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Briquetting of Coal Fines and Sawdust Part I: Binder and Briquetting- Parameters Evaluations

D. Taulbee a ; D. P. Patil a ; Rick Q. Honaker b ; B. K. Parekh a a Center for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA b Department of Mining Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

To cite this Article Taulbee, D. , Patil, D. P. , Honaker, Rick Q. and Parekh, B. K.(2009) 'Briquetting of Coal Fines and Sawdust Part I: Binder and Briquetting-Parameters Evaluations', International Journal of Coal Preparation and Utilization, 29: 1, 1 — 22 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/19392690802628705 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19392690802628705

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International Journal of Coal Preparation and Utilization, 29: 1–22, 2009 Copyright Q Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 1939-2699 print=1939-2702 online DOI: 10.1080/19392690802628705

print = 1939-2702 online DOI: 10.1080/19392690802628705 BRIQUETTING OF COAL FINES AND SAWDUST PART I: BINDER AND

BRIQUETTING OF COAL FINES AND SAWDUST PART I: BINDER AND BRIQUETTING- PARAMETERS EVALUATIONS

D. TAULBEE 1 , D. P. PATIL 1 , RICK Q. HONAKER 2 , AND B. K. PAREKH 1

1 Center for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA 2 Department of Mining Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Various technical and economic aspects relating to the briquetting of fine coal with sawdust have been evaluated with the results for two segments of that study presented here: binder and briquetting- parameter evaluations. Approximately 50 potential binder formula- tions were subjected to a series of screening evaluations to identify three formulations that were the most cost effective for briquetting fine coal with sawdust. Two of the binders, guar gum and wheat starch, were selected as most suitable for the pulverized coal market while the third formulation, lignosulfonate =lime, was targeted for the stoker market. Following binder selection, a number of briquetting parameters including binder and sawdust concentration, sawdust type, briquetting pressure and dwell time, coal and sawdust particle size, clay content, moisture content, and cure temperature and cure

Received 4 June 2008; accepted 14 October 2008. Funding for this research was provided in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, State Industries of the Future (DE-FC07-02ID14273). The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of TECO Coal, James River Coal, and Cooke & Sons Mining for the fine-coal samples and H&S Lumber and Sandy Gaye Lumber for the sawdust samples. We also wish to acknowledge the provision of binder materials from a number of sources including ADM, Meade-Westvaco, Northway Lignin, Omni Materials, ABC Coke, US Sugar Corpo- ration, Marathon-Ashland, Anheuser-Busch, Hase Petroleum, PQ Corp., Akzo-Nobel, the Heritage Group, and Bob Rooksby. Address correspondence to D. Taulbee. E-mail: taulbee@caer.uky.edu

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time were evaluated. Briquetting pressure and dwell time have the least impact while binder and sawdust concentrations, sawdust type, and curing conditions exerted the greatest influence on briquette quality.

Keywords : Binders; Biomass; Briquetting; Fine coal; Fuel; Waste

INTRODUCTION

During the past several years, an increasing consumer demand for the production of renewable green energy has been realized. Such interest stems mostly from the potential for reductions in net emissions of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), a suspected agent of global warming, reduced SO x , NO x , and mercury emissions as well as a lessening of the problems associated with the mining and utilization of the coal that would be displaced. Of the green energy options, the generation of power via co-firing of biomass could be the more quickly implemented of the short-term solu- tions to meeting required CO 2 reductions and perhaps the more eco- nomical as well. However, despite its advantages, biomass utilization suffers from a number of economic and practical limitations including high transportation costs, seasonal availability, high-moisture content, increased boiler-volume requirements, and the capital investment needed to handle, store, and process. Before biomass can play a significant role in our green energy= CO 2 -reduction strategy, there are certain economic issues that must be addressed. Namely, how can biomass be economically transported from where it is available in abundance to the utility site where it can be used? Once there, how can it be stored, handled, and ground to the required particle size, all with a minimal capital investment? In addition to the large amounts of biomass that goes unused, each year between 70 and 90 million tons of coal fines [1] are discarded in slurry impoundments in the United States. This represents enough energy to provide electrical power to an industrialized country of about 15 million people. Even more striking is that this material is being added to an existing inventory of approximately 2.5 billion tons of coal waste that is stored at active and abandoned sites. It should also be noted that most of these sites are located within the Appalachian coal fields that also happens to be home to a vibrant timber industry that produces a significant quantity of energy-containing wood waste, about one third of which is in the form of sawdust. Methods to clean and recover a

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high-Btu product from waste coal fines are known and reasonably inexpensive. However, similar to biomass, the utilization of recovered fine coal poses problems associated mainly with its high- and difficult- to-remove moisture content that lowers its heating value and makes handling and transport difficult. Thus, substantial energy in the form of fine coal and biomass is discarded each year and despite past efforts [2–6] a significant commercial coal =wood-waste recovery industry has not developed. This wasteful practice is being reevaluated as a number of factors such as higher market prices for coal, increased waste-disposal costs, tax incentives, potential legislative controls on CO 2 emissions, and the consumer’s willingness to pay premium prices for green energy have impacted the economics of utilizing coal and wood wastes and spawned renewed interest in finding ways to use these waste materials in a ben- eficial manner. One promising avenue for moving these materials into the market is to compress blends of cleaned fine coal and sawdust into briquettes that would provide a reduced-moisture product that can be transported as dense, free-flowing solids and then stored, crushed, and conveyed in existing equipment. In other words, the briquetting of bio- mass with cleaned coal fines would not only produce a premium fuel pro- duct from waste materials but could offer a near-term, practical means to generate green energy in existing utilities without requiring a substantial additional investment in processing and handling equipment. Accordingly, a concentrated research effort has been directed at the development of an economical process for producing a low-ash, high- Btu, premium briquetted fuel from cleaned fine coal and timber wastes (Figure 1). This research has focused on several topic areas including the evaluation of binders that could double as frothing agents, advanced fine-coal drying technologies, an extensive binder evaluation to identify the more cost-effective formulations, optimization of briquetting para- meters, blending of clean coal from spiral (coarse) and flotation (fine) circuits to optimize the coal particle size, and combustion testing of the briquetted product. Effective binders for coal briquetting have been known for some time and, in fact, were used quite extensively in com- mercial briquetting operations in the mid-1900s [1]. However, there is a shortage of published information on effective binders for fine coal and sawdust agglomeration requiring that a comparative binder evalu- ation be undertaken. This manuscript will focus on results from the binder and processing parameters studies.

