AmerenUE's new barge unloading facility moves twice the coal at half the horse-power

July 1, 2002 -- Flooding at AmerenUE's Sioux Plant, 30 miles up the Mississippi River from St. Louis, is always a concern for the plant's management.

Although the plant is on high ground, the plant can be isolated when the Mississippi River floods. When this happens the roads and the single rail line coming into the plant become impassible. As a result, coal trains cannot get in, and employees are forced to commute across the river by ferry from Alton, Illinois, a one-hour trip. A flood in 1993 isolated the Sioux Plant for 13 weeks.

Because of the flooding potential, AmerenUE's Sioux Plant has recently completed the installation of a new E-Crane barge unloading facility. Sioux plant's new barge unloading facility provides an alternate delivery route for coal. With the new barge unloading facility, the plant is no longer dependent on rail deliveries that can be interrupted by spring floods. In addition, with an annual capacity of 3.7 million tons of coal, the barge-unloading facility can support future increases in generating capacity.

Barge Unloader

The E-Crane equilibrium crane features a moving counterweight. As the arm extends out, the counterweight extends back. Likewise, as the arm moves in, the counterweight also moves in. At 75 percent of its maximum reach the E-crane, with a full payload, is in precise balance. Working with the arm either at maximum reach or nearly under the cab, the weight of the entire E-Crane, plus half of its payload, is balanced.

In operation, the E-Crane never has to lift anything heavier than half its payload of 12 cubic yards of coal. On the other hand, excavators and cable cranes have to lift the full payload, plus the weight of the boom and arm. They must also be counterbalanced for the most extreme anticipated condition.

The barge unloading system, equipped with a 24 cubic foot clamshell bucket, can reach out 86 feet horizontally. It is also able to continue unloading barges even when the river rises or falls 25 feet. The free-dig rate of the E-Crane is 1,800 tons/hr. Unloading a barge containing 1,500 tons of coal takes less than 90 minutes. However, because of the confined space within the barge and the need to unload the coal evenly, the barge must be moved frequently.

Unloading Barges at Sioux Plant

The barge unloading system is mounted on a 32-foot diameter cell. Basically the cell is an artificial island made by driving lengths of sheet steel into the riverbed, filling the resulting cell with rock, and capping it with concrete. Two additional cells were also constructed, one upriver and the other downriver. Four permanently moored barges form a dock between the center cell and the two other cells. The floating dock to which the barges are moored is allowed to rise and fall with the river.

A cable system controlled from the cab of the E-Crane moves two loaded barges back and forth along the dock for balanced unloading. As the barges are emptied they are moved to a transit area downriver. Fully loaded barges waiting to unload wait in a staging area upriver. The staging area can dock up to 55 barges.

Coal unloaded from the barges is dumped into a hopper. From the hopper the coal is transferred onto a 60-inch wide conveyer belt to the plant. Before reaching the plant's coal storage yard the conveyor passes over 600 feet of environmentally sensitive wetland, across the plant's cooling-water discharge canal and eventually to the plant - a total distance of about 2,200 feet.

To minimize environmental disturbances to the wetlands and the river, most of the equipment, including the barge unloader, was brought in by barge and erected using conventional cranes mounted on barges. Total construction time was less than a year.

The Selection Process

AmerenUE engineers looked at four alternatives for barge unloading-an excavation-type digger similar in operation to a backhoe, a conventional crane with the clamshell bucket suspended from cables, the E-Crane, and a continuous bucket unloader.

However, the largest excavation digger available and a conventional crane with a clamshell bucket only had a capacity to unload 2 million tons a year, not enough for the project. Although a continuous bucket unloader is capable of handling up to 6 million tons a year, its cost was found to be prohibitive.

After evaluating the different options the AmerenUE engineers proposed to purchase a hydraulic E-Crane. Nonetheless, before making the final decision, AmerenUE engineers decided to tour barge unloading facilities at three companies using the E-Crane.

According to Michael Lobbig, project director for AmerenUE, the E-Crane was chosen because it met all of the plant's requirements and nothing else really fit the criteria. AmerenUE expects the E-Crane will be cost-effective in terms of operation and maintenance.

