U.S. coal supplier Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (ANR), is to have a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant constructed on property adjacent to Alpha Coal West Inc.’s Eagle Butte Mine, near Gillette, Wyoming, by Plum Energy LLC. The facility will supply LNG to Alpha Coal West’s mine haul vehicles, producing cost efficiencies and fuel savings for its mining operations.
Alpha Coal West began testing LNG technologies developed by GFS Corp. in trucks at the Belle Ayr Mine in 2012, beginning a pilot program of the world’s first LNG-powered mine haul trucks. After 18 months of daily operation, Alpha Coal West decided to proceed with the conversion to LNG of its 16 Caterpillar 793 haul trucks at the nearby Eagle Butte Mine. Alpha Coal West expects the alterations to the trucks, each of which is capable of hauling 240-tons of coal, or the equivalent of two railroad cars, to be completed by the end of 2014.
Plum Energy’s LNG plant at the Eagle Butte Mine, scheduled to come online in March 2015, will be able to produce 28,500 gallons of LNG a day. In addition, Plum Energy has designed an LNG refueling station that will be constructed on-site at Eagle Butte, which will be capable of refueling eight trucks simultaneously.
“We are delighted to assist in bringing cleaner burning, lower cost LNG to Alpha Coal West and to Wyoming,” said Kirt Montague, chief executive officer of Plum Energy. “This project not only will reduce fuel costs for Alpha Coal West, but will also help solidify supply lines for other LNG users in the Powder River Basin.”
Alpha Natural Resources President Paul Vining says, “The construction of the LNG plant fits with ongoing efforts to control costs. Switching the Alpha Coal West fleet to the combined use of LNG and diesel will also lead to more efficient operation and longer engine life for the trucks.”
“We are excited by this development,” said Jason Green, President and CTO of GFS Corp. “Alpha Natural Resources continues to demonstrate their vision of a more sustainable and efficient future for mining operations. They have been a terrific partner and we are committed to continuing to provide them with state of the art natural gas + diesel solutions for their fleet.”
Alpha Coal West’s demand for LNG is expected to be about 6,400 gallons a day to fuel its trucks. As the plant grows, excess product can be sold to other companies in the area as they convert their haul trucks and other equipment to the lower emission and cost-efficient LNG.
Plum Energy is focused on the development of small-scale LNG value chains to service the industrial and transportation markets.
GFS Corp designs, manufactures and sells proprietary solutions that enable high horsepower, heavy duty diesel engines to operate on natural gas.
Natural gas becomes LNG when the gas is cooled to more than 260 degrees below zero and the volume becomes 1/600th of the gaseous form, turning the gas into a liquid fuel. LNG is a clean, efficient fuel and is extremely attractive from a price point when compared to the cost of conventional diesel fuel.
(Source: Alpha Natural Resources, Inc.)