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4 D. TAULBEE ET AL. Downloaded At: 13:37 3 November 2010 Figure 1. Schematic of the

Figure 1. Schematic of the proposed concept of coal=sawdust premium fuel production.

EXPERIMENTAL

Binders

The literature survey for binders was not only limited to binders used for the briquetting of coal but also included other agglomeration techniques (e.g., pelletizing and extrusion), as well as materials used to agglomerate other feedstock (e.g., charcoal and pharmaceuticals). From this survey, coupled with discussions with equipments and binder suppliers, approxi- mately 50 binder formulations were identified and procured. These mate- rials were evaluated with an ultimate goal of identifying one or more formulations that would be most cost effective for producing fuels for pulverized coal boilers and to identify one more appropriate for the production of stoker fuels.

Sawdust Samples

Eleven sawdust samples from varying sources were evaluated during the study. These included (a) a larger particle-size sawdust generated by a circular saw at an Eastern Kentucky mill (Gaye Bros .) that was a mixture

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of tree species; primarily white oak with lesser amounts of red oak and poplar; (b) a smaller particle-size chestnut-oak sawdust generated by a band-saw near Clay City, Kentucky (H&S oak ); and (c) a poplar sawdust from the same mill ( H&S poplar ). In addition, eight pure saw dusts from different tree species common to Eastern Kentucky (red oak, white oak, poplar, willow, ash, maple, beech, and hickory) were obtained with a chain saw from a log yard in Breathitt County, Kentucky. Each of the saw dusts was screened to 6.3 mm ( 1 = 4 inch) prior to use with the exception of the H&S oak, which was screened to 9.5 mm ( 3= 8 inch). Each was thoroughly mixed, split, and frozen in sealed quart jars to minimize drying and oxidation.

Fine-Coal Samples

The two fine-coal samples used in this study were all of bituminous rank and were obtained as high-ash, fine-coal waste streams (thickener feed) from preparation plants in Eastern Kentucky. One of the sample was obtained from Leatherwood Kentucky, referred to as JR, and the second was obtained from a preparation plant in Letcher County and is referred to as Cooke and Sons . Each sample was collected in 208 liter (55 gallon) drums and returned to the laboratory where they were cleaned using the Jameson flotation cell, vacuum filtered and reduced to approximately 20–25 % moisture by spreading and drying on plastic sheets. Each sam- ple was then homogenized, split, sealed in one-liter containers and frozen to suppress further drying or oxidation during the study. Table 1 lists the analysis of two clean coal samples. The ash contents of Cooke and Sons and Leatherwood products were 8.32 % and 5.91 % , respectively. The volatile matter and fixed carbon contents were similar for the two products. The median ( d 50 ) particle size of the Cooke and Sons and Leatherwood samples were 44.30 m m and 36.89 m m, respectively.

Table 1. Proximate analysis of the clean coal samples

Coal sample

Ash %

Volatile matter %

Fixed carbon %

Cooke and Sons Leatherwood (JR)

8.32

32.69

58.99

5.91

33.84

60.24

On moisture free basis.

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Procedures

Sample Handling and Briquette Formation. To obtain meaningful results when conducting binder comparisons, briquetting parameters must remain constant or at least repeatable for the duration of the study. Examples of the variables to be controlled include briquetting pressure and dwell time, feedstock oxidation and moisture, the weight of material briquetted, temperature and humidity during cure, sample mixing, and briquette crushing speed. Precautions were taken to minimize these variations in the values of and other parameters during the study. Blends to be briquetted were prepared by mixing sawdust, coal, and binder at a fixed time and speed with a laboratory blender. An automated hydraulic press (Carver Ind.) with a selectable dwell time and briquet- ting pressure ( 45.4 kg f ) was used to press 17.0 0.05 g of each coal = sawdust = binder blend in a 28.6-mm diameter cylindrical die. This method of making briquettes is tedious but provides for tighter control of the briquetting parameters than can be obtained with a continuous briquetter. Disadvantages are that the dynamics of briquette formation and the briquette shape differ from those of a continuous, roller-type briquetter. For the purposes of comparing binder performances, it was assumed that the ability to maintain a more stringent control of briquet- ting conditions more than offset potential disadvantages. It should be noted that this assumption may not hold for binders that are activated by the heat imparted in a continuous roller. Unless otherwise noted, standard conditions of 1815 kg f briquetting pressure, 3-s dwell time, and 10 % sawdust addition were used through- out the study. After forming, briquettes were stored in a Caron Model 6010 environmental chamber at a constant temperature (22.2 C) and relative humidity (RH) to ensure constant-curing conditions. Initially, briquettes were cured at 80 % RH but were cured later in the study at 90 % RH to more realistically simulate stockpile conditions.

