Coal Dust Management and Mitigation

Coal Dust Management Solutions

Coal dust suppression and control cannot be achieved through the application of any single product or system, regardless of manufacturers’ claims.  Coal dust suppression is achieved through a holistic approach combining administrative controls, technology, fundamental engineering and plain common sense.

Combustible dust management is becoming more critical each day as external pressures from government agencies attempt to enforce coal dust regulations that even they may not fully understand at this time.  This type of pressure leads to predatory sales practices from vendors, often overpromising and under delivering on solutions to meet newly enforced regulations. Coal dust suppression solutions must be driven from within the organization, even if external facilitation is necessary.  It is imperative that plant management sets and policies policy to ensure continuity within the dust management program.

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Combining passive and active coal dust control approaches yields the most effective control of fugitive dust per dollar invested initially, and continually, into coal handling systems.

Coal handling operators with capital funding are seeking engineered systems that not only minimize spillage and fugitive coal dust releases but do so while increasing the duration of major maintenance intervals.

While at times these demands are in conflict with one another, Acensium’s experience has shown that diligent inspection and maintenance of soft goods, combined with robust initial design, can produce the results these operators seek.

Wholesale replacement of any coal chute that has reached the end of its useful life is necessary to set the groundwork for the administrative controls that will ensure successful dust management for the future.

After the installation of new transfer points, the systems should be further evaluated on their ability to passively control combustible dust. While substantial improvements will be seen immediately, conformance with new regulations may dictate the redistribution of existing wet collection systems or installation of new systems to act as “dust polishing” units. These measures should never be seen as the primary way to control dust – well-designed transfer points installed correctly and maintained per policy are the primary method of dust control.

For those operators seeking improvements to coal dust control without the expenditure of capital funds, a careful review of existing control features must be completed and an action plan developed to restore these features to as-built condition and further optimize them to current, state of the art standards.


A well-planned approach to dust management in material handling systems will include passive control measures and possible active coal dust control measures as well.  All passive means shall be considered, applied and/or dismissed before the application of active dust control.
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