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 Post subject: Deterioration and Spontaneous Heating of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2016 9:58 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1031
Location: Youngstown, OH
1912 Bureau of Mines technical paper on the deterioration and heating of coal in storage:
http://ngdiscussion.net/phorum/file.php?1,file=37354,filename=Deterioration_and_Spontaneous_Heating_of.pdf

It was my understanding that coal lost heating value at a rate much greater than what is listed in this paper. Looks to be about 1% loss of BTU value after storage for 2 years.

Hat tip to the Narrow Gauge Discussion Forum for the link.


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Rick Rowlands
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 Post subject: Re: Deterioration and Spontaneous Heating of Coal
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:33 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:58 am
Posts: 52
In regard to the spontaneous "heating", I have seen a Stanley Palmer photo of the coaling dock at Sparks, Nevada in which the coal is clearly on fire (lots of smoke and hoses). Wanting to date the photo, I did some searching online in the Reno newspaper. Much to my surprise, I learned that the coaling dock at Sparks was always on fire! It went on for months. They just kept hosing it down and shoveling it into locomotives. No wonder oil looked attractive.


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 Post subject: Spontaneous combustion
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:41 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:16 pm
Posts: 70
I've hauled many trainloads of coal to a couple of power plants on my portion of the UP.

Common sight to see a plumes of smoke coming out of the pile (pile usually a quarter of a mile long).

When those occur, the dozer operators go stir up the coal in that area, then pack it back down after that spot is extinguished.

Densely packing the pile down serves a couple of purposes... cuts down on spontaneous combustion, keeps the wind from blowing coal dust all over the countryside, allows it to be driven on... and it looks better!


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 Post subject: Re: Deterioration and Spontaneous Heating of Coal
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:48 am 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 164
Location: Northern WV
The spontaneous combustion of coal was a real problem in the days of coal-fired ships. There was a position on those ships of trimmer which involved handling coal and putting out fires. Modern investigation into the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana harbor suggests that the explosion could have been the result of a fire in the coal bunkers of that ship.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_trimmer

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 Post subject: Re: Deterioration and Spontaneous Heating of Coal
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:46 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:07 pm
Posts: 637
During a visit to a coal fired power plant in the Duluth area c.1970 (to shoot their Davenport d/m) they were in the process of trying to extinguish a spontaneous fire in a big pile of the first Powder River coal they had received. Told me it started within a few weeks of arrival and stockpiling. Is this a common problem with western coal?


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 Post subject: Re: Deterioration and Spontaneous Heating of Coal
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 10:54 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2050
I was concerned about the piles of coal at Notre Dame when they went to truck delivery, used to the coal cars were spotted over the dump chamber emptied like that, instead big front loaders just scooped the coal outside and dumped it in. I was more concerned about lightning strikes, but looks spontaneous is an issue also. I never liked Notre Dame went to trucking and why Bob Harris's idea to rejuvinate the rail car coal delivery was right, but now they've gone natural gas 100%, the rail line is done.


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