Briquette Testing

Compressive strengths were determined at a crushing speed of 25.4 mm = min with a 25.4-cm diameter disk attached to a Mark 10 Model EG-200 compressive-strength meter that was mounted to an automated Chatillon TCM 201 test stand. Compressive strengths were measured along the same axis as used to apply force during formation. Each reported compressive strength value represents the average of five

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determinations and were normally conducted at 30 minutes, 24 hours, and 7 days after the briquettes were formed. In two binder-screening stu- dies, compressive strengths were used to identify the ten more promising binders for further evaluation. The expanded evaluations included water resistance, shatter resis- tance and attrition and were conducted on briquettes following a seven-day cure. Water resistance was determined by weighing four bri- quettes, after submerging them in water for eight hours, removing (if still intact) and curing overnight in an environmental chamber, and measur- ing the compressive strengths. Shatter resistance was reported as the aver- age number of times to failure for four briquettes dropped from a height of 0.46 m onto a steel plate. Attrition indices were determined by record- ing the mass of 7–8 briquettes ( 100 g), placing the briquettes into a 30.5-cm diameter Plexiglas cylinder equipped with three, 5-cm lifters, tumbling for five minutes at 40 rpm, and then determining the weight of þ 0.297 mm (þ 50 mesh) material. The attrition index was reported as the percent of the briquette weight retained by the 50-mesh screen. Higher test values equate to better performance for all four of the physical tests.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

Binderless Briquetting

The first scoping study was an attempt to produce acceptable binderless briquettes as has been reported for dried coal fines [7]. Briquettes were prepared with the JR coal and Gaye Brothers sawdust (10 % ) at 1815, 4536, and 9072 kg f . This approach generated briquettes with seven-day strengths of 3.6, 14, and 19.5 kg f , respectively. While higher pressures produced better strengths, these values were unacceptably low, the bri- quettes were highly friable, and such high pressures would increase energy costs while lowering throughput. Hence, further study with binderless briquetting was not pursued.

Initial Binder Screening

An initial round of binder comparisons was conducted to reduce the potential materials to a more manageable number. Approximately 50 for- mulations were blended at 5 wt % with JR coal and the Gay Brothers sawdust (10 % ). Average green, one-, and seven-day compressive

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strengths were determined. Those formulations that did not provide a 13.6 kg f green strength, 18 kg f one-day strength, or 22.7 kg f seven-day strength were eliminated from further study.

Sawdust Particle Size. A sawdust particle-size study was initiated after noting that many of the briquettes containing the circular-saw sawdust formed horizontal cracks during curing. The larger-sized sawdust parti- cles from the circular saw were suspected as being responsible. To test this hypothesis, a sample of Gaye Brothers sawdust was divided into four fractions of þ 1.19, 1.19 0.84, 0.84 0.595, and 0.595 mm (þ 16, 16 20, 20 30, and –30 mesh) and briquetted with the JR coal and an emulsified asphaltic binder (5 % ). This study revealed an inverse relation between briquette strength and sawdust particle size. For example, the average seven-day strengths were determined to be 10, 13, 18, and 37 kg f for briquettes prepared with the þ16, 16 20, 20 30, and 30 mesh sawdust, respectively. Visual inspections of the briquettes revealed a decrease in the extent of the horizontal cracks in briquettes formed with smaller sawdust particles (Figure 2) prompting a switch to the two band-saw sawdust for subsequent studies (H&S oak and poplar).

Binder-Performance Comparisons

Addition of Binders on an Equivalent-Cost Basis. An effort to iden- tify the more effective binders was conducted for the approximate 30 materials that remained following the preliminary screening tests.

that remained following the preliminary screening tests. Figure 2. Briquettes formed with different particle-size

Figure 2. Briquettes formed with different particle-size sawdust showing increased cracking with larger sawdust particles (þ16, 16 20, 20 30, and 30 mesh sawdust added at 10 wt%).

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Compressive strengths were again used to assess binder performance. In order to compare binder performance on a cost-equivalent basis, each binder was added to the coal fines = sawdust blends on at an equivalent cost of briquetted product, i.e., $8 = short ton (907 kg). To calculate the equivalent-cost application rate, a market price for each binder was obtained to which was added a $25 = short ton delivery cost. Although this approach does not consider potentially significant binder-price fluc- tuations, differences in delivery costs, or differences in the cost of appli- cation equipment, it nonetheless provides a practical starting point. The results from this study are shown in Table 2. While no single binder pro- vided both the highest green, one- and seven-day strengths, some of the

Table 2. Compressive strengths (kg f ) of briquettes prepared with an $8=short ton binder- application rate, JR Coal, and 10% Gaye Bros. oak (better performers shown in bold)

 

Green strength (kg f )

1-day

7-day

Binder

Binder wt%

strength (kg f )

strength (kg f )

Peridur 300 Western bentonite Wheat flour, Walmart Spring wheat flour Lavabond Corn starch Black strap molasses Coal loading tar Paper sludge Lime

0.4

15.6

16.2

81.8

6.7

15.7

15.9

32.2

3.4

17.8

17.1

57.2

7.2

19.3

19.3

73.2

6.7

13.8

18.1

32.2

2.9

17.7

23.1

55.0

6.4

15.0

16.8

22.6

5.0

19.7

18.1

33.4

17.8

18.6

13.2

15.3

8.0

20.7

14.8

30.4

RS-2

4.8

14.9

10.3

10.5

Sodium silicate Polybond 300G Polybond Guar gum Bleached softwood pulp Brewex Wheat starch 7 Wheat starch 6 Reax Cola syrup Asphalt-SS Asphalt-MS No binder (control)

8.0

14.2

31.2

33.4

6.2

13.7

15.3

25.1

9.4

11.6

15.5

20.8

1.0

19.8

32.0

64.8

1.5

24.8

16.3

15.6

17.8

18.8

18.5

33.5

1.0

16.2

17.1

42.3

2.9

20.5

24.3

64.1

4.8

14.3

15.7

27.7

12.3

15.0

12.9

4.8

17.8

14.1

4.8

13.4

12.2

0.0

14.0

8.8

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materials exhibited better than average performance at all three time intervals and were selected for further evaluation.

