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Coal | Inside Power Station




McGraw-Hill International Edition 2002.

According to geological order of formation, coal may be of the following types:

1. Peat
2. Lignite
3. Sub bituminous
4. Bituminous
5. Sub Anthracite
6. Anthracite, with increasing percentage of carbon. After anthracite, graphite is formed.
Anthracite contains more than 86% fixed carbon and less volatile matter. Volatile matter helps
in the ignition of coal, so it is difficult to burn anthracite. Bituminous coal is the large group
containing 46-86% of fixed carbon and 20-40% of
volatile matter. It can be low, medium and high
volatile. The lower of volatility is the higher the
heating value. Lignite is the lowest grade of coal
containing moisture as high as 30% and high volatile
matter. According to ASTM (American society of
testing and materials), peat not regarded as a rank of
coal. Peat containing up to 90% moisture and is not
attractive as a utility fuel.

Coal Analysis
There are two types of coal analysis, proximate and ultimate. Both are done on mass per cent
basis. Both these types may be based on
1. As received basis useful for combustion calculation.
2. Dry or moisture free basis.
3. Dry mineral matter free or combustible basis.

Proximate Analysis.
The proximate analysis indicates the behavior of coal when it is heated. When 1 g sample of
coal is subjected to a temperature of about 105C for a period of 1 hour, the loss in weight of
the sample gives the moisture content of the coal.
When 1 g sample of coal is placed in a cover platinum crucible and heated to 950C and
maintained at the temperature for about 7 min, there is a loss in weight due the elimination of
moisture and volatile matter. The latter may now be determined since moisture has been
calculated from the previous test. Volatile matter consists of hydrogen and certain hydrogen-
carbon compounds which can be remove from the coal simply by heating it.
By subjecting 1 g sample of coal in an uncovered crucible to a temperature of about 720C
until the coal is completely burned, a constant weight is reached, which indicates that there is
only ash remaining in the crucible. Complete combustion of coal is determined by repeated
weighing of the sample.
Fixed carbon is the difference between 100% and the sum of the percentages of moisture, ash
and volatile matter. However, this difference does not represent all the carbon that was in the
coal. Some of carbon may have been in the form of hydrocarbon which may have been
distilled off while determining the volatile matter. It is also possible that some of this fixed
carbon may include sulphur, nitrogen and oxygen. So, the proximate analysis of coal gives
FC+VM+M+A=100% by mass.
The amount of VM indicates whether the coal will burn with a short or long flame and whether
it will tend to produce smoke. The more volatile the coal, the more it will smoke.
The figure shows the trend in moisture, volatile matter and fixed carbon when expressed on a
dry ash free basis. The general trend with increasing rank is an increase in the heating value
and fixed carbon and corresponding decreasing in moisture and VM. This trend is pronounced
that a classification system based on the fuel ratio (ratio of fixed carbon to volatile matter) has
been used as rough indicator of a coal’s rank.

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