DOE/MC/11076--3049 DE92 001130

Preparation For Upgrading Western Subbituminous




R.W. Grimes C.Y. Cha D.C. Sheesley



Work Performed Under Cooperative Agreement: DE-FC21-86MC11076


U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy Morgantown Energy Technology Center Morgantown, West Virginia

By Western Research Institute Laramie, Wyoming M_, S TE _


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DOF_,/MC/11076-3049 DE92001130


For Upgrading




Topical Report

R.W. Grimes C.Y. Cha D.C. Sheesley

Work Performed Under Cooperative Agreement:



U.S. Del_artment of Energy Officq. of Fossil Energy Morgantown Energy Technology Center P.O. Box 880 Morgantown, West Virginia 26507-0880

By Western Research Institute P.O. Box 3395 University Station Laramie, Wyoming 82071

November 1990










v vi vii 1 1 2 5 9 11 12 13 14 14 15 16 18 18 19 19 20 22 26 27 29 31 32 32 33 34 35 36 36 37 38 40


......................................................... SUMMARY ...............................................


..................................................... CHARACTERISTICS and Location by ..................................... ......................................

Quantities Classification

Rank .......................................

Proximate and Ultimate Analyses .............................. Moisture ..................................................... Ash Characteristics .......................................... Fixed Carbon and Volatile Matter ............................. sulfur ....................................................... Heating Value ................................................ Grindability ................................................. Reactivity ................................................... Agglomeration and Weathering ................................. Extraction ................................................... Summary of Western Coal Characteristics ...................... THE U.S. COAL MARKET .............................................

Projected Trends ............................................ Western Subbituminous Coal Markets .......................... Coal Specifications for Electric Utilities ................... Criteria COAL for Upgrading Western Subbituminous Coal ............



Economics of Coal Preparation ................................ Essential Coal Preparation ................................... Comminution ............................................. Sizing .................................................. Storage and Disposal of Beneficiation Physical Gravity Handling .................................... Refuse from Coal Beneficiation .............. ........................................... .................................... .....................................


Separations Separations

Separations Using Surface Properties .................... Magnetic Separations ....................................


............. SOURCES iv ..... Developmental Drying Technologies ....................... BEST TECHNOLOGIES AREAS TO FOR UPGRADE FURTHER WESTERN RESEARCH COAL ........................................ .............................................. CITED ....... 41 43 44 45 48 52 56 57 59 62 62 63 66 Mechanical Dewatering ............................................ Existing Thermal Drying Processes ............ ................ Briquetting and Pelletizing ...................................... RECOMMENDED ACKNOWLEDGMENT DISCLAIMER REFERENCES ADDITIONAL .......... OF INFORMATION ................................................... Reduction ....................................................................................... Thermal Drying ...................................TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued) Chemical Moisture Coal Cleaning .....................

.............. ASTM 2................... Utilities Coal .........M................... 3..... Coal and Coal Specifications Thermal-Dried Specifications Eastern River Eastern Powder for an Basin Utility 58 Figure 1............ Coal by Rank .............. Classification and OF TABLES AND FIGURES by Rank . 6....... Demonstrated Coal Reserve Base for Base 4 8 Coal 3 Distribution by Western Demonstrated Reserve State ..... 3.. Western 2............. Variability of Volatile Matter Markets for 17 24 25 47 5....... Western 4................. with Ultimate of Ash Analysis Selected Some ...... 6 10 12 27 Proximate Mineral 1982 R..... Coal ........... 4... 5... ................................. the Hardgrove Grindability Index with Content (Rank) .....O..................... Portion of of U. Coal ........................S..... ...... Wyoming of Distribution Typical Drying Wyoming Curve . 7................................. Analyses of of of Selected Coals Coals .....LIST Table 1......

clean. susceptibility ignition. Wyoming. and high susceptibility to key areas requiring further research. of equilibrium under various moisture ambient Improved testing methods for the determination and susceptibility to spontaneous ignition conditions are recommended. vi .ABSTRACT The chemical objective of this characteristics project was of western to establish the physical coal and determine the and best preparation technologies for upgrading this resource. and (4) identification of research needed to develop the best technologies for upgrading western coals. (3) selection of the best technologies to upgrade western coal. The project scope of work required the completion of four tasks: (I) project planning. easily mineable. characterized as an abundant.S. Excessive particle-size degradation and resulting spontaneous dustiness. Department of Energy (DOE). moisture combustion are reabsorption. Project support was provided by the Morgantown Energy Technology Center (METC) of the U. (WRI) in Laramie. and considerable transit distances from major Western coal was low-sulfur coal to spontaneous markets. The results of this research suggest that thermal drying is the best technology for upgrading western coals. The research was conducted by the Western Research Institute. (2) literature searches and verbal contacts with consumers and producers of western coal. There is a significant need for further research in areas involving physical and chemical stabilization of the dried coal product. with low heating value. high moisture.

reserve. Nearly one-half of the demonstrated reserve base of U. Nearly all of the subbituminous coal in the United States is found in the western region. western coal can clearly be characterized as low-rank. coals Coal low-rank of all coals ranks is dominate in the western region. with sulfur In contrast to eastern and midwestern content typically less coals. A high moisture content of from 12 to 30% is largely responsible for the low heating value and accounts for many of the handling. Subbituminous account for about 181 billion tons. leading to problems with excessive dustiness and loss of product from storage piles. Nearly 80% of the total western demonstrated reserve lies in the states of Montana and Wyoming. Ash quantities are low (generally less than 10% I with softening temperatures of around 2200°F (12000C). coal is low-sulfur coal. Typical western coals are more reactive to oxygen and tend to be more susceptible to spontaneous ignition than eastern coals. particularly those that reduce inorganic sulfur. produce a coal with little costs. low heating high transportation costs limit its market. however.000 Btu/lb. Project support was provided by the Morgantown Energy Technology Center (METC). However. are of little value to the typical western vii .7 billion tons of bituminous coal. From the standpoint of reserve tonnage and production. much of which is located in the Powder River Basin. and the work was done at the Western Research Institute (WRI) in Laramie. The objective of this work is to identify advanced processes for beneficiation of western coals for the purpose of improving the market potential of these fuels.300 to 10. high moisture. and combustion problems commonly associated with this resource. typically high in alkalis. coal lies in the western coal-producing region.3 billion tons of lignite and 24. and that only coal. of the western reserve base. much of the than sulfur in western coal (around 66% I is in the organic form.6%. Western coal is in many states where it power generation.EXECUTIVE Sufficient quantities of clean SUMNART western coal are available to meet the energy demands of the United States for many decades. however.S. storage. Wyoming. typically transported by unit train to markets is primarily used as a steam coal for electric _leanliness and low-sulfur content of western fuel for many utilities. or nearly 76. Western 1%. The majority of western coal production Thick seams and surface mining techniques extraneous dilution and minimum extraction comes from surface mines. energy picture. mainly subbituminous coalo The typical western coal has a low heating value ranging from about 6.S. The huge reserves of lowsulfur subbituminous coal in thick surface-mineable seams make the Powder River Basin extremely important represented the western in the U. the use of western coal is not without problems. The western reserve also includes about 30. Western coals tend to weather or "slack" upon exposure to air. Preparation techniques reduce mineral matter and sulfur. The coal make it a desirable value. Western coal ash is a lignite-type ash.

Thermal drying special problems. particularly stabilization of dried western coal. Typical thermal dryers. can solve some important by modern mining and viii . and the dried coal they produce will reabsorb moisture to near its predried level upon exposure to high humidity. Careful preparation development: • review has led of the to the available following literature on western for coal and coal and recommendations research Of greatest development large coal significance to the upgrading and demonstration of a drying particles to low moisture while of western technology maintaining coal is the that can dry particle size and integrity. is an area requiring further research. problems preparation transportation of coal fines more fine coal is generated practices. using heated air as the drying media. combustion characteristics of preparation technology for making it resource. this by thermal drying value. are highly susceptible to fires and explosions at high temperatures. value expanding • A method of determining equilibrium moisture that will accurately assess the moisture content one can _xpect of a given coal under specific ambient conditions will be of great value to the western coal industry as the use of thermal drying increases. • The establishment susceptibility of various ambient the marketability a of a given procedure that coal to spontaneous of significant can quantify combustion in the under conditions will be of westerr_ coal. Particle-size degradation dustiness are major problems with current solution of these problems will represent coal technology. storage. • and the resulting product drying technologies. of large tonnages Western coal moisture of western coal presents some is typically inherent moisture that requires high particle temperatures for removal. The a major advance in western Stabilization of western coal. Research handling. and improve the most can many viable decrease transportation costs. Development of a product stabilization process that reduces loss to dusting and decreases liability to spontaneous combustion will greatly benefit the resource. Development coal of methods to better into use the coal fines will benefit the and as • industry.Moisture increase western upgrading reduction heating coal.

It looked as though the abundant and economical uupply of petroleum with its ease of handling and variety of refined products would soon replace coal as a fuel in all but the iron and steel industries. WESTERN Nearly producing toward basic limit one-half region. It was not until the 1970s when the limited nature of the petroleum reserve became evident coal to fulfill our growing energy The currently known and that we demands. Huge western western heating reserves states. energy needs economic and the surface in combine to make but low western coal America's value and high least expensive transportation at the source. political conditions. overemphasized. and awareness. illuminated heated their the significance It was coal that the homes of cities.S. of subbituminous Thick seams and coal shallow lie close overburden energy costs to next century. and provided the gas the source of coke that fired the iron and blast furnaces from which the and reduced machinery of the iron ore. coal coal can reserves make a lie in the western coal- Western significant however. Coal was converted to liquid fuels. States. efforts toward energy independence. tend to offset coal's low mine-mouth price. Coal of coal as a fuel source fired the boilers of the cannot be industrial that the steel the was people. The restricts industrial in the helped coals of little value in limited industrial base in the use of these coals. Western where oxides coals have found acceptance their low sulfur content has emissions restrictions.S. creating the day was constructed. upon which much of the German army relied during World War II. and its Typical western standard metallurgical western United States coals are noncaking applications. The development of appropriate preparation technologies to upgrade western coals will help the U. eastern contribution significant counterpart energy independence differences between its acceptability in for the United this resource some markets. began to look once again to accessible reserves of western coal are sufficient to meet our energy requirements well into the The role that western coals will play in meeting future will be determined by many factors including environmental. The end of petroleum as the the second major world source war saw a shift of the world's away from coal toward fuel and chemical feedstocks. of the COAL CHARACTERISTICS U.XNTRODUCTION Historically. revolution. the tars and pitches sealed the ships of transoceanic commerce. electric utilities industry many generators meet sulfur . The byproducts of coking and gasification were the raw materials of a newly forming organic chemicals industry.

S. In 1982. New Mexico. Wyoming. No other states in the western region have a demonstrated reserve in excess of ten thousand million coal by tons. For the purpose of this report. is third with regard to demonstrated reserve in the western region. Washington. South Dakota.700 million tons. This reserve plays a very significant role in determining the characteristics of western coal.670 million tons.guantities Coal and Location and reserves are defined in a manner similar to that resources used for other minerals.000 million tons (80.200 millions tons. of the national Colorado. Figure 2 graphically depicts the distribution of western The Powder River Coal Basin in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana represents the largest known single body of energy in the world today and the lowest cost energy. the demonstrated reserve totaled some 236. Colorado. Department of Energy States demonstrated reserve base for coal into interior. Oregon. however. and western). at the source. and that demonstrate a high degree of geologic certainty (EPRI 1980). U.300 million tons followed by Wyoming with 69. lists western coals as that portion in the states of Alaska. Reserves are a subset of resources than can be mined at the time of the estimate. resource Montana. coal resource reserve base. The hypothetical resource for Alaska at greater than 5. The pie chart in Figure 1 illustrates the significance of the western DOE occurring portion of the U. based on current economic and technological feasibility. The importance of this reserve with regard to the United States energy picture cannot be overemphasized.3% of the total) is located in just two states.S. it deposits should be of coal are found in all noted that of the 236. Resources generally refer to the quantity of coal in the ground in such concentrations that economic extraction is currently feasible or may be feasible in the near future. Arizona. which is more resource in 1972 for the entire United States Mineable however. minimum seam thickness and lower maximum seam Administration. 2 i .6 trillion tons. The Energy (DOE). Montana holds the greatest portion of the reserve with 120. with 17. the many times estimated identified 1987). Utah. 190. and base for these states actual resource will be alone is than the (Keystone this figure. Reserves generally exhibit a higher depth than do resources. western demonstrated reserve. divides three regions Information the United (Appalachian. Idaho. North Dakota. on a Btu basis. state.700 of the million western tons of states. we will define western coal as coal occurring in the western region as designated by the DOE demonstrated reserve-base figures.

1illion B Tons INTERIORCOAL 1. Demonstrated Reserve Base for Coal .1Billion Tons Figure I.K 3< 3_ rp fJ K WESTERNCOAL 236.7 Billion Tons APPALACHIAN COAL 111.S.55. Western Portion of U.

Distribution of Western Coal Demonstrated Reserve Base by State .120 100 -41-- rO ro ! em 80 ..Q t_ :_ so 13:: "0 m o 40 E 20 0 Fi_Jre 2.