The Impact of Lime Addition. A second round of binder comparisons was again performed at a binder application rate of $8 = short ton of briquetted product, this time with a focus on evaluating the impact of lime addition. Lime is often used for agglomeration as it is relatively inexpensive and generally improves agglomerate properties, particularly green strength. However, lime alone, even at relatively high concentra- tions, does not produce coal briquettes that can withstand the rigors of shipping and handling. Furthermore, depending on the coal-ash compo- sition, excessive lime may enhance slagging and fouling in pulverized coal-combustion boilers as it may lower the ash-fusion temperature. On the other hand, lime can enhance the performance of some binders resulting in improved briquette properties at a reduced cost. Lime addition can also be attractive in certain applications such as in slagging boilers, where a lower ash-fusion temperature is desirable, or in fluidized-bed boilers where limestone is added for SO 2 capture. While hydrated lime is more normally used to briquette dry feed materials, unhydrated lime (CaO) was used in this study because of the relatively high-moisture content of the fine coal. The logic behind selecting unhydrated lime was that the high moisture of the fine coal would suppress spontaneous combustion in product stockpiles and the unhydrated lime would serve to reduce the surface moisture to some extent. The evaluation of lime addition was conducted with blends of binder, H&S oak sawdust (10 wt % ), and Cooke and Sons coal. Each blend was split into two portions with one split briquetted without lime and the second briquetted after adding 2 % lime by weight. Results for selected binders, with and without added lime, are given in Table 3 where the higher strength values are shown in bold. Briquettes containing lime generally exhibited higher green strengths than briquettes prepared with- out lime from otherwise identical blends. While results with the Cooke and Sons coal did not precisely track those obtained with the JR coal (Table 2), the best results for both coals when briquetted without lime were obtained for guar gum and the starch-based binders. The perfor- mance of guar gum and starch generally declined following lime addition while the performance of molasses, paper sludge, and the three REAX (lignosulfonate) binders exhibited notable improvements.

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Table 3. Compressive strengths (kg f ) for briquettes prepared with and without 2 wt% added lime ($8 =ton binder application rate, cooke and sons coal, and 10% H&S oak sawdust (better performers shown in bold)

No lime

2 wt% lime

 

Binder

Green

1-day

7-day

Green

1-day

7-day

Binder ID

wt%

strength strength strength strength strength strength

Wheat starch 7 Wheat starch 6 Polybond Paper sludge REAX-N-EF REAX-N-DK REAX-A Peridur 300 Peridur 330 Puridur 300-repeat Black strap molasses Black strap mol.-repeat w=lime Peridur 300-repeat Brewex Asphalt-MS Hardwood pulp Softwood pulp Guar gum Coal tar SS-1 asphalt emulsion RS-2 asphalt emulsion

1.01

9.5

11.3

37.0

13.5

14.0

30.9

2.90

14.2

19.9

92.3

19.9

20.1

58.9

9.40

6.9

9.3

13.4

16.8

21.0

21.9

17.89

12.5

15.0

19.1

22.2

25.1

45.2

4.32

10.0

11.5

47.8

16.3

22.4

90.7

4.28

9.4

12.5

19.6

14.8

18.9

50.5

4.95

10.4

12.7

22.4

18.0

21.8

53.6

0.42

10.5

10.8

40.2

12.6

9.3

19.7

0.51

9.5

10.1

58.5

12.0

8.3

21.1

0.40

14.4

12.8

33.4

21.8

16.5

20.6

6.64

9.5

10.7

12.8

20.3

23.4

40.8

6.38

21.3

27.6

49.4

0.41

10.2

8.3

28.0

13.2

8.3

21.2

17.75

11.9

12.5

22.5

13.4

15.2

48.2

4.83

12.5

9.3

10.8

17.2

17.6

27.8

1.94

11.8

8.8

8.7

16.7

15.6

28.4

1.52

15.7

10.2

12.6

21.5

25.6

36.3

1.00

12.2

10.8

78.1

13.9

9.6

25.2

5.11

10.4

7.8

16.6

12.7

11.8

35.0

4.78

13.0

9.8

11.7

17.1

16.1

31.0

4.84

11.4

7.5

8.8

13.6

14.4

21.1

Corn starch-polymerized 2.90

16.7

19.9

47.9

22.9

22.8

44.5

Corn starch- unpolymerized Slack wax (212) Phenolic resin-unheated Cola syrup Polybond 300G

2.90

13.6

11.2

12.8

17.2

14.5

35.5

2.10

14.8

12.3

11.3

20.8

21.4

27.4

0.80

9.9

6.0

7.8

14.1

15.0

27.7

10.80

9.5

9.8

13.2

15.4

15.2

28.4

6.20

9.4

10.8

5.5

17.8

19.8

24.4

Promo-1

5.00

8.9

7.3

9.0

10.7

17.1

23.3

Wheat flour-Walmart Wheat flour-high gluten Wheat flour-high starch Tall oil No binder (control)

