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Pile Monitoring

Prior to burning, the coal for power generation may be stored in large piles, often in the open air. Similarly biomass may be stored in large piles prior to processing. Stored coal and biomass present fire risks, so continuous, automated monitoring is necessary to detect any hot spots in the coal or biomass pile. The risk is especially acute for sub-bituminous coals such as those from the Powder River Basin in the United States. 

Coal and biomass react with air to form carbon monoxide. This is an exothermic reaction and can create hot spots, which may lead to fires. It is important to identify hot spots early, to keep personnel safe, prevent plant damage and avoid loss of coal and biomass stock.

Fires can consume stocks, damage plant equipment and put people at risk, so monitoring the pile for hot spots helps prevent this. In addition to safety benefits, it also helps avoid the added expense of process shutdowns.

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