Across the western region. fixed carbon. or about 10 percent of the national reserve of bituminous coal. Volatile matter. whereas younger coals are classified according to heat value on a moist. mineral-matter-free basis. Many of these coals are well represented in other areas of the country. is mineable only by Nearly 90% underground 5 . Classification by rank is useful for determining the value of coal for a given application. The value ASTM classification by rank is based calculated on a mineral-matter-free according to amount of fixed carbon on fixed basis. on carbon Older and caloric coals are classified a dry. Bituminous coals represent about 50% and 100% of these state's of the western methods. Coal begins this metamorphosis as vegetable matter and ends as essentially pure carbon. they are widely distributed throughout the region and are of considerable significance in the states of Colorado and Utah. The of coal in the western as they relative with portion significance area. Generally. anthracite of little significance for determining the characteristics western coal reserve.740 million tons. respectively. and oxygen are all indicative of rank. Although bituminous coals represent only a small portion of the western reserve.012 percent of of the national the reserve anthracite region. whereas lignites are younger. but no one item completely defines it. considered and have been successfully for the purpose of this further. when located in the West. from a purely quantitative standpoint. anthracite will not be Demonstrated coal in the western area total some 24. This represents about 10. coals are of the are well reserve of of western reserve. to what portion of the actual coal production demonstrated reserve base and what each represents. anthracites are older coals.8 million tons are Mexico. The demonstrated 0. In an effort to characterize the western relate regard of the coal reserve. coals ranging in rank from anthracite to lignite are represented. It is also useful for specifying and selecting burning and handling equipment. inherent bed moisture. reserves of bituminous employed for nearly a century. The rank of the intended fuel is important in the design and arrangement of heat transfer surfaces within boilers. 1982 demonstrated reserve reserve bituminous coal base. mineral-matter- free basis. the bulk of which is located in the Appalachian Obviously. Specifications used to classify coal by rank are listed in Table 1. totalling and New only about 0. having been successfully beneficiated and used for over a century. report.Classification by Rank rank is to their essentially degree of a process metamorphism whereby coals are in the natural Classification by grouped with respect series from lignite to anthracite. These coals. will be considered.4 percent found Small in reserves of anthracite the states of Colorado anthracite coal and represents only about about 27. share some of the problems associated with the lower rank coals. to occurrences of the the uniqueness in the West various ranks of various coal properties will be examined.5 percent of the western demonstrated coal reserve. whach are more characteristic of the area. Anthracite preparation techniques established therefore.

6 .

There is no market available to the north in is Canada or available to the west in Montana where (Keystone 1987). and a tendency to decompose upon exposure. It is also significant to note that nearly all of the national reserve of subbituminous coal is located in the western region. The relative decrease in transport costs must increased preparation costs. but each is benefited by low extraction costs and low sulfur content. The most significant problem shared by bituminous and lower ranked coals of the region is their distance from the major coal markets. dewatering) being applicable to both. with the most common bituminous preparation techniques (sizing. The 1982 demonstrated r_serve of subbituminous coal in the western region was given at 181. nearly 77% of the total western coal reserve.The bituminous coals of the West are very similar to their eastern counterparts.650 million tons. It is not possible generalized preparation scheme for western bituminous Subbituminous coals constitute the vast majority be weighed against to establish a coals. The western region accounts for lignite reserve with the bulk of the remainder Lignites subbituminous value than the western share many of the same problems lignite in the western represent about 12. The degree of preparation to which bituminous coals are subjected is generally determined by the ash content from a given mine and the use to which the coal is put. Preparations subbituminous coals that may in competition coals of the enhance the competitive be applicable to lignites. Western lignites may require additional preparation in order to decrease sodium content that leads to excessive ash fouling and slagging problems in boilers.8% of in Montana. with the western associated coals. with the identified resource following the same trend. Colorado. washing. The subbituminous pie coal chart in Figure 3 illustrates in the western reserve. the significance of There were about 30. Nearly all the region has been in North Dakota with and of lower heating lignite production in about 26 million tons mined in 1985.250 million tons of demonstrated reserve base in 1982. value This is of western because each suffer from high moisture content. They are higher in moisture subbituminous coals. Markets to lignite the east of the same character and south are limited with eastern midwestern and by transportation costs on a per-Btu basis bituminouo coal and all rail-transported western coal fields. It is quite obvious that the dominating rank for the western region is subbituminous. Transport distance is a factor that commonly favors a greater degree of beneficiation. and generalizations about cleaning are inherently inaccurate. The demonstrated reserve base for Alaskan coal is mainly subbituminous in rank. low heat value. Lignite development has been limited to strip mining only those reserves with thin overburdens located close to power plants designed to use lignite fuel. . Coal upgrading decisions for bituminous coals are site specific. and about 67% of the national located in Texas. of the demonstrated reserve base and production for the western region. Lignites the western reserve with extensive occurrence North Dakota. but this determination must be made on an individual-case basis.

7 Billion Tons Figure 3.7 Billion Tons BITUMINOUS 24.LIGNITE :50. Western Coal by Rank .3 Billion Tons SUBBITUMINOUS 181.

500 and 8. volatile matter.500 B. when mineral-matter-free basis. has also by For comparison. and ash and the calculation of fixed carbon by difference on an as-received basis. in Table however.300 Btu/ib. to 11. sulfur. as low-rank coals dominated lignite reserves in a lower this report. hydrogen. however.On the basis of quantities available western coals can generally be characterized by subbituminous coals with considerable state of development. lignitic and subbituminous individual evaluation of coals may preparation preparation is appropriate by the final value of the This is an area where necessitating diverge substantially technologies. the taken accounts same on a for The composition of the fixed carbon is essentially throughout the various ranks of coal. The heating bears a direct relation to the properties perhaps its most important property as far The volatile dioxide and. therefore.500 Lignites to 9. respectively.300 divided into two groups three groups.300 and lignite B has heat values less than 6. it is the volatile matter that the differences between ranks. Subbituminous and Both are basis: lignite A has heat values that range from 6. western coal is coal coals preparation may also be coal. on a moist. particularly a strong tendency to disintegrate upon under alternating wet and dry conditions. as determined by current production levels. that can They be 2 are chosen no means definitive of in an effort to select considered as representative of the most exploitable reserve. been included. lignite coals are characteristically nonagglomerating. a high-volatile bituminous The three western coals western coals coals. Table 2 lists the proximate and ultimate analyses of three selected western subbituminous coal from Illinois listed were. heating values of 10. two different analyses (proximate and ultimate) are used for reporting the constituents of coal.500 Btu/ib. portion of the The potential coals was also . exhibiting air. for and economic significance. low in value of the volatile matter of the pure coal and is as combustion is concerned. in water (Babcock and and carbon Wilcox coals is high heating value Ultimate Analyses Customarily. By definition. weathering exposure to coals. mineral-matter-free 9. The ultimate analysis includes the determination of the weight percent of carbon. and Subbituminous coal is divided into C. the proximate analysis includes the determination of moisture. coals. with moist. designated A. nitrogen. subbituminous The ultimate decision as to what level of in a given instance will be influenced greatly product as it relates to potential markets. economic benefit of preparation with regard to these considered.500 are to 10.300 Btu/lb. 1972). mineral-matter-free to 8. and ash with the estimation of oxygen by difference for a dried coal sample (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). ASTM D 271 gives the standard laboratory procedures for making these analyses. Proximate and matter in lower rank consequently. For the purpose of considered technologies applicable to to be subbituminous that work well lignites.

tons County.2 4. feet thick and is surface It has been estimated that of strippable coal at a depths single 15 billion to 200 feet.2 dry basis 64.3 8. The Nenana Usibelli coal mine is Basin is strip mined. 6 Proximate.730 11.5 1. however. seams of the Powder River Basin.9 10. Wyodak-Anderson continuous coal bed anywhere The Big Rosebud Sky mine and McKay contains the largest tonnage in in the United States (EPRI 1980). Great this is Plains Province designated by the U. its great reserves and unique situation with regard to market locations and market potential make Alaskan coals prime candidates for upgrading.36 26. located near Healy.9 0.0 36.91 28.4 33. mining occurs in The Powder River (Keystone some 800 Basin accounts for over 90% of Montana's total coal 1987). Northern Wyoming. Transportation costs will be so large a part of the that only premium fuels will be competitive in these i0 . wt Carbon Hydrogen Nitrogen Sulfur Oxygen Ash Heating Value.5 5.747 Btu/ib part The Eagle of the Butte Powder mine is River located in Campbell Coal Basin in the Geological coal from 50 to 100 120 miles. Montana.7 29.84 4. Coal is shipped from the Big Sky mine by miles to power plants in Minnesota.00 Btu/ib Heating received 8.9 14. Eagle Butte mine is strip mining This massive seam is generally mineable over a distance of about the seam contains at least Survey (Glass 1983).470 11.9 0.2 0.1 0.4 6.5 61.540 11.600 Value.7 8.6 68.1 4. as % on received 30. Alaska has seen production unit train Alaska. The the Wyodak-Anderson seam. wt % as Volatile matter Fixed Carbon Ash Moisture Ultimate.07 11.508 12.84 1.170 8.9 35. coal only limited of the coal production. Proximate and Ultimate Eagle Butte Analyses Big Sky of melected Usibelli Coals Illinois No.2 0.2 21. the is located at Colstrip.4 32.Table Analyses 2.S.3 26. dry basis 11.6 19. Both uses involve transportation over considerable distances.58 47.7 5.6 34.6 70. and both represent _ignificant new markets.6 10.13 7.84 9.680 8. dollar increasing and new demand for low-sulfur coals are in the Pacific Rim increasing industrialization markets that Alaskan coals in Alaska are creating in the best position to total energy markets. The countries tremendous serve.58 10. Alaskan coals are currently either consumed in-state or exported to Korea.38 3.

Moisture is same rate per ton as the coal. 11 . An of western average of and eastern samples from percent by Montana ranges 212 locations (Gronhovd shows that the et al.2 between of 20-30% lignites on Moisture content coals. the importance factor can be readily seen. Increased water levels in the exhaust gas necessitate higher gas exit temperatures to prevent sulfuric acid condensate from forming in the air heater. bins. North lignite ranges Dakota mine is 37. With transportation costs use-limiting factor for western coal. High moisture content is responsible many handling problems such as freezing in rail cars and impeding flow in conveyor systems. fixed coals clearly heating value. suffer and from between sulfur a high western content. coals an from asthe region Union region 30-45%. Leonard and Mitchell (1968) another way. Heat is wasted in evaporating and raising the temperature of the water to the _xit gas temperature. "It is estimated that for each percent moisture or five the power plant capacity drops about 1000 kW. chutes.Table and The eastern western 2 shows that the most significant differences carbon. and state over this four transportation costs boiler components and be adversely affected forced-draft fans.1%. moisture coals are in subbituminous moisture. which depresses the lower sulfur level compared that on a dry basis the of this midwestern coal. High moisture content necessitates drying in the mills for pulverization. High western at the primary as-received moisture weight moisture content is a very significant characteristic of shipped being a of this for the coal that affects many aspects of its use. with Illinois value of content. Moisture in coal represents a noncombustible constituent of the boiler fuel at the power plant. A decrease of 1% of total coal moisture increases thermal efficiency by about 0. Components that can include pulverizers. Moisture but are benefited by a much No. 6 coal. air heaters. 1982) and maximunt pulverizer outlet temperature." Thus. Pulverizer capacity decreases as m_isture content increases. high moisture in coal not only affects but also can have detrimental effects on various overall boiler efficiency. Boilers operating on high-moisture coals require more pulverizer capacity per Btu than those burning low-moisture bituminous coals. It can be seen western coals approaches that heating Western subbituminous Moisture content of the of the Green basis River received Fort from (Keystone and lignite coals are high-moisture Powder River Basin coals and subbituminous generally 1987). by the capacity of the hot-air source high primary Pulverizer (Gronhovd et air temperatures for throughput is limited al. 1982). and feeders. downspouts.

50 0. % dry SiO 2 AI203 TiO 2 Fe203 CaO MgO Na20 K20 SO 3 basis 6.66 1.61 16. Ash content and composition can vary widely different parts of the country.23 20. The as representative analyses in of a typical Table 3 western in no because high degree of variability in coal noted earlier. Coals their than are classified into ashes. 1982).94 1.78 20.Ash Characteristics coal known Another factor of great importance in determining the use of a given is the quantity and composition of combustion residues broadly as ash. The slagging (depositing of slag through formation of a molten phase on furnace walls) and fouling (formation of deposits on tubes in gas passages) characteristics of coal ash are of major concern to boiler designers and operators. and even from the same mine. Bituminous-type CaO plus MgO. parts of the same seam.77 0 Ash.81 7.64 38.S.54 0.07 12 . western Fe203 Lignite-type and cao plus coal are Fe203 (Babcock lignite type.40 3.6 23. from different seams. Ash fouling of the heat transfer surfaces is the most serious operating problem of boilers fired on low-rank western U. Table 3.87 0.0 3.75 1.9 47.13 5.52 17.12 23.0 1. these problems and are not specific to Table featured construed 3 lists the al.60 23. mineral analyses of ash from should coal the four coals way be of the are the in Table 2.0 14.75 3. have been mitigated by improved boiler designs western coal combustion. Corrosion and erosion of superheater also attributable to various ash properties.02 0. Ash is derived from the mineral matter associated with plants and from inorganic constituents that are added to following coal among coals from from different coal-forming the coal deposits from outside sources during or formation.0 10. These analyses included only as an example to illustrate the variability of ash and difference between bituminous and lignite-type ashes.36 1. coals (Gronhovd et and reheater tubes is However. 6 11.97 0. MgO than typically two groups ash is ash Wilcox of according to the constituents defined as an ash having more is defined as The ash ashes having of more 1972). Mineral Analyses of Ash of Selected Coals Eagle Butte Usibelli Illinois No.0 5.