3.12

14.6

17.6

69.4

18.3

19.6

45.5

2.89

17.2

22.6

91.2

17.9

19.0

57.4

2.89

15.1

17.6

75.9

16.9

14.9

54.4

2.50

11.5

8.3

8.7

18.7

19.3

32.0

0.00

11.0

5.4

6.9

14.2

12.7

25.5

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Testing of the More Promising Formulations. Based on the compressive-strength data, the list of potential binders was further reduced to about 10 materials. Briquettes were prepared with these for- mulations for more extensive testing with the aim of identifying (a) the most effective lime-containing formulation for stoker or fluidized-bed applications and (b) the most effective combustible binder targeted for pulverized-coal boilers. Briquettes were prepared as before using JR fine coal and H&S oak. In addition to compressive strength, tests of shatter resistance, water resistance, and attrition indices were conducted following a seven-day cure in an environmental chamber (22 C and 80 % RH). For each physi- cal test, higher test values equate to better performance. The results, shown in Table 4, indicate that the guar gum and wheat-starch binders (Hi-gluten and wheat starch) provided the best overall performance for

Table 4. Comparison of physical properties for selected binder formulations ($8=ton binder application rate, JR coal, & 10% H&S sawdust (compressive strengths in kg f )

H 2 O

 

Binder

Green

1-day

7-day

Drop test

resist (kg f CS)

Attrition

Binder ID

wt%

strength strength strength ( # drops)

index

Black strap

6.70

41.6

46.4

79.3

17.8 Disintegrated

55.5

molasses

Hi-gluten

2.90

29.3

35.6

>100

46.8

10.9

67.5

wheat flour

Guar gum

1.00

28.8

39.1

>100

51.3

18.9

81.1

Hi-Starch

2.89

23.3

28.0

>100

27.3

8.1

56.8

wheat flour

Corn starch

2.9

22.9

30.0

77.0

24.8

16.7

46.0

Paper sludge 17.90

35.6

38.0

61.6

4.3

38.5

36.0

Wheat starch 6 Control w =lime only Tall oil emulsion Molasses REAX REAX & ASPHALT

2.90

26.4

NA

>100

NA

NA

71.7

2.00

26.1

NA

20.6

1.0

16.3

31.1

5.3

20.8

17.2

29.2

2.8

19.3

34.1

5.7

25.4

32.4

68.7

9.0 Disintegrated

55.2

4.3

19.8

40.4

>100

>100

Disintegrated

91.1

2.5&1.2 27.0

39.7

88.5

28.0

35.6

50.4

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the non-lime binder formulations while the REAX = lime (lignosulfonate) was selected as the best of the lime-containing formulations.

Evaluation of Selected Briquetting Parameters. A series of experi- ments was conducted to evaluate the relationship between selected bri- quetting parameters and briquette performance using the three-binder formulations that were identified as the most cost effective for fine- coal = sawdust blends. All tests were conducted using a standard set of conditions of $8 = short ton binder, JR coal fines, 10 % H&S-oak sawdust, 5 % added water, 1814 kg briquetting force, 3-s dwell time, 22.2 C and 80 % RH cure conditions. The binder addition rate of $8 = short ton equa- ted to 1.0 % guar gum, 2.9 % wheat starch, and 4.3 % REAX with an additional 2 wt % lime added to briquettes prepared with REAX. Only one parameter was varied per experiment as noted.

Binder Concentration. Table 5 shows briquette performance as a func- tion of binder concentration. Each binder was applied at a concentration equating to $2, $4, $6, or $8 per short ton (907 kg) of briquetted product. For the briquettes prepared with REAX = lime, only the application rate of REAX was varied as lime addition was maintained at a constant 2 wt % . As expected, performance improved at the higher application

Table 5. Variation of binder concentration ($2, $4, $6, and $8=ton application rates; strengths given in units of kg f )

Binder Green

1-day

7-day

Drop test

H 2 O

resist

Attrition

Binder

wt% strength strength strength ( # drops)

(kgf CS)

index

Guar gum Guar gum Guar gum Guar gum Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6

0.25

21.6

44.8

2.8

10.5

32.1

0.50

27.6

86.2

7.5

14.4

47.7

0.75

26.7

>100

20.0

20.8

55.7

1.00

28.8

39.1

>100

51.3

18.9

81.1

0.75

19.2

19.0

25.3

2.0 Disintegrated 24.3 4.0 Disintegrated 36.2

1.50

19.4

20.1

43.1

Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6

2.20

2.90

22.8

29.4

30.4

71.2

>100

11.0 Disintegrated 51.1 –

40.0

73.9

REAX þ 2 REAX þ 2

wt% lime

1.10

21.9

30.2

58.0

7.3

13.2

37.0

wt% lime

2.10

24.9

32.3

74.5

14.8

17.9

45.3

REAX þ 2 wt% lime

3.25

26.2

43.5

>100

27.5 Partial disint

54.4

REAX þ 2

wt% lime

4.30

19.8

40.4

>100

>100

Disintegrated 91.1

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rates for all three binders, particularly shatter resistance, attrition indi- ces, and seven-day compressive strengths. On the other hand, little or no difference was noted in the green strength or water resistance as a function of binder concentration. Interestingly, the briquettes formed with REAX, which contained a constant 2 wt % lime, showed better water resistance at the lower REAX application rates. It is believed that when REAX (lignosulfonate) was applied at higher concentrations, its solubility resulted in a low resistance to water damage whereas when applied at lower concentrations, water resistance may have been more controlled by the constant 2 % lime concentration.

