Powder River Basin Bit

Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: SAU On: Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:05 am

I thought I'd fire up a thread on the coal you find in NE Wyoming. The overburden is about 300' deep and the coal seams range from 75' to 120', not like those baby seams back east ;) . There are 14 active mines in the county and they are distributed among about seven mining companies. We produce more than 40% of the nations steam coal out of this county alone and that does not include the mines in southwest WY. The peat moss that eventually turned into the coal we are now digging was deposited in a freshwater lake so the sulfur content is very low. Because of the low sulfur, power plants get federal breaks for using PRB bit. Depending on which mine the coal came from BTU content ranges from about 8300 to 8950 BTU with about 3% to 7% white ash. MY VC burns well enough that the windows do not blacken but thinking back to last winter, my Insert doesn't seem to burn as clean. I quit using the insert because I didn't like the mess upstairs, but I may use it during particularly cold weather. It takes quite a while for the volatiles to burn off, I would say at least an hour, if not longer. Once the bed is established I get a nice blue flame with a little orange mixed in. If left out in the weather the coal will deteriorate to dust over time. I keep my coal in the garage in a couple of 100 gallon stock tanks. Being a miner I can just go get more coal whenever I run low. I'm using about two to three five gallon buckets of nut sized coal a day to heat 1800 square feet since the weather turned. How many pounds would that be? It sounds to me like our bit has better qualities than the bit back east. I know that some power plants will provide coal to employees free of charge so I would assume that it may be possible to get PRB coal from a power plant near you if you so desired. I get my supply free of charge but I did see an article in the paper recently that listed coal prices as $50 for oiled stoker and $60 for lump. I have a feeling that the paper had those prices backwards, but that is how they listed it. The power plant contracts run between $10 and $20 per ton.
SAU
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: Yanche On: Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:48 am

Wow, that's cheap BTU. Is any of it exported? I assume it's transported by rail. How about some photos of the mining and the loading of coal cars, etc. How many cars long are the trains? Any electric power generating plants right at the coal source? Any environmental issues left after the coal is removed? Sorry for all the questions but it's all very interesting.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: SAU On: Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:08 pm

There is only one operating power plant in this county with another under construction and a third in planning. If we become an Obamnation I imagine the third one won't be built for a while if ever. The rest of the approximately 900 million tons per year are shipped by trains to points east and west. When I wrote the OP I tried to look up plants that use PRB coal but this is all I found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powder_River_Basin and http://www.prbcoals.com/ . I don't think there is any way that those can be complete listings because there are about fifty, mile long trains leaving the county each day. This is all high prairie grasslands and pretty flat. We reclaim as we move along, the reclaimed area is lower as you can imagine because we take out about 90' of coal but the mined area is left with more water for wildlife which is important because this is an arid region. If we went for a walk through the reclaimed area and I asked you where the native region ends and the reclaim starts I don't think you could tell the difference. You can look up Gillette Wyoming on Google Earth and fly directly north or south to see all of the operations from the air. If you do, take note that the areas between the pit and the loadout silos have already been mined and the green areas have been reclaimed. They run cattle on the reclaimed land and that helps to mediate the soil, and while employees can bow hunt on mine property the mines generally act as nature preserves. I'll try to remember to take a camera out and get you guys some pics.
SAU
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH


Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:41 am

Sure will look forward to seeing the pictures when you get them. The only prong horn we saw on our trip we spotted near Gillette. Wife and I drove thru Gillette in 1983 on our honeymoon motorcycle trip. It was one of the hottest days I ever rode in and we really had to work at staying hydrated. I remember reading that it was fast growing place but I don't recall it being too built out then. Google Earth sure shows it differently now. 83 was a long time ago but all I remember of the town was small buildings, trailers and a 7-11 that saved us from evaporating! The only thermometer that we saw was in the shade at Devil's Tower and it read 109.
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: SAU On: Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:21 pm

Prong horn?

Prong horn....

Oh you mean prairie maggot. Car wreckinest goats that ever lived. They are too stupid to jump fences, they go under instead and their horns get tangled in the barbed wire. :roll:
The antelope population is larger than the human population, I'm surprised that you didn't see more. Now that I think about it I don't see many along the interstate, but I would have thought you would have seen some out towards devils tower. We have a chronic housing shortage. The economy hasn't caught up to us yet, there are plenty of good jobs in the paper every day but there is no place to live. If you were here in `83 I imagine the town hadn't even went south of the interstate yet. The south side is the focal point now. we don't have any 7/11s so it makes me wonder where you made your rest stop. The population is about 35,000 right now. Most of the jobs are mining, mining services, Coalbed methane drillers, and drilling services, along with all forms of construction. They have been projecting a pop of 45,000 by 2013 but I imagine the economy will put a damper on that. Finding help is so hard that they were and still are putting on job fairs in MI and IN where the car plants are closing. Starting wage at Walmart's is over $10 an hour and and highschool kids make $9.50 at Wendy's.
SAU
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: gambler On: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:35 pm

SAU wrote:highschool kids make $9.50 at Wendy's.


What is the price of a burger at Wendy's?
gambler
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:57 pm

The wife is the expert on details. She remembers it to be a 7-11 too but maybe not in Gillette. She recalls that we traveled from Sheridan to Devils Tower so it could have been somewhere in between. It was damn hot and dry and when we stopped at the place, we each drank nearly a gallon of cold stuff. We couldn't believe we could drink that much in one stop but we did! I do remember driving thru town and it was Gillette even though we might not have stopped there.

