The Ottumwa Generating Station is approximately 100 miles southeast of Des Moines, Iowa, and features a 700MW single unit that burns Powder River Basin Coal. In 2010, the Power Station embarked on a major plant-wide project to improve operating efficiency, reduce emissions, and extend the plant’s useful life. Part of this overall project has been to improve the operational efficiency and safety of the coal handling process that feeds the Plant. Much of the material handling system at the Plant was over 30 years old, had reached the end of its useful life, and needed upgrades.

The necessary improvements would: help reduce airborne coal dust and spillage, improve operational efficiency, and provide a much safer and better working environment for the Plant Employees. The Plant Management team was committed to ensuring a safe and efficient workplace and began looking for solutions. Benetech had been providing dust suppression services at the RCD at this Plant for many years. They came in to work with Plant Personnel to assess the other material handling areas and help prioritize and implement projects to upgrade those systems.

Coal Handling Challenges:

  • High levels of fugitive dust around chutes and conveyors
  •  Excessive spillage and dust due to worn out transfer chutes
  • Excessive spillage/chunks of coal from vibratory system
  •  Spillage/dusting from worn-out containment systems/belt conveyor components
  •  Higher than regular housekeeping and maintenance costs

The Benetech Approach

Benetech and Ottumwa have a history of working together, beginning with the first Dust Suppression system ever installed. Their work includes implementing the best available control technologies to help: reduce dust, eliminating pluggage, stopping spillage, improving material flow, and ensuring regulatory compliance. In addition, Benetech continues to work with plant personnel to evaluate and select projects to improve safety and efficiency.

Completed Projects Include:

  •  Wet Dust Suppression Systems
  •  Multiple Engineered Transfer System (Chute) Upgrades
  •  Replace Vibratory Transfer System with Screening System
  •  Automatic Washdown Systems to eliminate standing dust
  •  Telescopic Chute Installation at Stackout to reduce airborne dust
  •  In addition to simple yet effective dust containment products including; inspection doors, belt cleaners, belt trainers, and additional conveyor components throughout the plant

Solution Achieved

The collaboration between Ottumwa and Benetech has been successful. All improvements have been based on an ongoing effort to upgrade the generating station with technologies and the right tools. When integrated they, control dust, stop spillage, and improve material flow. The result is a safe and compliant workplace with optimum efficiency. In addition, Benetech has provided management and oversight on all projects and continues to support the plant team in the ongoing implementation of lifecycle upgrades to its material handling system.