Sawdust Concentration and Particle Size. The impact of sawdust addition was evaluated at sawdust concentrations of 0% , 5 % , 10 % , and 25 % of the coal weight (Table 6). Both green and one-day strengths, water and shatter resistance, and the attrition indices declined signifi- cantly with increasing sawdust concentrations for both guar gum and wheat starch. On the other hand, sawdust concentration had little impact on the compressive strengths of the briquettes containing the REAX = lime binder. The briquettes formed with Reax also exhibited excellent shatter resistance, attrition indices, and, to some extent, water resistance up to 10 % sawdust addition but declined substantially with the higher

Table 6. Variation of sawdust concentration (0, 5, 10, & 25 wt% addition rates; strengths given in units of kg f )

H 2 O

 

Green

1-day

7-day Drop test

resist

Attrition Sawdust

Binder ID

strength strength strength ( # drops)

(kgf CS)

index

(wt %)

Guar gum Guar gum Guar gum Guar gum Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6

49.9

87.2

>100

88.0

54

83.2

0

32.9

66.9

>100

18.3

19

64.7

5

28.8

39.1

>100

51.3

19

81.1

10

27.2

31.2

>100

23.3

9

65.8

25

53.2

76.8

>100

>100

39

93.2

0

38.4

55.7

>100

83.8

25

92.2

5

29.4

NA

>100

40.0

NA

73.9

10

27.5

35.3

>100

17.5 Disintegrated

68.1

25

REAX þ 2 REAX þ 2 REAX þ 2 REAX þ 2

wt% lime

24.4

40.0

>100

>100

52

93.9

0

wt% lime

24.6

41.4

>100

>100

54

92.1

5

wt% lime

19.8

40.4

>100

>100

Disintegrated 91.1

10

wt% lime

26.9

43.3

183.5

10.5 Disintegrated

48.5

25

BRIQUETTING OF COAL FINES AND SAWDUST

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25 % sawdust addition. These results suggest that guar gum and starch may provide better briquettes when little or no sawdust is blended with the coal fines but that REAX may be preferable at higher sawdust concentrations. The impact of the sawdust particle size was evaluated by screening sawdust to either 9.5, 0.84, 0.595, or 0.84 0.595 mm ( 3 = 8-inch, 20 mesh, 30 mesh, or 20 30 mesh) and forming briquettes using 10 wt % of each particle-size range (Table 7). There was some minor improvement in green and one-day compressive strength tests for guar gum and REAX for briquettes prepared with the 20 30 mesh sawdust. Otherwise, there were little or no clear trends in briquette performance as a function of the sawdust particle size over the range evaluated.

Briquetting Force and Dwell Time. The impacts of the force applied during briquetting (907, 1,814, and 4,536 kg f ) and of the time over which

Table 7. Variation of sawdust particle size (10 % SD addition rate; strengths given in units of kg f )

Drop

test

H 2 O

resist (kg f CS)

Binder Green

1-day

7-day

Attrition

Sawdust

Binder

wt% strength strength strength ( # drops)

 

index

size

Guar gum

1.0

28.8

39.1

>100

51.3

18.9

81.1

As rec’d 20 mesh 30 mesh 20 30 mesh As rec’d

Guar gum

1.0

25.3

43.8

>100

35.5

13.1

62.5

Guar gum

1.0

26.9

42.5

>100

52.0

17.6

78.2

gum Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6 REAX þ 2 % lime REAX þ 2 % lime REAX þ 2 % lime REAX þ 2 % lime

Guar

1.0

34.1

47.5

>100

2.9

29.4

NA

>100

40.0

NA

73.9

2.9

24.4

31.3

>100

20.3 Partial

61.4

20 mesh

 

disint

2.9

22.2

28.9

98.0

22.5 Partial

59.9

30 mesh

 

disint

2.9

16.1

26.5

>100

20 30 mesh

4.3

19.8

40.4

>100

>100

Disintegrated 91.1 As rec’d

4.3

22.3

37.7

>100

>100

38.3

88.3

20 mesh

4.3

21.3

35.5

>100

>100

32.1

87.9

30 mesh

4.3

29.9

42

>100

20 30 mesh

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D. TAULBEE ET AL.

Table 8. Variation of briquetting force on briquette properties

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Green

1-day

7-day

Drop test

H 2 O resist (kg f CS)

Attrition Briquetting

Binder

strength strength strength (# drops)

index

force (kg f )

Guar gum Guar gum Guar gum Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6 REAX þ 2 wt% lime REAX þ 2 wt% lime REAX þ 2 wt% lime

20.6

32.5

>100

57.25

14.83

79.43

907

28.8

39.1

>100

51.25

18.92

81.06

1814

26.7

31.3

>100

62.00

17.60

78.88

4536

20.2

28.6

>100

43.75

68.90

907

26.4

NA

>100

71.71

1814

29.4

NA

>100

40.00

n =a

73.92

1814

38.2

50.0

>100

40.50

75.88

4536

18.3

35.0

>100

907

19.8

40.4

>100 >100

Disintegrated 91.10

1814

21.3

42.0

>100

4536

the applied force was maintained (1, 3, and 8 sec) are shown in Tables 8 and 9, respectively. Some improvement in green and cured compressive strengths was noted for the briquettes as a function of higher briquetting pressures. Otherwise, the impact of this parameter on briquette perform- ance was relatively minor. Likewise, little or no correlation was observed

Table 9. Variation of briquetting dwell time (1, 3, and 8 sec; strengths given in units of kg f )

Drop

H 2 O

 

