Wednesday, December 5, 2018

1.1 Gigawatt Coal Creek Station near Underwood, ND


I was going to just post this photo as another tandem crane lift. But when I discovered that Coal Creek Station is a mine-mouth plant using lignite, uses a 436 mile DC transmission line to Minnesota, and uses the steam to make ethanol and corn oil; I decided it was worth further research.

Branden Kuck posted
2250s setting conveyer section. Lighting came out good so figured I would share. Local #49
Gerald Duysen Is this at Coal Creek Station?
Branden Kuck Gerald Duysen yes sir it is
The cranes above are building a conveyor that takes the coal from the Falkirk Mine to the power plant. This photo makes it obvious that it is a surface mine. More surprising, large draglines are still being used for mining. I wonder if they are still made
in America.

My 1928 RR Atlas shows that SOO ran through here, thus the rrWC label. The SWCE PDF file indicates the plants are now served by the Dakota Missouri Valley Western Railroad, thus the rrNew label.

This photo shows the conveyor belt with storage silos that goes from the Falkirk Mine to the power plant.
Bojidar93, Aug 2010
In 2009 they added a facility that uses waste heat to dry the lignite. This process also removes some of the impurities from the lignite creating a product they call DryFine. They burn this in their own two 550 Mw boilers and also ship it in covered hoppers to another combined heat and power plant. Waste heat is also used to dry corn from the fall harvest so that it can be stored in bins. Commercial grain elevators generally burn a lot of natural gas to dry grain for storage. Farmers generally burn propane in their grain dryers.
Coal Creek scrubs mercury and other toxins as well as sulfur dioxide. Their scrubbing technique allows them to sell the fly ash to reduce the amount of cement needed to make concrete. So fly ash reduces the significant carbon footprint of making cement.

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This is obviously the video they show before plant tours.
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(new window starting at 0:45) This video has talking heads, but the scenes of mining equipment in action makes listening to the "we take care of safety and the environment" worth tolerating. (source)

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