Washing with hard water significantly reduced the sintered strength of the fly ash and. and sodium. the coal Alkali 0.4% were fouling. and coal into classified above 0. volatile matter plus (Lowry 1945).Research into the fouling properties of various coals has been carried out for many years. the sintered strength fouling tendency (Babcock and Wilcox the ash react with sulfur dioxide. take place at a relatively low of the ash remains icw regardless of 1972). thus. Ash fusion temperatures bituminous coals. Research conducted by the Babcock and Wilcox Company prior to 1955 indicated that the sintered strength of the ash deposit is of prime concern. K20 ) shows that. it is the variability of the volatile matter that accounts for the differences constituents volatile between pure coals. When products. The sulfate bond sintered strength of the ash. is probably responsible for the low Western calcium. Na20 . whereas the ash fusion temperature bears little relation to the tendency to form bonded deposits. Thus. levels of coal ash alkali content such is in are as coals characteristically contain high magnesium.6% for dividing than 0. reduced fouling (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). which corresponds well with vaporized sodium in combustion. which was included in alkali fouling indices.6% three as low _s high between as medium Extensive testing with a wide variety of domestic and foreign coals demonstrated that sodium is the most important single factor affecting ash fouling.4% as a criterion contents less and 0. They determined that high coal-alkali content could be associated with high strength fly ash. Western typically between 4 and 10 percent. Water-soluble sodium. the volatile matter is defined as the other than moisture. according classifying coal by rank. equals On the dry 100 percent minus the ash that is obtained in the ash-free basis. A fouling index was established using total alkali content in categories. Fixed carbon is the solid residue same heating fixed carbon process. The alkali constituents of forming sulfates. the to be concentrated variable in the matter 13 . another way. fouling. MgO. Potassium. has a major effect on the sintered strength of the ash. Testing of several with ash of high alkali content although fly ash sintering may temperature. given off when the coal is heated to the prescribed method. has no perceptible effect on ash sintered strength. Though sodium is an important factor in determining the fouling likely from a particular coal. when taken on a pure coal basis (moisture and mineral-matter free). degree of mitigated lignites (CaO. western coal ashes than in eastern similar to those of highvolatile Fixed Carbon and Volatile Matter Iron oxides are generally lower ashes. Stated of coals can be considered (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). fouling. its effects tend to be by high levels of calcium and magnesium. Fixed carbon is assumed to have a constant calorific value per unit (Lowry 1945) that is not affected by the rank of the parent coal.

concern over sulfur emissions was a major factor in the 1970s. In studies of Wyoming's lower sulfur coals. however. For a typical coal produced in Wyoming. its most important property as far as combustion is concerned. is most intportant in determining its value as a fuel. The heating value of a ccai is a direct measure of its energy value and. Indeed. some coals of relatively high sulfur content are known in the state (Keystone 1987). and the organic form averages less than 0. compared with the percentage of organic sulfur in western coals. The heating value of the volatile matter is. Pyritic sulfur (FeS2) is the form most easily extracted by conventional cleaning methods because it has a much higher specific gravity (4. Organic sulfur is chemically bound to the coal and. lower in heating value compared with higher rank coals. Heatinq By Value far the most important use of western coals is direct combustion producing steam for electric power generation. The volatile matter of low-rank coals is relatively high in water and carbon dioxide and.47% (70-72% of the total sulfur). consequently.89-5. the volatile western low-rank coals is generally higher in oxygen content has not mat_ of than that of the higher rank coals. Sulfate sulfur. and both Published analyses of Wyoming coals (as an example) generally highlight the lower sulfur coals. perhaps.2% (25-29% of the total sulfur). as such.8). Sulfur The quantity of sulfur in fuel has become more important to operators of boilers and power plants because of increasing concerns over sulfur dioxide emissions.Since the conversion of carbohydrates to hydrocarbons progressed as far as in the higher rank coals. Heating value bears a direct relationship to the properties of the pure coal from which it was derived. 6 coal can remove as much as 60% of the total sulfur. thus. A similar cleaning of Illinois No. cannot be removed by physical methods. The highin the phenomenal growth of the western coal industry sulfur content and low-sulfur of western coals occur coals is throughout quite the variable. Heating values are determined in the laboratory using an oxygen bomb calorimeter under specified conditions.03% (3-5% of the total sulfur). which are relatively high in hydrocarbons such as methane (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). is commonly only of minor importance. for example. Selective mining of lower sulfur coals in Wyoming results in an average of about 0. the pyritic form averages less than 0. The low percentage of pyritic sulfur. the sulfate form of sulfur averages less than 0.2-1. makes conventional cleaning methods used on eastern bituminous coals of little value for reducing sulfur in western coals. or that portion of the total sulfur that can be extracted by treatment with hydrochloric acid. region. total removal of all pyritic sulfur will result in only a 30% reduction in total sulfur (Glass 1982). 14 .5% sulfur for mined coals with sulfur rarely exceeding 1% on an as-received basis.03) than coal (1.

The coal is ground into fine particles. However. will suffer a 20% Hardgrove grindability capacity reduction when grinding a index of 40 (Babcock and Wilcox 15 . ASTM Standard D the grindability whereas numbers 409 describes the index of a given above method 100 of coal.500 Btu/lh for the subbituminous than 8. For to generate a ground coal. In order to handle the increased fuel volume. liquid water.020 Btu/lh of moisture derived from the unit quantity of fuel. 70% of which sieve when grinding a coal of 50 example. and completely combusted with a minimum of excess air. Heating values of the low-rank coals. by between 8. giving a numerical value that may be used to compare the relative ease of grinding various coals (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). Grindability values below 100 indicate a coal that is more difficult indicate easier testing used to to grind grinding. the number designed a 200-mesh a and capacity of the pulverizers. and examples of both low and high heating value coals available. transported to the burner in a stream of air. States for reporting in units of Btu/lh the pound being the gross (high) heating analyses and the with the standard value is comparison coal Western coals generally exhibit low heating values commensurate their typical low rank. The Hardgrove grindability index compares a sample to a standard coal chosen as 100 grindability. Net (low) heating value is calculated from the gross heating value by deducting 1. and gaseous CO2. and a larger furnace is required to a given energy output. Both the moisture that results as a combustion product and the moisture that was originally and Wilcox present 1972). Significantly greater quantities of fuel are required for a given steam or electric power production rate when using a low-heat-value fuel. The used in the of different United coals. required (Gronhovd et al. determine than the standard.300 and 11. The grindability index of the coal is a factor used to determine pulverizer through grindability coal with 1972). products ash. range coals and less The typically low heating values of western coals have a significant effect on the design and operation of combustion equipment. Eusentially all ancillary process must be increased in size to handle the increased volume of boilers designed for the to use of low-rank coals. with the are definition. use of highera significant 1982). heat values vary widely throughout region. their respective streams. The majority of western coal is burned in pulverized-coal-fired (pc) furnaces.300 Btu/lh for lignites. and N 2. SO2. in the fuel are included in the deduction (Babcock The heat value of a fuel is expressed Btu being the standard unit of heat and unit of mass in the English system. the number and size of pulverizer maintain equipment mills must be increased. If heat-value fuel are converted derating of output is commonly Grindability Grindability is a term used to express the ease of pulverizing a coal. a will pass Hardgrove index.Gross combustion (high) of heating value of is defined The as the heat are released in the from form of a unit quantity fuel.

more reactive coal (Gronhovd et al. A fair. are more difficult to grind than eastern bituminous coals. although not precise. This. This increase in reactivity can be explained. Low-rank more reactive in gasification reactions. Generally. Low-rank toward product degradation due with bituminous coal. 1982). The higher reactivity of western coals allows coarser a greater creates a grind from pulverizers (compared complete carbon burnout coals are also direct ignition in pulverized coals are also The because delivery. Hardgrove test data are markedly affected by the temperature and moisture content of the sample. Deformed small particles adhere strongly to each other forming aggregates that contribute to the progressive decrease in Hardgrove grindability as carbon content decreases below about 85% (Berkowitz 1979). as such.The feed coal properties that most significantly affect grindability are moisture content and Hardgrove grindability index. whereas low-volatile bituminous coals grind most easily. Anthracites and lignites are the most difficult coals to grind. More reactive easier to systems. as concerns combustion. spontaneous coals also to oxidation heating during exhibit a greater during storage 16 . tendency compared higher with bituminous in pulverized coals) combustion while still maintaining systems. in part. Combustion heat causes a dissociation of the oxygen from the organic matrix leaving reactive sites for combustion. Even the modified procedure has proved inaccurate for some 1ignites. Higher levels of organically bound oxygen create number of such reactive sites. correlation exists between coal rank and grindability. western coals are low-rank coals and. combustion generally reactivity ignite than bituminous coals leading to work on This may eliminate the need for oil ignition with consequent fuel oil savings. and handling. of western coals also has a negative side it is a significant factor in storage. so much so that a modified ASTM D 409 procedure is used for low-rank coals. Plastic deformation of small particles may also influence Hardgrove test data. The modified procedure determines grindability at several moisture levels. by the higher level of organically bound oxygen and increased internal surface area typical of lower rank coals. High moisture content of the pulverizer feed greatly decreases pulverizer capacity. Reactivity Low-rank coals tend to be more reactive than higher rank coals. Figure 4 depicts the variation in Hardgrove grindability index as a function of volatile matter and rank (Berkowitz 1979).

wt % (daf) Figure 4. Variability of Hatter Content the Hardgrove (Rank) Grindability index with Volatile 17 .'ile Matter.120 - 100 X "0 m = 80- 0 L_ a) "0 L_ 0 60 - ":::: V///_ -r40 20 0 I 10 I 20 I 30 I 40 I 50 Vola.

This portion of the resource is interest because virtually all low-rank currently produced in the United States is surface mined (Gronhovd et al. typically low-rank nonagglomerating area-to-mass ratio does not agglomeration) coarser grind low-rank coals The tendency as it does is usable in (Gronhovd et for a coal the surface particle with agglomerating pulverized combustion al. and finally resolidify into a more or less distended cellular mass when heated. particularly when alternately wetted and dried or subjected to hot sunshine. step in the use of any The identified resource coal is mining or of U. Western tend coals. decrease (due coals.Agglooeration and Weatherinq Certain bituminous coals pass through a transient plastic state in which they soften. a when burning exposure to weather. Although the properties mining operation (aside extraction possible). and bituminous coals are only mildly affected by weathering (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). 1982). to disintegrate upon Therefore. and reserve immediate approximately 10% of this is classified base. Increased care must be used in dust control at facilities using and storing low-rank coals. Coals that do not become plastic upon heating form a weakly coherent or noncoherent mass known as char when heated and are referred to as noncaking coals (Berkowitz 1979).S. swell. systems heated coals to and. This property is referred to as caking or agglomerating and is of prime importance in the production of metallurgical coke. Lignites slack very readily. to When combusted. subbituminous coals slack to some extent but less than lignites. Extraction The first ground. Surface mined coals are generally cleaner. 1982}. _Q . The slacking tendency of low-rank coals can be advantageous in pulverized combustion systems where partial drying in or before the mills increases grindability of the coal with a consequent increase in pulverizer capacity. contain less debris from the mining operation and fewer inclusions noncoal mineral matter than coals extracted from underground mines. The potential surface weathering character of low-rank coals tends to increase fugitive-dust emission problems and product degradation via oxidation due to continual formation of new surface area. Low-rank coals do not tend do to not go through a plastic stage when form an agglomerated mass. low-cost extraction method to be competitive with higher rank coals that are located closer to the markets. low-rank extraction coal is from over 1 as of the the coal the trillion strippable greatest tons. are thus. The low heating value and long transportation distances associated with western coals necessitate a highly efficient. the of low-rank coals from necessitating mining operation have little effect on the the most economical does contribute to the they of properties of the coal. is referred to as weathering or slacking.

coking coal. Independent power producers and cogenerators are beginning to account for a greater share of the industrial coal market.S. . and textile industries. Coal increased share of in 1987. Retail sales of coal for residential and commercial space heating have declined to a level between 6. In the United States.S. and many kilns were converted to coal firing in the last decade. and export coal. Summary • • • • • • • • • • • • • • of Western Coal Characteristics also increase contamination the from are largely subbituminous the eastern responsible for coal production bituminous coal Mainly subbituminous and lignite (low rank) Low heating value (6.5 million tons per year where they have remained since 1975. Coal use for home heating has declined leaving boilers in large commercial and government buildings as the primary consumer in this market area• In 1987. coal is used to generate process steam and heat in many mineral-related industries and in the chemical. Minimal the mining process and geologic conditions the fact that almost none of the western requires washing. fertilizer. consumption 1ast utilities by the using consumed electric an ever about 718 utilities increasing steadily through the the domestic production.300-10. Large quantities of coal are used by the cement industry. coal production in 1987. the industrial sector consumed domestic about 82 million consumption or tons of coal• This accounts for nearly about 9% of the coal produced in the 10% of United States• The production of metallurgical coke and its portion of U. food. coal consumption has been declining for quite some time• In the period between 1980 and 1987. coal market can be conveniently divided into four sectors: electric utilities. industrial/retail. which consumed about 78% of total U. million tons of coal.000 Btu/lb) High moisture (12-30%) Low sulfur (typically less than 1%) Most sulfur as organic sulfur Lignite-type ash containing high levels of alkalis Nonagglomerating Weathering Highly reactive High volatile content Low heating value of volatile matter Surface mined from relatively thick seams Frequently transported over long distances Mainly used as fuel for electric power generation THE U.5 and 9. About 86% of domestic consumption is by utilities. COAL MARKET The U. paper.Extremely thick seams with little inclination cleanliness of western subbituminous coals.S. large industries decade Several consume considerable quantities of steam coal. consumption in this market has decreased from 67 million tons per year to only 37 million 19 tons per year. whereas over one-half production is washed. By far the most important is the electric utilities sector.S.

