Moving More Coal. Faster.

China Coal opts for six domes with live-reclaim systems that can process 60,000 metric tons of coal at each dome every three days

Editor’s note: This is a portion of a feature published in Dry Bulk magazine. To read the full text, click here or search “Dry Bulk magazine” on Facebook.

When Dome Technology CEO Bradley Bateman met with China Coal management, it was clear what the company wanted: a high live-reclaim system at an economical price — and good looks didn’t hurt either.

China Coal sought storage facilities for both its Hulusu and Menkeqing coalmines, located fifteen miles apart in north China’s Inner Mongolia province. Based on the ability to keep outside moisture out, Bateman said a series of domes was a more economical solution than traditional silos. And in the land of the yurt, another factor “was the aesthetics; it was the way they look,” he said.

Today visitors to one mine will see three identical domes housing 60,000 metric tons of coal apiece and in the distance three more identical domes at the other mine. But what visitors won’t see is an innovative material-handling system inside the domes that gives China Coal what it wanted most: the ability to move product and move it fast.

>> Supply and demand

As more and more Chinese plug in their phones and electronic devices everyday, power companies are relying on and demanding coal as an energy-source generator at power plants, and China Coal is ready to sell.

“(China) is an emerging country, and they have an energy shortage — that’s why companies like this are developing in this region,” Bateman said.

Careful planning was the first step for the project, beginning with storage size. Domes made more storage possible within a smaller footprint, so China Coal could store more product in a smaller footprint than warehouses and flat storage, stacking it deeper and taking up less valuable property at the sites. While common for businesses to require three to five flat-storage buildings, one dome often accommodates the same amount of material in one structure. The double curvature of a dome lends itself to strength and the ability to build up, rather than out.

The storage space available on a relatively small piece of land was one of the most significant dome advantages, said Zhao Jiapeng of China Coal. But solutions for issues like dust production, spontaneous combustion and explosion required attention if the project were to be successful.

For companies planning a coal-storage facility, engineer for Dome Technology Adam Aagard said much of the discussions up front should center on fire protection, environmental protection and desired reclaim rate. To read more about these important considerations, and to read the Dry Bulk feature in its entirety, click here.