Power generation comes from a variety of heat-producing sources: oil, natural gas, nuclear, geothermal, wind, solar and of course, coal. The heat boils water and creates steam. The steam, under high pressure, spins a turbine. The turbine interacts with a series of magnets to produce electricity, which is transmitted as moving electrons through a series of wires to homes and businesses.
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Coal is handled and stored several times during its journey between the mine and the eventual consumer. About 2.5 million tons of coal are burned in U.S. power plants each day. This is equivalent to roughly 21,000 railcars in transit, so coordinating production and consumption is no easy task. Accidents, rail strikes, severe weather and disasters that take out bridges and rail lines can all disrupt deliveries for utility customers who are dependent on a reliable coal supply for their power plants.
Mining is one of Australia's most important industries, creating significant employment and greatly contributing to the Australian economy. It's also a vital source of export revenue. Australia is the world's leading exporter of coal and iron ore, and is among the leaders in nickel, zinc, aluminum, gold and uranium. Minerals make up about 35% of Australia's total exports.
Heyl & Patterson pioneered the design for the Continuous Barge Unloader, which has been a staple solution for handling bulk materials on waterways. These machines have solved a variety of unloading problems for many customers demanding reliable, safe and versatile systems. Diverse cargos such as coal, iron ore, bauxite, alumina, corn, wheat, soybean, agricultural by-products, wood chips and limestone have been successfully offloaded by Heyl & Patterson.
Each year, nearly half a million barge-loads of bulk material such as coal, grain, wood chips, crushed stone, sand and minerals travel to delivery points along our nation’s inland waterways. River transportation is the safest and most efficient method for moving massive quantities of materials. Ports and other points along the rivers utilize various types of unloading systems to quickly and economically offload the barge traffic that comes their way.
Indonesia is one of the largest coal producers and coal consumers in the world. Over the past two decades, Indonesia's coal industry has transformed itself from being an unknown, minor player in Asia's coal markets to the world's largest exporter of steam coal. Indonesia created this world-scale industry despite challenges created by widespread government corruption, a weak legal system, the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 and the fall of the Suharto government in 1998.
The busiest cargo port in the western hemisphere is the Port of South Louisiana. It extends 54 miles along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. About 6000 vessels pass through on an annual basis, and it accounts for 60% of all raw grain exports from the American Midwest. Grain and other commodities such as coal, ore, wood chips, sand, feed and salt are classified as bulk cargo. As the name implies, bulk cargo is transported unpackaged in large quantities, and is often transferred from ship to shore by some form of bucket unloader.
In the past few weeks, Australia has suffered the worst flood in its history. With an estimated cost of about $5 billion, it’s shaping up to be the nation’s most expensive natural disaster. Satellite views of the northeast state of Queensland show an affected area the size of France and Germany combined. In Brisbane alone, Australia’s third-largest city, as many as 20,000 properties and 200,000 people have been affected. And economically, the worst hit sector is expected to be the coal industry.
After a turbulent few years, economics are back on the side of the U.S. coal industry. It still faces challenges, but recovery is now in full swing and the industry is ready for change. Coaltrans USA returns to Miami for its 11th edition, once again uniting the leading players in the American coal industry. An expert faculty is set to address a delegation that will include Heyl & Patterson and over 250 other companies to discuss the evolution of American coal markets. This year’s conference promises a good blend of domestic and export issues.
Among the key issues to be debated:
- Where does the U.S. coal industry stand?
- What is the changing role of coal in the wake of low natural gas prices and the shale gas revolution?
- Where will new supplies of coal come from to combat Central Appalachian production decline?
- What opportunities for long-term profitable exports to Eastern markets from the U.S.?
- What finance and investment challenges lie ahead for the U.S. coal sector?
Coaltrans USA’s featured presentations will be from J. Brett Harvey – President & CEO of CONSOL Energy; Michael Morris – President, Chairman & CEO of American Electric Power; Kevin Crutchfield, President & CEO of Alpha Natural Resources; and Don Blankenship, Chairman & CEO of Massey Energy Company.
Coaltrans USA will be held on February 3-4 at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove in Miami, FL.
Power-Gen International 2010 is in the books. Heyl & Patterson has exhibited at this conference since about 1998, and likely will for years to come.