Growth increasing electricity Commission coal use by as a series (NUG) and cogenerators of Federal Energy Regulatory in the generation to increase from per year by (FERC) begins to coal consumption tons per year the NUG market competition is projected of electricity.5% of the domestic or about 4% of total U. are expected to domestic coal a declining their share by 2000.Modern steel production methods use less coal per ton of steel. and use not coal 37-38 coal The United States exported about 80 million tons of coal in 1987.S. A strong growth rate in the electric power industry in conjunction with some fuel switching has been largely responsible for the increase in coal consumption by electric utilities in the past decade. coal is exported to South America. to Continued utilities. million market coking-quality coal. Large increases in generation capacity are also projected the Midwest. 20 2000. Asia. which was about 9% of the total U. and are Small quantities destined primarily of coal are also imported to Gulf Coast markets. the remaining exports are steam coal. about i million About 25% of in 1987 to 16 million tons will be fueled by coal. where nearly 60% of capacity additions expected. Coal sales are industrial coal sales nonutility generators of rulemaking by the increase by NUGs sector is to reach to result projected 91 million from through tons. growth of the consumption Growth in coal-fired electric generation will be greatest in southern United States. electric domestic market coal-fired plants.S. These figures project a consumption increase of about this sector for an annual growth rate of about 1. has resulted in declining coking Demand for coking coal seems to have stabilized at around tons per year. the are in are the at generating the Growth year in in the industrial/retail 2000. National Coal Association (NCA) projections consumption by electric utilities at about 872 million tons by 2000.S. production. The expected slowdown growth rate in to decline from in the conversion of new utilities to 88% of coal that of consumption of the past boilers to by electric decade. growth in still expected at a rate of about 2.5%. U. and the United States Projected Trends growth is expected in the consumption of coal by electric place the year 21.5% in Canada. a process that does require sales.2% per year (Moody 1989). This coal firing Despite increase utilities because a decline is a in is and of the construction rate. . Currently. Western Europe. about 45 million tons of metallurgical coal is exported annually. but growth in this region is expected only 1% capacity per year through 2000 and increased nuclear because of decreasing and natural gas-fired market predicted are expected growth in capacity. The of pulverized coal injection in blast furnaces. the demand for steel in the United States has been declining. this accounts for about 4. increases in both coal-fired and nuclear capacity expected (Moody 1989). Although growth trends in electric power generation are not expected to be as strong in the next decade. coal production. The East North Central region will remain largest coal consuming region.

clay and glass. resulting in lower demand for and production of steel. and limited coke oven capacity all combine demand for coal by the metallurgical coke industry. and textiles) are expected to decline. availabil_ty of from incrdasing fuels Small increases in coal consumption industries are expected. only 67 the coke industry million tons were Consumption to about 34 used. The decreasing demand for U. coal exports. but increasing prices is likely to keep coal fuels market.S.S. The residential/commercial market is expected to decline slightly to about 6 million tons per year by 2000. steel. changing methods. and Southwest. are most developed in Traditional industrial uses of coal are expected to decline in the next decade because of environmental considerations and increasing industrial use of natural gas. metallurgical coke has limited places an upper limit on potential The declining demand for steel investment in new coke plants. New source performance standards for industrial boilers are expected to have the effect of limiting additions of coal-fired industrial capacity. These consumption by 2000. The use of steel production technologies that require less coal per ton of steel has increased throughout the past decade and will continue to do so. This use declined is projected to remain million tons by 2000. The emergence of fluidized-bed combustors and other clean coal technologies will help to offset declines in new coal-fired natural gas at competitive its share of the industrial installations. by 1980. coal an increase in to increase abroad are expected U. Coke oven capacity in the United States is on the decline as coke and This plants age and are not replaced. slightly per unit GNP industries has and been declining declining steel because use in of the manufacturing and automobile industries. coke industry has declined the past tons of In 1970. but long in the chemicals lead times for and synthetic development and construction will keep these industries from having a major impact on industrial coal sales before 2000. of decline two. to 539 million tons to increase.S. the West and West South Central regions NUG capacity.Increases in NUG are expected in the Northeast two regions will account for about 65% of NUG coal Currently. International per year which coal with the projected 21 . Steel increases production in high-tech to only 38 million tons about steady or decline by 1990. Coal use by other major industrial consumers (minerals processing. This trend is expected to continue through the next decade. coal. through the year 2000. Coal steadily consumed consumption throughout 97 million in the metallurgical two decades. domestic coke production. although at a slower rate. paper. the rate than in the past will trade The markets result in is for U. should be much smaller in the coming decade steel production to decrease the However.

United account million States capturing about 21. utilities. In Europe. Canadian imports of U. are the electric as a market for of Wyoming nationally. coal exports are projected to increase million tons by 2000. mainly generators are entering the electric power market. Strongest growth will be in electric utilities. western coal The importance can be illustrated. coal to decline by about 2 million tons per year by 2000. utilities Western utilities countries the vast majority because no other coal exports will abroad. continue to grow demand for steam in the southern the the In summary. metallurgical 45% in the for European Western As coal will increase.7% utilities. use will decline slightly in the United States. large coal-fired generating capacity additions are currently underway. and much of the increase will go to European markets.S.S. the markets for U. Industrial use of coal will increase. tons Metallurgical in 1987 to 57 expected whereas to go to Brazil. Western subbituminous coal is not suitable almost no western coal is used in exception of Alaskan coal. 97. whereas coal production. The high cost of getting western coal to port combined with the low heating value of the coal severely restrict export market potential. their metallurgical Exports of steam-quality coal are projected to double by 2000. from 45 million this increase is is increasing. This will for about 116 million tons of U. production. though is expected. particularly those through coal by United States. With the coal requires considerable overland transportation just to reach the nearest port. be steam coal primarily some industrial use by electric Pacific Rim 22 .S. Privatization of the utility industry in the United Kingdom is expected to increase British use of imported steam coal.S. consumers of western of subbituminous coal electric utilities Currently. used about coal production utilities consume is only by electric 78% of total This shifting of the market toward utility consumption is due mainly to the characteristics and location of western coal. Coal Markets coal market. of western significant coal market is purchased by for the product in for use Asian electric exists. by are NCA predicts that much of this new market will be filled from China and Australia. Asia but the imports expected will increase its imports of steam coal as demand increases. most of the traditional industrial coal users are located in the eastern United States. One-half of Brazilian steel production coal production is declining. coal will next decade.5% of this market by 2000. Thus. There simply is not a large industrial base in the west. the main Coal exports will bulk of the increase because nonutility Metallurgical coal but exports of increase by being steam about coal Subbituminous with the overall U. Exports of 116 tons will represent a 45% increase over 1987 levels. western for conventional coking processes so the metallurgical market. next decade with the markets.

The significance of coal transportation with Wyoming coal being marketed in 29 distances states. much of which is sold in the south. electric power. Utility consumption of western coal will also see some increase because of amended clean air legislation. market coal is it will Recent the increase is expected to go to European countries.Use of western coal by electric utilities is projected to grow through the next decade. coals. in a good location for export to the Asian Pacific Rim. and for cogeneration of and nonutility electric industrial consumers of western coal. 23 .. electric utilities accounting for nearly all the Western coal is used in such industries cement manufacture. Production of western coal is projected to increase by 23.7% above the 1987 level with increased production demand by increase. production. It can be is also clearly notable seen that most Wyoming coal is consumed in the southern and central regions of the United States where electric-generating capacities are projected to increase in the next decade. The synthetic fuels industry power production are both likely to grow as as mineral processing. Small quantities of this western coal are transported as far as the east and west coasts. Commercial and residential use of western coal will continue to consume only a very Generally. Figure 6 also illustrates the dominance of the electric utilities in the western coal market. a synthetic uses a small quantity that is used in regional synthetic coke processing. The coal export coals. metallurgical small percentage western only an coal. Corporation example. although not nearly as rapidly as it grew in the previous 15 year. agricultural processing. The map in Figure 5 and the chart in Figure 6 (adapted from Glass 1990) illustrate the marketing and distribution of Wyoming coal. Although other western coals will have their own distribution patterns. Iron and steel production in the West is minimal and will not increase significantly in the next decade.S. Growth in generating capacity in the southern United States will increase the market for western coal. The percentage of western coal that is used industrially will decline as electric utilities consume a greater share of western production. but neither will consume significant quantities by 2000. therefore. compete for market share with Chinese and Australian political events in China may help to improve Alaska's position. have little market is not a major consumer of western subbituminous market will Increasing effect on demand western for U. of production. regional demand for metallurgical coal will remain small. coal on the export coal markets because most of Alaskan There. The portion of western coal that is used as metallurgical coal will decline in the next decade as more western coal is consumed by electric utilities. coal is of use unsuitable for coke subbituminous insignificant percentage There is some limited For western coal is used as of western coal in the coke plant of western mineral in Wyoming coal for metallurgical owned by FMC producing a market. Figure 6 shows the significance of rail transport in western coal marketing with nearly 93% of Wyoming's coal being transported by rail. the information for Wyoming is indicative of trends in western coal marketing.

24 .

25 .

Ash characteristics such as softening and fusion temperatures. Uniformity of feed is perhaps the most important single factor contributing to efficient and economical boiler operation. Industrial use is limited by the low industrial density in the western region and by the inability of many industrial users to accept unit train shipments. pulverizer other boiler design considerations are characteristics (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). Air Act not pertinent air quality enacted in 1990 extend regulated. Coal conversion processes will begin to increase industrial use of western coal. characteristics significantly . Coals that do not meet specifications must either be upgraded or sold elsewhere. Nearly every the coal with becoming increasingly of aspect which of boiler the boiler design will is affected by the properties operate. However. in Air determining restrictions cover previously significant quality regulations fuel specifications. almost without exception. Boilers characteristics are designed falling to within operate certain efficiently set limits. on coals Generally. considering that the fuel bill one year may equal the cost of the boiler. but long lead times and other constraints such as limited water availability and permitting delays will limit their impact on the market in the next decade. Things such as tube heat exchange surfaces. regulations. Air purchase with the an coal lowest on the basis of cost per million overall fuel economy. with the the for to of in broader the range of acceptable fuel characteristics. Utilities. Coal Specifications Utilities set for Electric Utilities for the fuel they will purchase. it is commonly preferable invest more in equipment that can coal characteristics. Exports of western coal will increase as more western coal reaches Asian markets. boiler design may be able to accommodate a wide range operators find that a coal must not only be suitable to the equipment. and a host of affected by the fuel spacing. this is a factor that significantly increases transportation costs. the fuel rather 1970. accommodate the operator a rather greater wide range flexibility of Although the characteristics. capacity. emissions since the Amendments are Clean to to Air Act the Clean boilers of 1970. ash slagging and fouling parameters. Metallurgical use of western coal will remain insignificant due to the characteristics and location of the coal. and slag viscosity may also be specified (Babcock and Wilcox 1972).In summary. moisture. but it must also be reasonably uniform. of the Act. but export coal will remain a small portion of the market through the next decade. furnace size. and sulfur are generally included along with the minimum heating value. the only significant market for western subbituminous coal is electric utilities. This allows purchasing fuel. The specifications maximum amount of ash. The principal considerations when setting coal specifications are boiler design and. Btu on an as-consumed and Mitchell requirements is used can seeking basis Since Clean than on utilities The as delivered basis (Leonard have had to meet applicable of the 26 fuel that 1968). location and size of number and location of soot-blowers. the greater initial cost of the boiler.

