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Eagle Butte coal mine equips vehicles with LNG fired engines

World Coal,

Plum Energy will construct an LNG plant on property adjacent to Alpha Coal’s Eagle Butte coal mine in Wyoming, US. LNG created at the plant will supply the coal mining vehicles in use at the Eagle Butte mine.

Alpha Coal has been testing LNG technologies since 2012 – beginning a pilot programme of the world’s first LNG-powered haul trucks. Advocates of the LNG technology argue that it is cleaner and more cost effective than conventional diesel fuel, which is often used to power mining 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 coal mine. Alpha Coal West expects the alterations to the trucks, each of which is capable of hauling 218t 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, which is scheduled to come online in March 2015, will be able to produce 107,900 lpd of LNG. In addition, Plum Energy has designed an LNG refuelling station that will be constructed onsite at Eagle Butte, which will be capable of refuelling eight trucks simultaneously.

Kirt Montague, chief executive officer of Plum Energy, commented: “We are delighted to assist in bringing cleaner burning, lower cost LNG to Alpha Coal West and to Wyoming. 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.”

Paul Vining, president of Alpha Natural Resources, said: “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.”

Jason Green, president and CTO of GFS Corp, added: “We are excited by this development. 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 and diesel solutions for their fleet.”

Alpha Coal West's demand for LNG is expected to be about 24,230 lpd to fuel its trucks. As the plant grows, excess product can be sold to other companies in the area.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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