Sustainable Transport Systems Reach a New (Green) Milestone
Sustainable transport systems have witnessed a milestone. Recently, Alcoa Jamalco Operations hauled 10 million tons of bauxite from its Mount Oliphant mine location to the rail station where the material was loaded and shipped to the company’s alumina refinery in Clarendon. Using a Rope Conveyor (RopeCon) system, a 2.11 mile cable conveyor system used to move bauxite through mountainous areas like Mount Oliphant with an elevation of 843 feet, the transport record was achieved in under two years.
“The RopeCon system is the only one in the Alcoa network, and we selected it primarily because of its sustainability features,” said Jerome Maxwell, managing director of Jamalco.
Sustainable transport systems are excellent methods for moving raw material and generating green energy. These systems can generate energy to power mines and power networks; the RopeCon system used at Alcoa Jamalco generates nearly 1,200 kW of braking (green) energy per hour. These green transport systems also save money; Alcoa has saved approximately $1.5 million on the cost of energy since it started using the conveyor system in 2007.
In order to transport alumina, the raw material used to produce aluminum, the RopeCon system was constructed with a belt of corrugated side walls and integrated wheel sets on fixed track ropes which are guided over 11 tower structures. The system is powered by two AC induction motors. When the conveying system is loaded with bauxite and begins making its way down the mountain, the drives begin using a continuous braking (regeneration) mode which produces the electrical power.
The system also provides environmental benefits in addition to providing and alternative energy course. Long distance conveyors can operate in mid-air, minimize space requirements and can effortlessly cross obstacles on the ground. The systems are also quiet, dust-free and use less land space than road transport which further reduces its environmental footprint.
For more on sustainable transport systems like RopeCon, read the original Yahoo Finance article here: http://yhoo.it/oidblN.