0 12.D.90 12.8 10.800 12.0 1. Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems can consume 5-15% of the power output of a plant and account for 20-30% of the cost of electricity produced (Schobert 1987). The primary effect of emissions restrictions on coal specifications has been in decreasing the maximum acceptable sulfur content.3 4.400 11.10 9. This increase in upgrading has been strongly influenced by the sulfur oxides emissions 27 . have a significant influence on coal specifications.4-1.5 15. thus. Reducing flue gas cleaning costs.400 13.680 11. including the cost of disposing of the residue from the cleanup system.7 0. which in turn. Coal is upgraded to make the product more compatible with market specifications or to improve its quality and. can mean lower flue gas cleaning costs.600 10.000 11.000 12.10 15.500 12.6 2.affect the cost of meeting emissions standards. Table 4 gives coal specifications of various electric utilities. 2. % Ash.0 15.57 2. Edwards Unit Brayton Average 3 Point 3 4 1. The use of coal preparation technologies that upgrade coal quality has been increasing through the past decade.8 5. % Moisture.80 16. Sulfur oxides emissions have been a primary consideration for utilities since the enactment of the Clean Air Act and.1 12.000 12.2 2.1 11 18.2 6 5.30 9. Table 4.2 4.4 0.5 2.450 11.5 6. increase its value. modify undesirable Coal upgrading characteristics of the raw coal.7-5. Less sulfur in the fuel produces lower quantities of sulfur oxides in the flue gas.3 2. 1982 Coal Specifications of Some Eastern Utilities Utility Duquesne Light Station Sulfur.800 PP&L TVA AECI CPL CILCP NEES Source: Hutton and Gould 1982 Criteria for U_rading coal or have Western Subbituminous technologies Coal are used to improve the Various marketability technologies upgrading increase the value been developed to of mine-run coal. Flue gas cleaning can represent a very significant portion of the initial and operating costs of a modern coal-fired power plant. thus.300 11. has become a major consideration for electric utilities. % Btu/ib Cheswick Elrama Phillips Montour Colbert Johnsonville Paradise New Madrid Roxboro Units 1.570 10.2 2.0 8 8 8 8 8. Roxboro Unit E.7 1.0 15 15 15 10 13.0 7.

Thus. Low sulfur content and low mine-mouth price make western coal a desirable fuel as utilities expand generation capacity under the emissions restrictions of the Clean Air Act. Louis. and geographic location. about the distance from the Powder River Basin fields to St. Coal transportation costs are negotiated on an individual basis. in Fremont. has provided inroads for western coal into of western coal other than low are increasing and clean air eastern markets. Excess mineral matter and the sulfur associated with it are the most significant bituminous coals. Two basic types of impurities are common in coal: ashforming mineral matter and moisture.O. adds 15 to 20 dollars to transportation costs figures mine in per ton the cost of each ton of in western coal marketing coal. strip-mining for low-cost properties coal reserve coal and is is a extraction. a one-thousand mile haul. The coal F. costs Belle Ayr for $4.B. decrease its desirability Western subbituminous bituminous coals. Modern not only allow with consistent of the western Generally.5 and 2 cents per ton per mile. The heating value of western coal is too low to meet coal specifications of many utilities. low heating value. Western coal is a generating legislation natural fuel choice for utilities that capacity in the western United States. thus creating a coal of higher purity and higher value. Missouri. fuel.85 represent per ton (Glass 1990). but an average of published costs shows that typical rates are between 1. content as mineral-matter low-sulfur coal. cost. Excess moisture is the significance in western subbituminous coal. The western coals require lower grindability greater pulverizer of . but minimal dilution low in clean. can be The importance illustrated of with from a recent coal sale by Amax Coal Company the Powder River Basin coal field. western Western coal characteristics that detract from its quality and value as a boiler fuel are primarily associated with its high moisture content. they also generate by mining debris. and its moisture content is too high. the use of western coal by impurities in eastern impurity of greatest electric utilities has increased dramatically. In this over 71% of the delivered coal Other as boiler coal does characteristics of western coal that fuel are grindability and reactivity. transportation from the was sold Nebraska. mine and market also detract from the desirability of western coal transportation costs for western coal can easily exceed the mine-mouth coal cost and add greatly to the delivered price of the coal. The great distance between coal. and low cost Characteristics enhance techniques its sulfur desirability and extremely as a thick boiler seams a coal Much well.05 of $13. technologies rely upon the separation and removal of Upgrading impurities from the raw coal. not grind as easily as many eastern and low heating capacity per million 28 value Btu.limitations have been bituminous reduction imposed by clean air legislation. Preparation technologies used extensively to improvo the quality of various eastern coals by reducing mineral-matter content with consequent in sulfur associated with the mineral matter. with a delivered price instance. Since 1975.

the major market for these coals. In other words. Coal preparation technologies vary a specific size range to complex nearly pure coal. consequent use. and more steam coal began to 29 . widely from the relative proportions region to region and mine of which within the seam. low heating value. As coal prices rose. and high transportation costs. which constitute coal quality the industry be cleaned. would the not of coal preparation had its roots in the metallurgical Early in this industry. Western coals are generally utilities. was the coal preparation The generation of a more consistent.grind The high while reactivity of western coals still maintaining complete will carbon allow a burnout High savings slightly coarser and can. High and possible and storage of The most detrimental characteristics of western coal are high moisture content. Even Efforts edge for of United States. Coal producers adopted various preparation requirements suitable for of this premium coke production. transportation. Because transportation costs are such a large portion of the delivered-coal cost. and higher value product is still the reason behind all coal preparation. higher quality. reductions in this area offer great pot mtial for offsetting preparation costs. COAL PREPARATION The purpose of coal preparation is to improve the quality of the raw coal or to make it suitable for a specific market (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). a wide range uniform product. thus. demands for quality also rose. properties had a Thus. it was found that coal significant effect in the quality of the coke produced. coal preparation modifies certain characteristics of the raw coal and generates a more saleable product. Technologies used to upgrade western coal must be capable of improving these characteristics of the product. however. The high reactivity of western coal also has its reactivity is associated with problems of oxidation spontaneous ignition during handling. Great mined. reactivity in ignition also oil partially provides offset reduced pulverizer for easier ignition with a capacity. and inorganic vary same materials. coals that methods to they meet the industry began setting specifications for the buy. Commonly. and gain a competitive behind the development to generate a more markets. diversity coal is from simply crushing chemical treatments and that screening to can produce As exists among the a heterogeneous various mixture and to coals of the of organic compositions mine. A great deal coke business. realize the importance of in the efficiency of their operation. downside. other steps are needed to create a product that will meet the demands of the consumer. Simply removing the coal from the ground does not necessarily guarantee a saleable product. market. of coal qualities exist. original impetus technologies. western coal.

Mines can use coal thus. Net income can be increased by either decreasing production costs or increasing realization. coal used by utilities has inc_-eased (Deurbrouck 1985). Picking and sorting to a size that was compatible with the boilers being used is a nice example of one of the main reasons behind any coal preparation practice. control mechanization and the introduction of continuous mining dramatically increased production. a higher value product and a greater realization. The 1987 Keystone Coal Industry Manual reports that about 45% of the coal used by utilities in 1978 was cleaned. but the miner has much over the product loaded out. The simplest and earliest forms of coal preparation amounted to removing the rocks and debris by hand and selecting coal of a specific size range either by hand or with screens. and has resulted in more impurities the widespread leaving the of continuous (Babcock and 19721. preparation generating to offset cost shortcomings in mining and hauling. Increasing machines have less control impurities Generally. whereas in 1983 over 70% was cleaned. However. Increasing demand and to increase production desirable as a means rising labor per unit of of quality prices labor. the generation of a fuel that meets the user's specifications.Removing impurities from raw coal expensive operation employed only through uses upgrading methods for two reasonsz to upgrade the product is an necessity. The last twenty years have seen a great increase in the amount of coal used for power generation. Rising oil prices in the early 1970s were a major factor in increasing coal consumption. Coal producers met this need by rejecting the fines at the mine (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). that is. . if one wants to sell coal. The coal industry (1) to increase its net income per ton of product and (2) to provide a steady outlet for its products (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). one must supply a product that fills the user's needs. There are many reasons for this increase. but a primary reason has been pressure from environmental agencies to burn lower sulfur coals (Deurbrouck 1985). As coal quality were taking an opposite direction. Efforts to reduce the loaded in the mine mine face cleaning typically is greatly increase reduced use mine mining with the costs. Boilers have changed over the years and so have their fuel specifications. of the best and most easily this added to the decline the demands of the market 30 mined eastern coal has already been in coal quality. Selection by size was an important aspect of the earliest preparation practices because larger sized coal was required by the boilers of the day. The demand for lower behind the current trend The quantity of cleaned significantly since 1978 sulfur fuels has been an important reason toward increased cleaning of eastern coals. Some deplete_ declined. This is as pertinent today as it was a century ago. Decreasing quality of raw coal has been another factor in the increase of coal clean%ng (Hutton and Gould 1982). use of mining Wilcox mechanical mining methods. at the mine required operators making selective mining less (Leonard and Mitchell 1968).

Because of the variability of coal characteristics. Freight costs. it is the consumer who will ultimately pay 31 . Reduced problems 1972). whereas that of another coal may be raised by cleaning. the coal industry has turned increasingly toward the use of coal preparation plants as the most economical means of improving the quality of its product. The coal industry met this problem by increasing the use of coal washing plants. which the utility pays. is the reduced quantity 1972). Economics of Coal Preparation imposed by boiler design there is still generally and emissions wide range of Once the requirements limitations have been met. The final choice of fuel depends primarily on economics (which fuel will produce steam at the lowest overall cost) including cost at the mine. the effects of coal cleaning cannot be generalized. Although preparation costs are incurred by the producer.B. can be correlated generating equipment with many of the (Babcock and Wilcox cleaning. or go out of business. and handling because of per unit of heating value (Babcock the smaller and Wilcox Cleaning costs must be offset by the benefits obtained. Utilities have large capacity volume requirements an. and the cost of disposing of the refuse. aside from ash content costs for shipping. storage. For example. of coal required storage. Some reduction ix sulfur is usually realized in coal cleaning. are given the utmost consideration when selecting steam coal (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). sulfur means benefit derived from coal reduction of ash content. Included in the cost of cleaning are plant operating costs. capital charges. and operating and maintenance costs. Generally. modify their raw coal so that it met specifications. the quantity of coal los_ to refuse increases as the ash content is reduced. handling. the value of the coal discarded as refuse. shipment. the ash fusion temperature of one coal may be lowered by cleaning.J are generally in a position to select coal that will result in the low-st overall cost per million Btu. a coals that can be satisfactorily used by a specific consumer. Reductions in transportation costs allow significant potential for offsetting preparation costs. This is always a benefit because high sulfur content associated with steam The principal reduction.Air quality regulations became more stringent. Utilities may find economic advantage in buying and cleaning a local coal rather thaD paying shipping costs on a more distant but higher quality coal. and power plant operators became more aware of the effects of coal quality on overall efficiency. Coal producers who could not meet increasingly demanding market specifications were forced to either look for new markets for their products. fuel cost fuel to the cost of the raw coal. of the most significant for a utility is the This cost can easily factors in the cost of transporting equal or exceed the overall the F. To maintain a steady outlet for its products. One equation utility.O.

the optional aspects of coal preparation have. more specifically coal washing. it is used to help liberate the mineral impurities from the raw coal and generate a size consist compatible with the washing equipment at the plant (Tsai 1982). classification by size (screening). western coal is not washed. Whereas. an optimum coal preparation scheme can be by the producer (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). Coal specifications for prepared to sizes smaller 32 . Although applied to coal preparation raw coal between encompasses mining preparation. storage. Coal is crushed at the preparation plant to meet the size required by the intended market. and crushing to a size compatible with washing equipment is not a common concern for this resource. The characteristics of western coal influence most aspects of its use and preparation including the basic operations of essential preparation. and the disposal of process wastes. Comminution. much of which is burned in pulverized coal-fired (pc) boilers. The majority of western coal finds its use as steam coal. pc boilers generally call for delivered coal than two inches (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). benefits that most operators profit (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). Comminution._ted to coal washing. preparation is producer. in actual use. • Essential Coal Preparation Preparation is a broad term that encompasses all processes applied to a coal between its extraction and its final use. transportation. as such. and grinding). There are many aspects of coal preparation. been largely l_. crushing. storage. Decreased are examples of the It is primarily through from coal preparation devised cannot enjoys mining indirect indirect efforts a and broad spectrum consumption of processes the term is frequently used to describe coal beneficiation or upgrading. This use has become common because some aspects of preparation are essential parts of use and. and waste disposal are integral parts of any coal use and. Commonly. are termed essential preparation. If the increased costs. upgrading or beneficiation (removal of noncalorific materials). crushing. transportation. sizing. Crushing is also the first step in most coal beneficiation or washing processes. Comminution is a generic term used to describe breaking. an operator recover the direct cost of upgrading his product but rather indirect economic benefits from coal costs and increased market opportunities economic benefits of coal preparation. and grinding operations used to achieve a controlled size reduction of raw coal. including comminution (size reduction by breaking.for preparation coal cost is economically By in offset the form of by reduced to both increased coal transportation consumer against and the cost. coal is broken from the seam and removed in pieces small enough Most coal burning equipment requires coal of a specific size range. are assumed. Generally. thus. consequent reduction in advantageous preparation balancing costs transportation costs. Mining is essentially a comminution process in which to load.

however. particulate the economic importance of tourism be taken to limit particulate separation of particles of broken coal particles into within restricted size limits. where it minus-200 handling mesh. is required by First. At the utility. Given in the western region. Coal particles are irregular in shape. There do not appear to be any fundamental gaps in comminution theory as it applies to western coal. however. coal (Leonard only the and Mitchell first reason fines produced during processing 1968). designers of crushing and grinding equipment have been able to adapt present day comminution equipment to operate successfully on western coals. Third. Generally. Total suspended particulates in the air are generally quite low and visibility is good in the western emissions are easily noticed. the actual particle size is difficult to determine. wet screens (where water sprays wash the fine particles through the screen openings) are commonly used for particles less than 3/8 inch. 1982). Very little western coal for coal sizing is applicable to are recovered is washed. western coals. Coal mining and processing in western areas can cause conflicts with scenic uses of surrounding lands. separation Second. specific circuits. care must emissions. 33 . Sizinq. Screens may be either stationary or activated. The high moisture levels typical of western coals make them more difficult to pulverize. Coal the utility as two-inch top size. of There are four basic raw coal into various sizes control reasons sizes for sizing coal. ely difficult. it minus 3/4 or 1/2 inch and fed tc pulverizers. Fourth. stationary screens are less efficient and see limited use. therefore. therefore.Pulverized coal-fired boilers generally require coal about 70% passes through a 200-mesh (74 @m) screen. thus. Western coal properties that are most significant with regard to comminution are grindability and moisture content. Sizing is the arbitrary groups consisting region. of generally accomplished Screens may operate either wet or dry. use of screens. which also serves to transport the coal from the mill to the burner. Size is actually defined in terms of the size of a surface opening through which a particle will pass and the size of an opening that retains the particle (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). separate gravity are required by variouB washing medium is recovered flom washing units. The pulverization is always done at minus 200-mesh coal is extre. the high moisture content of western coal must be considered when designing pulverizing equipment (Gronhovd et al. particles Sizing The sizing sized below is of coal a given results maximum in separation and above a given through the into groups minimum. This problem has been accommodated by drying the coal in the grinding mill with heated air. the the markets. Dust generation in the crushing operations must be given special consideration for many western coals. the sized so that is shipped to is crushed to is reduced to utility because Crushing to a top size at the mine and grinding to pulverized fuel are widely practiced on western coals.

