Dust Suppression – Rail Car Unloading and Feeders Systems


The client unloads about 40 cars a day and 550 tons per hour of PRB Coal. They operate a manual system with 2 to 3 people on duty at a time. With these parameters, they can dump one car at a time. Unfortunately, they were experiencing a great deal of fugitive dust with each car dump. Due to the volatile nature of PRB Coal dust, plant personnel washed down the rail car off-loading facility from top-to-bottom after the off-loading of each unit train. This process required 2-3 people for 4-8 hours, depending on the coal dust accumulation levels within the facility. They needed a solution to help keep the dust suspended in the air for environmental reasons and reduced housekeeping time and cost.

Benetech Solution

Benetech provided the Engineering/Procurement/ Construction (EPC) of a multi-point wet dust suppression system. BT-210W dust suppression chemical is applied to the fuel while unloaded and at each track hopper feeder. At the rail car shaker area, spray manifolds apply spray curtain to the dust escape routes when unloading. These sprays are positioned to inhibit dust escaping the sides of the car hopper. The unloaded rail cards used aluminum baffle containment used to redirect the dynamic air surge. It allows the equipment operator to remain relatively stationary during the unloading process.

The same hopper area is used for rail car dumping as well as for reclaiming coal from storage. During train offload operations, the un-load operator activates the suppression using a remote radio sender switch. One press of the start button initiates the spray from both spray manifolds. Manifolds also have manual shutoff valves for during reclaim operations.

The spray continues until meeting the pre-set duration time. During reclaim push in operations, the suppression is activated from the equipment cab by the operator pushing coal. The operator has a remote radio sender switch of the same frequency as the one used by the train un-loader. Once the fuel is in the track hopper feeders, a complete body application treats the top and back sides of the coal flow. This provides the best application technique to prevent fugitive dust at stack out and reduce dust within the crusher tower and tripper decks during fueling or splitting the unloaded tonnage.

Successful Achieved

Since installing the Benetech Suppression system, it only takes one employee over an hour to wash down the complete facility utilizing the new washdown system. In contrast, before, it took 2-3 employees 4 – 8 hours a day. In addition, the plant uses 30%-40% less water than before, meaning less impact on sump-pumps, drainage systems, and related settling ponds. The result is significant savings in O&M costs. The facility is now significantly cleaner throughout but with particular notice in the high bay building and hard to access. With PRB Coal Dust left behind, the result is a safer environment.

Application Locations

  •  North Side of the Rail Car Shaker
  •  South Side of the Rail Car Shake
  • Full Body Application: Track Hopper Feeder A
  • Full Body Application: Track Hopper Feeder B