Binder

Green

1-day

7-day

test

resist (kg f CS)

Attrition Dwell

Binder

wt%

strength strength strength ( # drops)

index

time

Guar

gum

 

1.0

27.3

42.5

>100

54.8

22.3

72.71

1 sec

Guar

gum

1.0

28.8

39.1

>100

51.3

18.9

81.06

3 sec

Guar

gum

1.0

27.4

42.7

>100

54.3

23.3

79.36

8 sec

Wheat

starch

6

2.9

23.0

26.9

>100

36.3

15.4

64.38

1 sec

Wheat

starch

6

2.9

26.4

N = A N = A

>100

71.71

3 sec

Wheat

starch

6

2.9

29.4

>100

40.0

73.92

3 sec

Wheat

starch

6

2.9

23.7

26.9

>100

14.3

13.2

60.88

8 sec

REAX þ 2 wt% lime REAX þ 2 wt% lime REAX þ 2 wt%

4.3

18.1

37.4

>100

1 sec

4.3

19.8

40.4

>100

> 100

Disintegrated 91.10

3 sec

4.3

19.6

40.0

>100

8 sec

lime

BRIQUETTING OF COAL FINES AND SAWDUST

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between the briquetting dwell time and briquette performance. Both findings are favorable with respect to commercial operation as they sug- gest that it should be possible to use a lower energy input and faster throughput without a significant sacrifice in briquette quality.

Moisture. To evaluate the impact of moisture content, briquettes were prepared with either 0 % , 5 % , or 10 % added water. The master sample of JR coal used in this study had an initial moisture content of 20.7 % , meaning that this study was conducted roughly over the range of 20 % –30 % moisture. A constant weight of dry blend was used in each briquette by correcting for the differences in the amount of water added. The results, shown in Table 10, reveal no clear trends in briquette per- formance as a function of moisture content over the range evaluated. The higher compressive strengths for guar gum were obtained with either 0 % or 5 % water addition. In contrast, briquettes formed with wheat starch showed higher strengths with increasing water addition. Briquettes formed with REAX showed mixed results with 5% water addition giving the lowest green and one-day compressive strengths but the highest compressive strengths at seven days. While not quantified, it was noted throughout the project that some water addition appeared to improve briquette performance. It was believed that this improvement stemmed from a more uniform coating of the coal and sawdust particles; as without sufficient moisture, many of the binders, particularly the powders or viscous liquids, were difficult to disperse. However, when the water content was too high, the excess

Table 10. Effect of moisture content (0 %, 5%, and 10% added water) on compressive strength (kg f )

 

Green

1-day

7-day

Water addition (% )

Binder

Binder wt %

Strength

strength

strength

Guar gum

1.0

24.3

37.8

>100

0

Guar gum

1.0

24.7

42.6

>100

5

Guar gum

1.0

14.2

21.7

>100

10

Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6 Wheat starch 6

2.9

18.1

24.2

78.8

0

2.9

24.2

33.4

>100

5

2.9

27.3

38.7

>100

10

REAX þ 2 REAX þ 2 REAX þ 2

wt% lime

4.3

28.8

46.0

69.7

0

wt% lime

4.3

19.8

40.4

>100

5

wt% lime

4.3

26.9

44.8

75.7

10

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water was squeezed out during compression, carrying away some of the binder, especially the more water-soluble binders. It should also be noted that the blends were manually loaded to the die in this study so that excess water was not a problem. However, this would likely be a problem in a continuous briquetter as blends with excess water tend to bridge and feed more erratically than dried blends. While not reported here, subsequent continuous-briquetting experiments showed slight improvements in bri- quette strengths with increasing water content up to the point at which the blends began to stick in the hopper and could no longer be fed uni- formly. These results suggest that in general terms, the optimum water content is the maximum at which the blend can be fed steadily and that low-moisture content is not a prerequisite for good briquette strengths. However, it should be noted that the optimum moisture content is expected to be dependent on the nature of the binder being used and would have to be determined for each site-specific set of conditions.

Cure Temperature. The impact of cure temperature was evaluated by curing briquettes for 30, 60, and 120 minutes at either 50 C or at 80 C before crushing (Table 11). For comparison, a set of control briquettes prepared from the same feed blends were cured for two hours at ambient temperatures prior to crushing. Briquette strength following a 30-minute cure at 50 C was similar to that obtained for the control briquettes. Curing for two hours at 50 C resulted in some, but not radical, improve- ments in briquette strengths relative to the control. At 80 C, some improvement was noted after 30 minutes relative to the control but after two hours, these latter briquettes exhibited compressive strengths compa- rable to those of briquettes cured for one week at ambient temperature.

Table 11. Compressive strength (kg f ) as a function of cure temperature and time

 

Binder

Cure

30-min

One-hour Two-hour

Control (2 hr ambient temp strength)

Binder

wt%

temp ( C) strength

strength

strength

Guar gum Wheat starch 6 REAX þ 2 wt% lime Guar gum Wheat starch 6 REAX þ 2 wt% lime

1

50

25.4

30.6

39

24

2.9

50

27.9

29.8

39.7

29.8

4.3

50

26.7

35.8

46.3

24.5

1

80

22.8

40.5

>

100

24

2.9

80

33.5

54

>

100

29.8

4.3

80

27.7

39.5

>

100

24.3

BRIQUETTING OF COAL FINES AND SAWDUST

19

Table 12a. Briquette strengths for various wood species

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Compressive strength (kg f )