The basic reason behind coal storage is to create a buffer that allows continuous fluctuations according to and equipment operation of the various facilities regardless of in the coal supply. and the high moisture coals. areas of changing coal quality. an important consideration when Dust sizing Storaqe and Handlinq. changes in coking propertles. Shipment handling minimal from store of coal by unit train requires sufficient storage and capacity at the time. Most fluctuations in coal supply can be accommodated with a few days reserve. and stored. Interruption of result in very expensive disruptions of generating stored in sufficient quantity to avoid disruption supply problems. loss of product through windage. Coal is stored at various transshipping terminals. and labor disputes. The higher reactivity oxidize more rapidly degradation at the coal of western coals than bituminous to contributes to their tendency coals. The high reactivity of western coals. The flow of coal from a mine may vary mining conditions.(pc) such Most western coal burners. Utilities desire a steady the coal input can capacity.5 or is used by utilities and fired in pulverized coal is generally crushed at the mine to a 2 inch. that is easily handled. to load an entire work on schedules This makes it train in a different to those feed of the mines that coal for the plant. However. is sold in sizes characteristics less than 2 of western inch. dustiness processes in is The high result in control western screening and sizing operations. If the mine has an associated preparation plant. Coal is stored at the loading terminal at the mine. reduction in average particle size by weathering or slacking. Most western coal friability and weathering increased for these coals. supply necessary Coal may be stored in exposed stockpiles or in bins or silos where it is fully or partially protected from the weather. The quantity of coal that a utility stockpiles is strictly an economic decision made by weighing the cost of stockpiling the coal against the potential costs of shutting down the plant and purchasing electricity elsewhere. and most importantly. coal coal size. the coals to weather or slack. Oxidation results in ignition oxidative of the coal. The goal of any storage system is to minimize product degradation. Coal is of service due to flow of coal to their boilers. and coal is stored at the location of the final user. The cbanges in coal caused by storage are loss of heating value through oxidation. product Oxygen and possible spontaneous surfac_ is a requirement for 34 . coal affect its tendency content of western of western storage. Preparation loading plants facility commonly them. coal is commonly stored at the plant. and the storage of several weeks coal supply is not uncommon. loss of product Several of through spontaneous the characteristics combustion of western (Babcock low-rank and Wilcox 1972). transported. labor disputes can disrupt supplies of coal for long periods. Western as minus 1. weather problems. Coal is stored at several places between the mine and its eventual end use. degradation. all contribute to potential storage problems.

Control of degradation oxidation is achieved by thorough compaction of the coal stockpile reduce oxygen availability to the coal. Air pollution from entrained dust and various gases is also a consideration for preparation plant designers. This problem also increases dustiness of the stockpiles and consequent product loss through windage. of Refuse from Coal Preparation. and a portion of with a high concentration of mineral matter is removed. and applicable environmental regulations must be adhered to. which feed various types of mechanical separators. handling and with various western coal should not present problems when of compaction and pile shaping are adhered to. must be given special consideration when storing of their weathering characteristics. of storage one of which piles is the is a function moisture content not of of many the coal. and disposal of this mineral-matter-rich fraction is one of the problems that must be dealt with when devising a coal preparation scheme. Refuse from coal-cleaning plants can cause environmental through several mechanisms. Dust is controlled through the use of hoods and exhausters. Sulfur and oxygen compounds from the refuse with water to form highly acidic liquids. 1982). emissions. As the old surface spalls off. In turn. coal storage piles has proven combustion of stored coal. not by to The weathering properties of low-rank coals tend to increase product degradation through surface oxidation. these dissolve controlled of water and mobilize toxic trace by neutralizing the waste from the refuse disposal. and precautions that should be taken when dealing coals. these problems are not unique to Experience has demonstrated methods that work well for storage. and filters that limit airborne wet scrubbers. 6 fuel oil (Gronhovd et al. the refuse removed from raw coal must be returned to the environment. Perhaps the most significant acid leaching. a lower mineral-matter content is generated. Product loss to weathering has been reduced by the application of drift fences (Babcock and Wilcox 1972) and surface treatment of storage piles with no. problems of these is can combine liquids can elements. When coal is upgraded. Storage of established methods however. Spontaneous interrelated heating variables. Ultimately. 35 . electrical precipitators. shaping and compaction of the in preventing spontaneous Although the properties of western coal affect its storage characteristics. Acid leaching can be before disposal or by the exclusion This is accomplished by careful location of waste disposal sites out of the way of natural runoff and by compaction of the refuse to limit its permeability to water (Hutton and Gould 1982). dust control western coals because DisDosal product with the raw coal The handling handling and western coal. the new surface is exposed to the elements.Spontaneous ignition requires that the heat of oxidation is dissipated as fast as it is produced. but clear to allow low-rank coal to be stored successfully. Spontaneous the basic mechanisms heating of coal piles is involved are sufficiently Proper effective fully understood.

the use of beneficiation technologies based upon mineral-matter reduction has increased steadily. in fact. should the future see an increase in western coal cleaning. Methods of containment that are applicable to eastern coal refuse should still be applicable even though the contained material will possess different properties. thus. there is only one coal preparation plant that washes this coal in the West. not a serious problem. Coal beneficiation processes reduce the impurities associated with the raw coal. (2) chemical separations. The most common the different specific gravities separations take advantage of and the coal minerals. Fine particles of coal and clays can remain in suspension for long periods and contribute to the pollution of surface water. higher value product. Most of this increase has been applied to eastern coal to reduce precombustion sulfur levels. Waste disposal as it relates to western coal beneficiation is. Other differences. In recent years. Each of these categories deals with a different group of impurities. Generally. the disposal of preparation greater and greater part of the cost of coal environmental plant wastes preparation. These the physical properties of physical of coal processes pure coal are based upon and its associated mineral matter. mineral matter on a substantial is the only commercial category of beneficiation scale (Schobert 1987). but all are aimed at increasing the value of the product by reducing the amount of extraneous material found in the raw coal. magnetic Physical separation of currently practiced physical separations use surface property differences. therefore. which are used to upgrade characteristics of raw coal and increase its value. Available technologies are sufficient to allow most operators to meet current environmental regulations. Considerable research has been directed toward options improving have been sulfur reduction developed toward technologies. in Physical separations are used to reduce the content of coal. and a wide range of Coal beneficiation technologies can be divided into three general categories: (i) physical separations. As more stringent come into play.Water used in the washing of coal becomes laden with suspended solids. site specific. Current washing plants are generally designed clarification to minimize environmental of water that is used. the properties of these coals may result in an alkaline leachant as opposed to the acid leachant of eastern coals. to recirculate concerns and wash reduce water after the quantity Although the problems associated with the disposal of preparation refuse are manifold. Physical mineral-matter differences Separations. Only a small fraction of subbituminous coal is cleaned. and (3) coal drying (Schobert 1987). However. that end. they are. Coal Beneficiation The term beneficiation is used to describe nonessential coal preparation technologies. generating a purer. regulations will become a Western subbituminous coal has historically seen very limited beneficiation. a system of waste containment is devised so that interaction between the waste and the environment is minimized. to a large degree. 36 . and electrostatic differences.

the processing costs (Gronhovd et al. and high low moisture content. the specific gravity fractions obtained in the test are dried. There are several different devices that operate on this principle allowing gravity separations to be applied to a broad range of coals. mainly because of the characteristics of this resource.g.35. hydraulic separation or jigs. Coal typically has a specific gravity that ranges from 1. Specific gravity is density of a substance compared with the density of water.75 inch. the more easily the components can be separated. but the most commonly employed methods are wet concentrations. In the wet processes. other analyses (e. although. The greater the difference in specific gravities. weighed. western coals are relatively clean in their raw state. offsetting some of the benefits exceeds low-rank derived from mineral-matter reduction.35 to 5. Gravity separation is the most commonly used method of coal cleaning in the United States. Generally. The use of water in many of the physical cleaning processes can add moisture to the coal. western 37 . surface-mined low sulfur coals that have a content. Washability studies are used to estimate how well a coal will respond to cleaning by gravity separation. Western low-rank coals are extraneous mineral-matter typically content. dense medium cyclones. Dry processes are also generally limited to coal sizes less than 0. The study is made by testing a coal sample at preselected. concentrating tables. water is the separating medium. whereas common coal impurities have specific gravities that range from 1. Generally. Gravity cleaning has seen only minimal application with western subbituminous coal. Gravity cleaning methods can be either wet or dry. Methods employed to clean coal that are based upon the difference in specific gravities of the coal and the mineral matter associated with it are commonly referred to as gravity separations. Typically. Gravity separations deal with mineral matter that is physically mixed with the coal but not chemically incorporated into it.. the cleaner the mineral matter. and sharpness product. rejected with the Each process has certain size. and analyzed for ash content.2 (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). coals are rarely physically cleaned. the benefits to be derived from physical cleaning methods are minimal.Gravity Separations. The 1982). therefore. dry processes generally use air as the separating medium. the more coal is and hydrocyclones. Gravity cleaning methods include densemedium separation. space requirements.12 to 1. value added rarely therefore. with Gravity coal considerable cleaning success technologies have been in the beneficiation applied extensively and of eastern coal where reducing mineral-matter and sulfur content are important factors affecting the marketability of the coal. carefully controlled specific gravities and is commonly referred to as float-sink testing. to optimal particle of separation. sulfur content) may also be performed (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). limitations with regard water use. Data from these tests are used to determine preparation methods and equipment for a given coal.

gravity methods of separation become less and less efficient. and it is washed prior Coal to its use at an adjacent from an underground mine steam-electric facility (Keystone at Hanna. which also operated a surface mine at Hanna. Washington. strips coal from a folded and faulted seam. This makes processes that deal with surface properties more desirable as a means of 38 . the decision to wash these two subbituminous coals was based upon site-specific coal characteristics and the requirements of the markets. and plant designers will be faced First. Although separations based upon specific gravity are the most widely used coal cleaning methods in the United States. Although the force of gravity still acts upon small particles.Only one western coal mine currently washes subbituminous coal. and coal conversion processes that require selective or general reduction of mineral matter may become significant forces in the western coal market. The limited data that exist on the washability of western low-rank coal suggest that many of these coals will respond well to gravimetric cleaning (Deurbrouck 1971. The Washington Irrigation and Development Company at Centralia. the economics of physically upgrading low-rank coals will tend to improve. Finally. Wyoming. these processes do have their limitations. Separations Usinq Surface Properties. The operation generates a raw coal with an unusually high mineral-matter content. The coal that is cleaned at this plant is not typical of the western subbituminous coal as it is characterized in this report. Coals that can benefit from physical cleaning may be mined in the future. The Hanna plant no longer operates due to a change in market conditions. even a complete removal total sulfur by a maximum of 30%. As with all coal of to the combined product. pertinent experience in a consequent shortage of data on with several potential cleaning western coal is which to base decisions as to what cleaning methods are best will have a significant effect. Other forces acting upon the particle increase in significance as particle size decreases. the shortage of water in many western areas and its relatively high value may change the desirability of some beneficiation processes. the surface area-to-volume ratio of the particle increases. prevent boiler problems The primary reason created mainly by cleaning. It is also of some consequence that both western coal-cleaning plants are owned by subsidiaries of the utilities that ultimately consume the products. was washed in a 1987). As energy costs rise and environmental standards tighten. Jackson 1978). The cleaned coal from the underground mine was mixed with the surface-mined coal upgrading the quality for cleaning this coal was ash fusion (Jackson 1978). preparation obstacles. As particle size decreases. The mine and preparation plant were operated by Energy Development Company. However. If future markets for western coal of pyritic sulfur will reduce require a cleaner product. Glass (Keystone 1987) reports that because most of the sulfur is in the organic form. the high moisture content of the raw coal may necessitate thermal drying of the cleaned coal product to meet market specifications. the rate at which the particles settle may be very slow. dense medium plant. lacking. Second. As the particle size to be washed decreases.

