Energy Management – Improving Dryer Fan Efficiency at Coal Mountain Operations

June 30, 2012

A focus on energy efficiency is paying off in a big way at our Coal Mountain Operations, where a newly designed fan wheel has significantly reduced energy consumption, saving millions of kilowatt hours (kWh) annually.

As part of the preparation for transporting steelmaking coal, the coal must be dried. This process uses large dryers with large fans that use significant amounts of energy. For example, the dryer at Coal Mountain includes a 2,500 horsepower fan that historically used nearly nine million kWh of electricity per year.

In 2011, we achieved a significant reduction in electrical energy consumption through modifications to the way steelmaking coal is dried at Coal Mountain. Replacing the fan wheel with a new energy-efficient design has meant saving approximately three million kWh of energy per year, a 33% energy reduction compared to the original fan equipment. This modification to the dryer fan has improved energy efficiency and, under current operating conditions, saves the operation approximately $300,000 in electricity costs every year. “Installing the new dryer fan was a real win-win solution for us,” said Dave Keller, Electrical Maintenance Foreman. “Not only did the new fan improve our energy efficiency, but it also reduced our operating costs, contributing to the long-term sustainability of our operation.”

We will build on the success at Coal Mountain by looking for new opportunities to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency at our operations, as part of our vision of making a positive contribution to society’s efficient use of energy.

This case study first appeared in our 2011 Sustainability Report. 

First Published on June 30, 2012