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Modeling a Coal Car Cooperative Transportation Network: Phase 2 Project # UA10-AECC. Project Team Principal Investigator Sarah Root, Ph.D. Co-Principal Investigator Chase Rainwater, Ph.D. Graduate Assistant Hector Vergara. Project Motivation

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Modeling a Coal Car Cooperative Transportation Network: Phase 2

Project # UA10-AECC

Project Team

Principal Investigator Sarah Root, Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator Chase Rainwater, Ph.D.

Graduate Assistant Hector Vergara

Project Motivation

  • Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC)
    • 3 coal-fired power stations consume approx. 14.5M tons of low-sulfur Powder River Basin (PRB) coal per year
  • Coal transportation network
    • Unit trains shipped from PRB, WY
    • Transportation represents 2/3 of coal cost
  • Problems in current coal transportation network
    • Unit train lengths limited by capacity of eastern railroads and physical limitations at power plants
    • Operational disruptions reduce coal throughput

Result from Phase 1

  • CCC Decision Support Tool
    • Volume feasibility and cost feasibility
      • Different participants
      • Role of participants
      • Class I Railroad participation

Project Objectives

  • Refine decision support tool to evaluate the potential cost savings of the CCC
  • Propose implementation plan for the installation of a CCC in stages
    • (e.g. initial installation and further expansions based on participants needs)
  • A tactical plan for the formation and scheduling of CCC trains to be shipped to participant plants

Project Activities

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Simulation model of train flow and car build-up
  • Scenario construction
  • Statistical analysis of simulation results
  • Mathematical modeling of operational problems
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Documentation

Research Methodology

Model of Coal Car Build-up

  • Simulation modeling
  • Primary performance measures
    • Coal inventory at CCC
    • Cycle time
  • Scenarios for evaluation
    • Class I Railroad participation
    • Coal volume
  • Related analyses
    • Implementation plan for CCC
    • Infrastructure and operational costs

CCC Operation Modeling

  • Mathematical model(s) of CCC operations
    • Locomotive and car scheduling
    • Empty balancing
  • Sensitivity with respect to
    • Coal volume (i.e. formation of outgoing trains)
    • Resource capacity
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