Glad that the prarie maggots stayed off the road. Riding at night on my second trip, we took a few jackrabbits along for some serious road rash. Seems they liked to hang onto the engine case :roll:
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: SAU On: Sat Oct 18, 2008 10:14 pm

gambler wrote:
SAU wrote:highschool kids make $9.50 at Wendy's.


What is the price of a burger at Wendy's?


As I recall a large double with cheese is $7 and change. Gasoline is $2.69 as of today.

we took a few jackrabbits along for some serious road rash.


They can be real dangerous for bikes. I had one jump just as I was driving over him with my F150 and he broke my grill.
Last edited by SAU on Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SAU
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:15 pm

Wyoming jackrabbits are the size of a LARGE house cat.. I lost a headlamp to one many years ago..

I've spent several first weeks of June in Gillette on Coyote and Prarie Dog shoots.. the Coyotes are very wary and require a lot a work to get them to come to a call,, The Prairie Dogs in spring are pretty dumb.. would go through 1000 rounds a day with 5-6 different rifles.. Unfortunately I haven't been able to go on a shoot for over 8 years.. :mad: :shock: :( :(

I still have all the custom varmint rifles and reloading gear. I do manage to get a few ground hogs around my farm each year.

Greg L

.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: charlie On: Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:52 am

Dust off those varmint guns... I'll give you a pound if BTPRB bit for every dog you get!
charlie
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Prill and Tulikivi
Stove/Furnace Model: 200 BF and TTU 2700

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: Captain Michael On: Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:31 am

Hey Guys,
PRB is a real pain in the butt. It is low BTU high 8000, high moisture 23%, and it does not transport or store well. The only thing that is any good is it helps the utilities meet the EPA regulations for sulfer at the stack. For the last few years some of the utiities here in the east have been buying it to blend the sulfer speck down. As stated in an earliar post its $10-$20 per ton and the another $50 per ton by rail to W.Pa. Until the recent run up in price of bituminus it was no bargain!! It bring its own problems with it also, I like to say it has a shelf life. When put into stock piles it has to be rolled and compacted and sometimes spray coated with latex or it tends to catch on fire all by it self. If left in train cars or river barges, because you can't compact it this phenom occurs in as little as 2-3 weeks.
Captain Michael
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Stoker 90

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:21 pm

Regarding the jackrabbits, it was no pleasure hitting one at night. They're quick but not quick enough :!: I just nipped one but the guy in front of me tied one on so to say. There's a lot of blood in those bunnies. Worst part was we were doing the trip with our 9 yr old sons on back. Just another exciting event that's added to the memories.

Hey Greg, what do you recommend for a varmint gun/cal.? I'm in NJ but PA is a few miles away. Friend did buy .17 a few years ago but I haven't talked to him about his opinion.

I live near the Delaware rive and there were two coal fired plans on the PA side of the river bank: PP&L and Reliant operated. They just hauled off one of the old PP&L coal boilers to KY (I think that's the new destination) that was shut down two years ago. The wanted to install a GE nat gas turbine and NJ sued to have them update pollution controls on the coal units as part of the approval process. Now two new nat gas units have replaced them. I think the coal units dated to the '50s. PP&L offered and did switch to low sulfur bit. Then three yrs ago their fly ash dike had a wooden lock gate rot out and the Delaware was flooded with >100 million gal of fly ash slurry. I think all the crap came together for the proverbial perfect s*%@ storm. It was the first time NJ DEP forced an out of state decision for environmental reasons.
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: SAU On: Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:23 pm

I have to agree with Capt. Mike, he makes some points that I overlook because I don't have to store it long term. While our coal is a little hotter than 8000 BTU the moisture is about 23% at mine mouth. I also forgot that some, perhaps many would want to store 3 or more tons. It is susceptible to spontaneous combustion when exposed to moisture and or something that will promote bacterial growth, such as soil. We run around all summer long putting out fires in the pit, but the exposed employ bin, which is an old haul truck bed never gets hot.

VigII, the guys out here like the .17. It zips though the WY wind. I think I'll stick with the 22/250 though. The .17 is good if all you want to do is pop varmints, and I'm too cheap to buy one for nothing but varmints.
SAU
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: LsFarm On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:15 am

Hi VigII, the best all around varmint caliber is the .223. I have several of them, one a custom Rem. 700/ .223 Ackley Improved, one in a custom AR15 varmint rig, and one in a light Stainless Rem 700 rig. The .223 is adequate out to 2-300 yds on coyotes, ground hogs and Prarie Dogs. The .223 is cheap to buy good ammo for, or if you reload it cheap to reload..it's not terribly fussy to get it to be quite accurate.

The problem i have with the .17 is that it is prone to coppering up the barrel.. and it is a royal pain to clean a .17 caliber barrel..

If I had to choose one cartridge for most varmints, it would be the .223.

Just to give you a run down, I've shot or currently shoot, .22 Hornet, .218BEE, .221Fireball, .222, .223, .223 Ackely Improved, 22-250, .243 win. .243 Ackley Improved, .260 Rem Improved, .257 Roberts.

I'm pretty amazed that the PRB coal will spontaneously combust.. Anthracite coal is inert, in fact is sometimes is pretty hard to ignite even with a torch!!

Charlie I sent you a PM.

Greg L.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Powder River Basin Bit

PostBy: Duengeon master On: Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:41 am

I just bought a 1944 Mosin Nagant 7.62x54r and haven't had a chance to try it out. I want to try it out after the meet and greet. But any varmint will do. :rambo3: P.S. will PRB coal spontaneously combust or turn to dust in a coal bin?
Duengeon master
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harmon Mark III
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite pea and nut mix. Bituminous lump