The E-Crane only requires a 600 hp electric motor to drive its hydraulics. In operation the barge unloader at the Sioux plant is reported to be quick and smooth to operate. "I think the E-Crane could pick up a piece of cardboard," says Tom Meyer, project engineer, AmerenUE.

In full-scale tests conducted by AmerenUE, the barge unloader emptied the barges without any problems. The only manual labor required was to move small quantities of coal out of corners of the barge into areas the E-Crane could reach. E-Crane International-USA will perform annual inspections and maintenance under a service agreement with AmerenUE.

This article is scheduled to appear in Power Engineering Magazine, July 2002. To read the current issue of Power Engineering, visit http://pe.pennnet.com/Articles/Print_TOC.cfm?Section=Articles&SubSection=CurrentIssue.


Sponsored by FLSmidth
Related Articles
Federal regulators back keeping Colorado Coal mine open

Federal Regulators Back Keeping Colorado Coal Mine Open

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation Enforcement issued its decision Tuesday, five days before a court-imposed deadline that state and local lawmakers had urged it to meet to keep the Colowyo mine operating near Craig.

08/29 Weekly Coal Production Report EIA

08/29 Weekly Coal Production Report

The Weekly Coal Production Report has been updated for the week ended Aug 29, 2015.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter
Latest News
Most U.S. nuclear power plants operating at highest level, NRC says

Most U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Operating At Highest Level, NRC Says

A majority of U.S. nuclear power plants are operating at the highest performance levels in th...
Federal regulators back keeping Colorado Coal mine open

Federal Regulators Back Keeping Colorado Coal Mine Open

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation Enforcement issued its decision Tuesday, five days b...
Manitoba Hydro names Darren Rainkie interim president and CEO

Manitoba Hydro Names Interim President and CEO

While it continues to search for a new permanent president and CEO, the Manitoba Hydro-Electr...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc., a developer of software and networking platforms for major utilities, yesterday announced that Michael Bell has been appointed president and CEO of the organization.

Silver Spring Networks Names President and CEO

Silver Spring Networks, Inc., a developer of software and networking platforms for major util...
SCPSC approves updated construction schedule and costs for SCE&G Summer nuclear power plant

SCE&G Updates Costs, Construction Schedule For Nuclear New Builds

The two reactors under construction at the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant in South Carolina ...
Dominion to no longer bill for some charitable donations

Dominion To No Longer Bill For Some Charitable Donations

The energy giant, which owns the state's largest electric utility, said in a recent regulator...
08/29 Weekly Coal Production Report EIA

08/29 Weekly Coal Production Report

The Weekly Coal Production Report has been updated for the week ended Aug 29, 2015.

Dungeness B nuclear reactor online after planned outage

Dungeness B Nuclear Reactor Online After Planned Outage

The Dungeness B nuclear Unit 22 is back online following a 16-week planned maintenance outage.
Power Engineering Current Issue
06/01/2015
Volume 119, Issue 6
file
Products Showcase
Areva delivers reactor vessel head to Belgium nuclear power plant

Areva delivers reactor vessel head to Belgium nuclear power plant

Areva delivered a nuclear reactor vessel head to Electrabel for Unit 4 at the Doel nuclear power plant in Belgium.

GE announces launch of latest aeroderivative gas turbine, LM6000-PF+

GE announces launch of latest aeroderivative gas turbine, LM6000-PF+

GE is launching its latest aeroderivative gas turbine, the LM6000-PF+, which employs technologies from four GE businesses, bringing power online faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

Buyers Guide Categories

Power Industry Wire News

2015 National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo Announces Preliminary Agenda

2015 National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo Announces Preliminary Agenda

Energy Partner Paul Kaufman Joins Sheppard Mullin Del Mar

Energy Partner Paul Kaufman Joins Sheppard Mullin Del Mar

Algae Biomass Summit Showcases Advances in Engineering and Analysis

Algae Biomass Summit Showcases Advances in Engineering and Analysis

Dais Looks to Further Build on Aqualyte V4 Following Strong Performance and Improved AHRI Certification Results of Aqualyte V3

Dais Looks to Further Build on Aqualyte V4 Following Strong Performance and Improved AH...

Energy Marketing Conference for Retailers Selects Good Energy as Panel Moderator

Energy Marketing Conference for Retailers Selects Good Energy as Panel Moderator

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>