Classes Take Coal Mine Tour

January 29, 2014

On Monday, Jan. 20, 11 students in Dr. Post’s ME 302 Thermodynamics II course and 5 students in Dr. Morris’ ME 407: Power Plant Design course toured Prairie State Generating Company’s (PSGC) Energy Campus in Marissa, IL. The facility consists of a coal mine and a 1600 MW coal-fired power plant.

The day started with a safety briefing and tour of the coal mine, 200 ft underground. Coal is mined using a room-and-pillar method, and shipped by conveyer belt from the mine to the power plant across the street, eliminating the cost and energy normally used to transport coal from mines to power plants. 7 million tons of coal are mine annually. At lunch students had the opportunity to discuss plant operations with PSGC Engineering Manager Tom Kordick. After lunch, students toured the power plant, one of the most recent build in the U.S., coming online in 2012, and using the latest in emissions-control technology, with over $1billion spent on emissions controls. The boiler is a supercritical boiler, operating at 3800 psi. Coal from the mine is fed to the pulverizers, and then the powdered coal is fed to the boilers where it burns. The plant has two boilers, each of which power turbines and generators.