Type of wood

SD bulk densities

30 min

1-day

2-day

3-day

Beech

0.797

64

83

> 100

> 100

Ash

0.694

32

37

67

> 100

Maple

0.694

38

49

76

> 100

Hickory

0.900

49

71

91

> 100

Poplar

0.579

37

57

80

> 100

White Oak

0.878

36

61

> 100

> 100

Red Oak

0.893

64

93

> 100

> 100

Willow

0.485

24

23

45

76

Sawdust Type. The relation between briquette strength and the species of tree from which the sawdust was derived was examined using eight different sawdust sources from trees common to eastern Kentucky. Each sawdust was screened to 4.76 mm ( 4 mesh) and briquetted as before using guar gum as the binder (1 wt% ). The compressive strength values obtained from briquettes cured for the time periods of 0.5, 24, 48, and 72 hours are shown in Table 12a. While some differences in strength were anticipated as a function of sawdust type, the magnitude of these differ- ences was surprising. Much higher compressive strengths, particularly at 48- and 72-hour curing times, were obtained with the higher density saw- dust (red oak, beech, white oak, and hickory) relative to the softer and lower density wood types (poplar, willow, ash, and maple) as shown in Figure 3. One concern in attributing the observed differences in strength solely to the sawdust type was that the different tree species likely produced saw- dust with different particle-size distributions due to inherent differences in

Table 12b. Briquette strength for various wood species using equivalent sawdust particle- size distributions

Compressive strength (kg f )

Type of wood

Briquette height (mm)

30-min (kg f )

1-day (kg f )

2-day (kg f )

Beech

24.5

73

83

>100

Poplar

24.9

42

52

65

Red oak

23.0

65

89

>100

Willow

25.1

18

27

45

20

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20 D. TAULBEE ET AL. Downloaded At: 13:37 3 November 2010 Figure 3. The relation between

Figure 3. The relation between sawdust density and the one-day briquette strengths.

hardness. To determine if the observed differences were due to differences in sawdust type instead of sawdust particle size, samples of the two better performing sawdust (red oak and beech) along with two of the lesser

sawdust (red oak and beech) along with two of the lesser Figure 4. Green and one-day

Figure 4. Green and one-day briquette strengths as a function of the fine-coal ash content.

BRIQUETTING OF COAL FINES AND SAWDUST

21

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performers (poplar and willow) were screened to the same six particle-size ranges. Each size range was then recombined at the same ratios to ensure particle-size uniformity with the four reconstituted sawdust used to form briquettes for testing (Table 12b). The red oak and beech sawdust again significantly outperformed the willow and poplar sawdust providing evidence that the differences in performance were related to sawdust type and not differences in particle-size distributions.

Fine-Coal Ash Content. To evaluate the impact of ash content, a sam- ple of relatively high-ash fine coal (14.2 % ) was collected from a commer- cial flotation facility, was split into representative lots and was cleaned by froth flotation under different conditions to obtain samples that varied in ash content (2.78% , 4.66 % , and 10.4 % ). Each of these samples was bri- quetted with 1 % guar gum and subjected to compressive strength, water resistance, and attrition measurements. Briquettes produced with the higher ash samples exhibited better green and one-day strengths (Figure 4) as well as a higher attrition index. While a higher ash content is generally not desired, these data suggest that the briquetting of a higher ash coal might equate to a reduction in binder cost along with a higher weight recovery of fine coal during cleaning.

CONCLUSIONS

The fine waste materials of two industries commonly located within the same proximately can be potentially combined by briquetting to produce a premium utility fuel source. To be commercially successful, the briquettes formed from cleaned fine-coal waste and sawdust must possess sufficient strength to resist breakage during transportation and handling while meeting economical constraints. Over 50 binder reagents were evaluated to identify a binder that economically achieves the desired goal. After determining the most promising binders, other briquetting parameters were evaluated for their effects on compressive strength, attrition, and weatherability. Guar gum, wheat starch, and Reax = lime were identified as the best perform- ing binders for briquetting coal and sawdust when applied on an equivalent-cost basis. The parameters that exhibited the greatest impact on briquette performance were binder concentration; sawdust concentration, particle size, and type; cure temperature; and ash

22

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content. Parameters that had the least impact on briquette properties, at least over the limited ranges studied, were moisture content, bri- quetting force, and briquetting dwell time.

REFERENCES

1. National Research Council, Coal Waste Impoundments: Risks, Responses, and Alternatives, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2002.

2. K. V. S. Sastry, Pelletization of Coal Fines, United States Department of Energy Report No: DOE =PC=89766-T4, 1991.

3. C. A. Holley and J. M. Antonette, Agglomeration of Coal Fines, Proc. of the 15th Biennial Conf. of the Inst. of Briquetting and Agglomeration , Montreal, Canada, Vol. 15, pp. 1–12, 1977.

4. P. Burchill, G. D. Hallam, A. J. Lowe, and N. Moon, Studies of Coals and Binder Systems for Smokeless Fuel Briquettes, Fuel Processing Techn. , Vol. 41, pp. 63–77 (1994).

5. J. T. Cobb and D. J. Akers, Co-Processed Fuel Pellets from Coal, Biomass, and Waste, Prepr.: Div of Fuel Chemistry, Vol. 46, pp. 715–716 (2001).

6. A. Given, Briquetting in the Present Energy Picture, Proc. of a Coal Briquetting Conference, Superior, Wisconsin, August 2–3, 1951.

7. J. W. Davidson and G. W. Kalb, Current Status-Binderless Briquetting of Thermally Dried Coal, Proc. of 23rd Biennial Conf. of the Inst. of Briquetting and Agglomeration , Vol. 23, pp. 51–64, 1993.