typically the coal. whereas are termed hydrophobic. relatively high throughput with a wide range of operating conditions. Proper selection prime importance to the success of flotation coal cleaning. Flotation to the of coal cleaning surface properties of water cleaning relies upon the selective surface of different solids. however. Solids termed hydrophilic. Oil agglomeration not only recovers the coal from these slurries but also reduces the ash and moisture content of the recovered 39 coal. and collecting properties. adhesion to which of air and water will does more adhere readily are not adhere readily those to which water Air tends to adhere strongly to surfaces that are hydrophobic. whereas the particles to coal and air the surface. The particles to which air adheres more strongly. float to the surface. thus. the appropriate of reagents depends upon the properties of the reagent coal to which Flotation cleaning is an ability to of fine coal has several advantages. by forming a the particle thin more Frothing modifying contact reagents are used to help to the surface tension of water. Preferential oii wetting of hydrophobic particles in an aqueous suspension is the basis of coal cleaning by oil agglomeration. skimmed The from small quantities of selected reagents are commonly used to enhance the flotation separation. clean extremely fine coal. Froth flotation and oil agglomeration technologies that take advantage the coal and mineral matter. generally combination cleaned. whereas the generally hydrophilic oxide minerals remain in suspension as f_ne particles. Agitation of the suspension causes the oil-coated particles to agglomerate. which Mitchell can be 1968). but its application has been successfully extended to particle sizes less than 325 mesh (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). The larger agglomerates are then separated from the suspension and recovered as cleaned coal (Mishra and Klimpel 1987). of purposes such as _'nhibiting is the of For Modifying flotation pH of the flotation mixture. the (Leonard and name). increase froth stability by Collector reagents promote bubbles rendering frothing variety regulating reagents cleaning. and adaptability to a wide range of feeds through proper reagent selection make froth flotation a primary choice for the cleaning of fine coal (Mishra and Klimpel 1987). Moisture is displaced by . a combination frother/collector the only reagent needed. which forms water adheres sink a froth (thus.separating the fine coal from its of associated are examples the different contaminants. Relatively low capital and space requirements. Oil agglomeration may find its greatest application in removing coal fines from coal-water slurries and plant discharges. This selective wetting allows coal particles to become coated with a thin film of oil. between coal particles and air the coal particle. Optimum the first of particle size for froth flotation is between 48 and 150 mesh. Coal can be separated from some coal minerals by passing a finely disseminated stream of air through a slurry of coal in water. Some frothers have both reagents are used for a of unwanted material or of coal i_ or be coating over water repellent.

magnetic separations are used to reduce the mineral-matter content of the raw coal. Considering the now being variety developed and of processes available. The surface area of the agglomerate is considerably smaller than that of the feed. There are very limited data available on the application to western coals of applied the various to eastern fine-coal-cleaning methods coals. recover. however. The surface properties of typical western coals are considerably different from those of typical eastern coals. Western subbituminous coals tend to be less hydrophobic than eastern bituminous coals. The processes may find particular application to deep cleaning some coals in conjunction with other physical cleaning methods. can be enhanced by chemical treatment allowing than those required for separation for untreated in magnetic coal (Tsai fields 1982). Coal is basically diamagnetic (repelled by a magnetic field). of lower intensity Magnetic separation technologies may provide additional options for preparation plant designers in the future. which results in less moisture entrapped in the product (Tsai 1982). The most significant factor regarding the economics of its application is the cost of the agglomerating oil. Because reduction of mineral matter is data exist coal. As with the other physical coal cleaning technologies. this cost must be weighed against the value of the recovered coal and the cost of disposal of unrecovered coal. Coal can be separated from some mineral impurities by taking advantage of the different magnetic properties of coal and coal mineral matter. of minimal value on the application in upgrading of magnetic typical cleaning western coals. Oil agglomeration combustibles from a wide streams while rejecting agglomeration recoveries of with decreasing of the process mesh coal. 1982). can selectively recover nearly 100% of range of fine coal slurries or plant waste inorganic impurities and moisture. The magnetic properties of some coal minerals. whereas most coal minerals are generally paramagnetic (attracted by a magnetic field). The magnetic processes seem to offer greater reduction of pyritic sulfur with higher coal recovery when compared with two-stage froth flotation. The finely dispersed nature of the mineral matter in low-rank coals may make fine coal cleaning of particular significance to the western coals (Gronhovd et al. particularly pyrites. Proper reagent selection can enhance the hydrophobic property of the coal surface without decreasing the hydrophilic properties of the mineral matter. however. and the adaptability of these processes appropriate reagents and conditions (Mishra and coal-cleaning methods can probably be successfully coals. processes to little western 40 . through selection of Klimpel 1987).the adsorption of oil at the particle surface. clean. and A major advantage dewater minus-200- Like froth flotation. fineadapted to western Maqnetic Separations. Oil of coals generally with high decreases is applicable to a wide range combustibles. oil agglomeration is a rather sophisticated process compared with the more commonly applied coal preparation methods. ash rejection coal rank (Mishra is its ability to and Klimpel 1987).

The coal beneficiation processes discussed thus far all rely upon differences between the physical properties of pure coal and those of common coal impurities. upgrading methods. others are chemically bound to the coal structure and can only be removed through the breaking of chemical bonds. Reagent consumption 41 operating greater for . To offset the higher costs of compared with physical cleaning methods. There are also extremely fine to the coal. generally. although not within the coal pore _ructure. which costs (Schobert beneficiation Most operate at systems elevated cost and and cost are complex temperature increase will be by coal and/or can add to initial plant 1987). Physical processes operate at or and a large base of operating experience exists solutions to particular coal cleaning provide In contrast. may be may be impractical Alternatively. relatively simple mechanical equipment that is and maintain. chemical Physical processes use easy to build. a coal sufficiently clean to burn without (International is Energy by Agency 1985). because (Tsai they help plants coals with standards 1982). operate. processes must generate flue gas clean coals. and the reagent is regenerated leaving the impurities in a disposable form. Some impurities are physically mixed with the pure coal.Chemical Coal Cleaninq. if the to burn very clean as a means economics coal of are right. employed in coal methods commonly beneficiation. determined SO 2 emission Although specific reagents and conditions vary among the processes. pressure. they are technologies has been development of extremely more rigorous treatments. new the use of designed without The major advantage of chemical coal cleaning is the ability to remove nearly all of the pyritic sulfur from the raw coal with a nearly complete recovery of the pure coal. Another broad category of coal beneficiation finds its basis in the chemical behavior of pure coal and coal minerals. of chemical coal cleaning chemically bonded thus. Total sulfur removal rates of nearly 90% are obtained by some processes (Hutton and Gould 1982). that commonly problems. however. subsequent The required regulations desulfurization level of coal desulfurization at a given site. The reaction product containing the impurities is then separated from the coal. Treatment is commonly at elevated temperature and pressure. all treat the coal with a chemical reagent for a time sufficient for reaction with the impurities. These processes will probably be most that applicable burn When these compared to eastern meet the bituminous SO 2 emissions physical coals. chemical preparation standards. near ambient conditions. power plants scrubbers. Chemically cleaned coals may find a market as fuel for industrial boilers where flue-gas meeting desulfurization systems emissions restrictions. are locked inaccessible to physical The the the the main objective impurities that. can processes have several inherent disadvantages. Chemical coal cleaning methods have been developed that remove organic as well as pyritic sulfur with nearly complete removal of pyritic sulfur being attainable. Some processes have the added advantage of removing organic sulfur.

processes that been tested on were achieved. However. water availability. Many of the solutions to these problems will be similar to those employed associated with by physical cleaning plants. equipment maintenance. Future chemical cleaning methods. all on eastern the chemical bituminous allow clean coal cleaning processes have coal and on sulfur reduction. involves pores. the particular reagents used but some may require unique problems new solutions. Chemically cleaned coal is generally physically cleaned prior to chemical beneficiation. The environmental concerns that chemical plant operators must deal with will have to be assessed with regard to chemical coal cleaning plants. The of the naturally occurring interstices. and other discontinuities in coal by certain low molecular weight compounds that disrupt the internal bonding forces and cause the coal to fragment (Tsai 1982). Potentially toxic. legislation is sulfur levels in utility boiler fuel western steam coal for sulfur reduction coal conversion processes may employ seems likely that the cleaning will form of preparation practiced by coal Chemical mechanical penetration comminution has been enacted. the value added to the product will have to be significant. To offset the relatively high cost of chemical coal cleaning. proposed as an alternative to crushing and grinding of coal. The problems associated with refuse disposal. or caustic chemicals must be handled safely in an environment where mechanical dangers and dust problems have been the major concerns in the past. dust emissions. Although substantial sulfur reductions the amount of desulfurization Chemical is obviously relief that equipment cleaning not of chemical cleaning will provide is relatively small (Gronhovd western coals Unless under current practical. corrosive. At first glance.chemical coal cleaning as will costs for electricity to operate reactors. the coal is selectively fractured in a manner compatible with mineral separation. 1982). slurry pumps. A few processes have western coals. 42 . Operators must ensure that emissions of process gases. provided that a coal enough to burn without flue-gas cleaning can be produced. market requiring conditions very low Western low-sulfur coals will benefit little from the deal only with pyritic sulfur. and effluents all meet applicable standards.00/ton of coal. and storage and handling of the raw and cleaned coal will probably be compounded for chemical cleaning plants. it seems unlikely that coal can attain a value high enough to offset the cost of chemical cleaning. Thus. particulates. the high cost of fluegas scrubbing (estimated at $30. and dewatering systems (Hutton and Gould 1982). Hutton and Gould 1982) and savings in transportation costs and boiler operating expenses for a considerable increase in fuel costs. Observations suggest that the breakage occurs along internal boundaries previously weakened by the infiltration of mineral constituents. but it be part of the process and not a producers. process faults. As focused a general mainly rule. to the flue-gas et al. chemical cleaning of may never be practical. and problems associated with both cleaning methods must be dealt with.

higher electronegativity. liquid-solid coal can completely with large Ion exchange separation decrease its effective. Although the most consequential impurities significant impurity in western does not contribute to the ash-forming minerals and sulfur are in eastern bituminous coals. the conditions lose the most amount of product most cleanup (Gronhovd et al. calcium. coals are relatively can generate a more of ion exchange (University of boiler downtime value of reduced coal. Ion exchange allows the replacement sodium in coal by ions of greater ionic weight.The wide variability of coal characteristics and mineral distribution suggests that response to chemical comminution will depend upon properties of the particular coals to which it is applied. therefore. solids and liquid residence times. and environmental concerns when dealing evaluated. the most low-rank coals is moisture. that produce to the waste the cleanest stream and require the 1982). The costs of resulting from fouling will need evaluation because the downtime must offset the cost of preparing a nonfouling Potential problems with disposal of the concentrated sodium brine may affect the applicability of ion exchange coal cleaning. Moisture value 43 of coals. A continuous countercurrent reactor was used to investigate the effects of process variables such as particle size. and cation concentrations on the level of sodium reduction. high Western lignites and some western subbituminous in sodium. iron. Preliminary economic evaluations cleaning of North Dakota 1ignites have been favorable North Dakota under contract to GFETC). Sodium reduction was most effective with small most coal particle coal also sizes and high cation concentrations. physical separation methods commonly employed to reduce mineral-matter content are not effective in removing sodium from coal. quantities processes must value be if of chemicals take place in Adding must a water to be carefully solution so high-moisture steps are not a made. The cationdonating reagent expense must be considered. Sodium reduction Forks Energy through Technology ion exchange has Center (GFETC) been investigated at the at a scale of 100 Ib/hr Grand coal feed. Ion exchange techniques are applicable to sodium reduction in coals. Sodium content is the most important single factor affecting fouling characteristics for a given coal (Babcock and Wilcox 1972). or higher ionic concentration. Sodium can be replaced by potassium. fouling can be of considerable significance. magnesium. or hydrogen ions depending on process conditions. Because western coals are generally not cleaned prior to sale. various cations. especially when boilers ash Ash are operated at high loads. water dewatering subsequent Moisture Reduction. but it does add to heating . as with cleaning processes. however. the process will probably be more applicable to eastern bituminous coals. and sodium reduction can markedly upgrade the quality of high-sodium coals. Sodium in coal is ionically bonded to oxygen-containing functional groups that are evenly distributed throughout the coal mass. Ion exchange sodium reduction saleable product.

transport distance. to a large extent. by the particle-size range of the coal to be dewatered. Coal from 0. which is a tremendous bins. However. Not only does moisture not contribute to heating value.25to 28 mesh is typically dewatered by sizes are commonly vacuum filtered In 0.its weight. Fuel transportation costs are a major factor in the overall fuel and operating expenses for utilities that burn coal. reduces coal quality. Mechanical Dewatering. 44 . Moisture either mechanical dewatering reduction or thermal in coal is drying. and transportation alternatives The cost of coal transportation is difficult to generalize. and Excess waste (Keystone 1987). cars may return to the mine with up to twenty tons of frozen coal stuck to the car bodies. and a host of other variables. ownership of rail cars. This requires higher stack gas temperatures to prevent formation of corrosive sulfuric acid in the air heaters. The greatest detriment to the use of high-moisture coal. the method of separation is determined. with consideration given to yearly volume. the proper design of combustion and handling equipment can effectively solve these. Although the problems associated with the combustion of highmoisture coal are significant. Generally. but also the energy required to vaporize the moisture and heat the vapor to exit gas temperature must be supplied by the calorific constituents of the coal. transportation cost. et alo 1982). Therefore. excess moisture contributes to a number of other handling and combustion problems. accomplished Mechanical by dewatering is essentially a liquid-solid phase separation and employs methods common to this type of separation. Thus. In addition to reducing the coal heating value.5. Increased stack gas temperatures reduce overall thermal efficiency and result in higher operating costs. like ash and sulfur. Thus.5 to 2 cents per ton per mile is typical. of pulverizers can plug chutes. whereas smaller (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). The difficulty of separating liquids from solids is inversely proportional to the solids particle size. Railroad transportation cost can easily exceed the mine-mouth cost of raw western coal currently do not (Gronhovd exist. Transportation rates are negotiated and contracted on an individual basis. published data on rail transit rates in 1988 show that 1. coal screens. High-_peed sizes larger than 1. and can increase the High flue the number of moisture levels pulverizers in the fuel required result for a given installation. Frozen downspouts causing operational moisture limits the capacity or moist coal difficulties. Frozen coal can be a major problem during winter months causing difficulties in unloading rail cars. More power may be required by the forced-draft fan to provide sufficient heated air to dry moist coal in the pulverizers. the usable heat content of the fuel is reduced. cannot be mitigated so easily. its presence is detrimental and.25 inch centrifugation.5 inches are dewatered on shaker vibrators are used for dewatering of 1. there is significant inch coal. in high moisture levels in gas.

