals of dust control and suppression are similar
across bulk material types and forms.
Jim Harrison, Senior Consultant for Aurecon explains: “Dust
suppression is just one facet of asset management, yet it is a key
area for responsible management. Not just for the
well being of the actual plant and operators, but
also, in a wider sense, for the community or
surrounding infrastructure. At Aurecon we are
experienced in a broad and specialized range of
dust control techniques, and we can incorporate
this knowledge at each step of the process,
ensuring that assets are protected and the best
dust mitigation techniques utilized.”
Aurecon is a global company with strong
expertise in the provision of engineering,
management, and specialist technical services for
public and private sector clients. It also has significant expertise
in the incorporation of environmental control features to reduce
emissions of dust, noise and spillage. These
emissions can by reduced by the application
of modern design practices and where
additional control measures are required,
Aurecon has the capacity to integrate these
requirements into the overall machine and
plant design.
Harrison continued: “We have a range of
strategies to control dust at our disposal, and
these range from mechanical bag filter
systems, veneering and agglomeration
techniques and water application where
appropriate, through to wind breaks and
specifically engineered design solutions.”
“We treat each situation individually by
looking at the problems and the solutions
available to us. For example, on a recent
consulting project, we were required to apply
mist curtains around the perimeter of a stock
pile. This prevented the dust particles from
escaping the stockpiles, and acted to capture
the airborne particles within the bounds of
the site. Using wind breaks we can reduce
surface wind velocity to ensure that dust is
not liberated from the stockpile surface —
removing the dust by treating the source
rather than the effect. This results in real and
substantial benefits to our clients and, most
importantly, their stakeholders,” he said.
Other tools at the company’s disposal
include well-designed material transfer chutes,
the use of skirting, spray nozzles, telescopic
dust hoods and chutes and moisture content
control — all of which can result in a positive
solution which protects assets and the
reputation of its clients within the broader
“Initially, we consult with our clients to
measure and determine the processes which
create the dust and we evaluate the
effectiveness of the current controls. We
then monitor equipment activities and
processes, maintenance issues and determine whether any
industry benchmarks are relevant that we can use to plot this
data against. This allows us to create a measurable standard for
our clients.”
Aurecon can then define strategies which address the issues
identified and compare this to quantified data so
that a measurable reduction can be achieved.
“We believe that the key driver here is a
measurable outcome. Without this, success cannot
be judged. And, with increasing urbanization a global
issue, stakeholder engagement and community
consultation are of critical importance with many
large mines and infrastructure projects being
located close to communities,” Harrison said.
With more than 6,000 staff located around the
world, Aurecon can deliver expert project design
and management across six key sectors: community
development and infrastructure; mining & industrial; transport;
property; energy; and water.