45 . Therefore. available equipment. Dried coal exhibits an increased susceptibility to spontaneous ignition and _s more friable than raw coal. the mechanical dewatering of western coals probably requires no further development at this time. The dried coal can also reabsorb moisture if the surface is not treated. and chemically bound• Free moisture exhibits a normal vapor pressure similar to that of free standing water and is easily removed. physically bound. dried product coal moisture. and conventional dewatering techniques have been applied successfully to this slurry. planned coal slurry pipelines have not materialized. production operating efficiency and reduce maintenance costs coke oven pulverizer boiler capacity capacity throughput requirements and of fuel Although thermal drying has the ability to significantly improve overall product quality. there are some problems associated with the coal that is produced by current methods. and no new subbituminous coal-cleaning facilities are coming on-line in the near future. There is little movement in this direction at this time. Mechanical dewatering is used to separate the depending relative upon product concentrations coal from the water in coal-water slurries and to remove the water left on the coal by wet beneficiation processes. Removal of water remaining after wet beneficiation is of very little significance to western coals because almost none are cleaned by wet processes. to feed is substantially rate tends to output reduced when drying limit the throughput is roughly inversely of thermal proportional thus. When compared with dryers operating on eastern bituminous coal. Thermal • • • • • • • • Save Drying. The water evaporation dryers. and of coal fines. It is likely that methods applicable to the larger sizes of eastern coal will work on large-sized western coals. briquetting. Mechanical dewatering may become very significant to western coal if slurry transportation is employed in the future.overlapping of the various dewatering methods moisture requirements. the material western capacity of thermal dryers coal. There are three basic types of moisture in coal: free. How well western coals will respond to mechanical dewatering techniques is not fully known. Future developments in the use of western coal may require increased use of mechanical dewatering as more coal is washed or transported by slurry pipeline. but how well western coal fines will respond to mechanical dewatering is not known beyond the experience gained at Black Mesa. on coal Thermal drying of coal is used toz transportation costs Increase Prevent Improve chemical Improve boilers Increase Increase Decrease heating value and selling price handling problems caused by freezing the quality of coal used for coking. Currently. Black Mesa coal is the only western coal transported by slurry pipeline. This increases size degradation and dust formation.

For this portion of the curve the slope (rate of drying) is constant.e... Chemically moisture that bound moisture is is commonly identified as either multilayer or monolayer type. the material rate is controlled the coal behaves as the drying cycle. 46 . portion last portion of so named because is decreasing. the temperature factors. indeed any solid of that size. Physically bound moisture is more difficult to remove because it is held more tightly in the smaller pores and capillaries of the coal.e. The next portion of the drying curve (2-3) is the constant drying rate portion. During the constant rate portion of the drying cycle. the drying rate is controlled by external factors (i. the contained moisture is exhibiting the properties of unbound moisture}. The portion. The oxidative reactions that form decomposition moisture can generally be regarded as combustion. Free very large pores dewatering methods are capable of removing water can be found wetting the coal surface and interstitial spaces of the coal mass. Chemically bound chemically bonded to moisture the coal is the portion of the structure. Monolayer moisture is bonded to oxygen-containing functional groups in the coal complex. Luckie and Draeger (1976) presented a conceptual description of a typical coal drying curve (Figure 7). during the and drying contained in portion of falling-rate Particle temperature. among which are inherent moisture. the drying rate is not constant throughout the drying period. During this period. by bound internal moisture size. These reactions can take place at temperatures below 100°C (212°F) and can contribute to the measured coal moisture when standard ASTM methods involving difference sample drying are used. will exhibit the same drying rate when exposed to the same drying conditions. free water and in the \ Physically bound moisture is also commonly referred to by other terms. so named because this portion of the curve is linear. The first portion of the drying curve (1-2) represents the initial unsteady system response as it seeks an equilibrium condition.Purely mechanical from coal. combined moisture. it is not really a form of moisture held by the coal but rather a product generated as the coal undergoes certain chemical reactions. Decomposition moisture is formed by the chemical decomposition of organic molecules in the coal structure. Chemically bound moisture also includes water of hydration associated with carboxylate-group cations and minerals such as calcium sulfate. the drying rate is dependent on coal properties). moisture the drying curve (3-4) is the falling-rate the slope (drying rate) of this curvilinear As the drying rate decreases. Physically bound moisture has a lower vapor pressure and specific heat than free moisture. and determination of moisture by weight Because of the various types of moisture in coal. whereas multilayer moisture is weakly hydrogen bonded on top of the monolayer moisture. The increases. As such. and capillary moisture. Any coal of a given size. the drying process is independent of the type of material. The material temperature also remains constant during this phase of drying. drying rate and resideI_ce time are very important in determining (i.

2 47 .

dried coal is more friable and. greatly improved pyrolysis in Lurgi-Spulgas ovens and the use of dry coal in France increased the capacity of coking ovens. The many advantages derived from the use of dried coal resulted in a trend of increasing tonnages of dry coal being sold in the United States during the 1950s and most of the 1960s. Heat added to coal surface water during the constant-rate portion of the of this water. it is common to spray oil on the coal after cooling. thus. 6 oil per ton of coal has been effective in minimizing these problems (Bauer 1980). and during further drying. In order to minimize these problems. During the constant-rate period. and storing needed for process treatment can be recovered the addition of because the oil. as well oil treatment generates desirable. a prospect associated capital also be saleable by effect is one of not economically handling equipment at the price of The additional the the that is oil.5 to 2 gallons of No. a drying product without subsequent oil Existing Thermal coal for many a stable wet Drying Processes. changing coal reversing 1960s. During this falling-rate period. the rate decreases. it is critical to treat dried coal to minimize or prevent moisture reabsorption and autogenous heating. (point 3) the is transition called the between measured and falling-rate moisture. dustier than raw coal. whereas only a part of the surface is wetted during the falling-rate portion. Both of these factors are dependent upon the temperature and relative humidity of the drying media and independent of the properties of the material being dried. That is. applications. coal. Some of the heating value of the net that is with costs cost of the coal oil treating is increased selling oil attractive. However. Rhodes (1949) reports that during World War II. the complete drying of the coal in Germany. Clearly. the diffusion in the solid controls the overall drying rate. either the mass transfer or the heat transfer rate between the surface of the solid and the bulk gas phase controls the drying rate. In addition.Although constantcritical it may not be a definite periods point. and stabilizing western However. the entire particle surface remains wetted. costs procuring. the addition of oil to the dried coal increases operating costs. If the drying process is an independent operation. however. temperature of drying cycle is equal to heat and the coal temperature the drying media (Leonard and carried away by evaporation approaches the wet bulb Mitchell 1968). The use of 1. the constant-rate period ends at the critical point (point 3 in Figure 7). as it leaves the dryer. As the coal moisture content decreases. the coal were investigated market conditions and toward increased (Rice and stringent of dried Johnston emission coal by standards were the end of the trend use . for the as the must considered. Throughout the constant-rate drying period. the ability of the drying medium to transfer heat to the coal or its ability to accept moisture from the coal controls the drying rate. Many drying processes were developed and commercialized. Processes aimed at drying 1951). The Dry coal problems performs associated better with than the combustion of wet coal have been enumerated in preceding sections of this report.

gas. which contains descriptions manufacturers. as it is fed continuously to the dryer and vaporizes the moisture. Wet coal is introduced to the dryer above the restriction where it is suspended (fluidized) by the gas stream. typically combustion products. The gas heats the wet coal. or drum type (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). This ensure even distribution of the drying gases. far from without burning or damaging the product. are discussed in Coal Preparation (1968). vertical tray or cascade. The suspended particles mix very thoroughly with the hot gases. While the basic principle designing a drier system that easy. emissions The outlet standards. must will is multipletypically 49 . directly contact the coal in the dryer as the coal is continually transported through. continuous carrier. the fluidized-bed dryers use a stoker or pulverized coalfired air heater to heat and reduce the oxygen content of the fluidizing gas before it enters the drying zone. convective drying. The coarse fraction of the dried coal is generally removed through an air-lock conveyor. or 6 mesh. In fluidized-bed dryers.Industrial coal dryers generally heat the coal through convective heat transfer. or grate-type feeder. entrained flow (suspension or flash). The system must be with variations in feed rate and feed composition and a high degree of automation. multilouvre. Some dryers recirculate a portion of the exit gas to further reduce the oxygen content in the drying The pressure drop across the gas distributor (constriction plate) be large with respect to the pressure drop across the bed. the Link-Belt McNally Fluid- Flowdryer. Industrial coal dryers are essentially all of the continuous-carrier. in which the coal is heated by convective heat transfer from a hot gas. The dryer al_o needs explosion and fire to meet applicable hazards. screw feeder. fines exit with the gas stream and are then collected in a dry collector. which is then carried from the dryer with the exit gas. The turbulent environment provides for very high heat and mass transfer rates with a corresponding high drying capacity. direct-contact type. Feed coal distribution controlled by a feeder-spreader device such as a roll feeder. the drying medium (hot gases) is forced through a restriction plate designed to evenly distribute the gas flow across the entire plate area. Hot gases. the Doff-Oliver coal dryers include the dryer. 8 mesh. The different types of dryers operating on this principle can be classified as six basic types: fluidized bed. The system must reduce of fluidized-bed drying is will operate satisfactorily is moisture to the desired level the dust simple. Coal feed top sizes are 3/8 inch. and operating characteristics provided These dryers more detailed by the dryer Typically. commonly to be recombined with the coarse fraction. fluidized-bed Fluosolids gas n_ust be capable of coping must operate with to be safe from sufficiently clean Well known examples of Flowdryer. typically a product of combustion. This type of drying is generally known as direct-contact. The gas heats the coal to vaporize the water. which is then removed with the exit gas stream in the vapor phase. and the Heyl and Patterson fluidized-bed dryer.

even the largest dryers have only about three hundred pounds of coal in the system at any given moment (Leonard and Mitchell 1968). the of turbulence gases. and shutdown of the system. building up to County. name flash account for continuously introduced into moisture removal is practically dryer). this decreases hazard potential and avoids excessive dust formation. installation operating on western coal is a McNally Flowdryer system installed by AMAX Coal Company at its Belle mine near Gillette. electrostatic scrubbers. Thus. The low coal inventory makes flash dryers somewhat less hazardous than slow fluidized-bed dryers. High temperatures and the rapid drying rate. and wet cyclones falls rapidly when particle sizes are less than 10 pm. dried 10. The separation efficiency of dryers are controlled using precipitators. and cyclones are almost totally ineffective for separating particles smaller than 5 @m. Wet scrubbers use particles making point of the can be nearly surface moisture separation less gas as stream or effective to cause difficult.5% to 1. Wyoming. had heating value been sold to from some Ayr one The 10. or 0. The water content of the dried coal is commonly held at 5% to 10%.800 coal product from Btu/lh and. Fluidized-bed drying systems typically incorporate sprinkler systems. and automatic fail-safe shutdown devices (Schreckengost 1963). bed temperature can be correlated with coal moisture and used as a control parameter.The mixtures fluidized-bed of air and gas dryers are potentially are used as the drying hazardous when media. which improves its efficiency. Wyoming. 50 . The wet coal is a a column of instantaneous high degree high-temperature (thus. After the surface moisture is removed. agglomeration of Cyclones operated the at fine the dew spraying combined with high-energy water as wet scrubbers. blowout doors. Electrostatic must be require plecipitators. Amax Coal Company announced five more drying units adjacent that it is to its mines dryer with Suspension or use entrained a residence entrained-flow dryers such as the C-E Raymond flash fluidized beds to dry particles in a hot-gas stream time of one second or less. bed temperature begins to increase and is controlled below the coal autoignition temperature to avoid hazardous conditions. Cyclones mainly reduce dust loading in the gas stream to the secondary separation device. careful air or control of the drying-gas oxygen content and coal bed temperature are required to limit the potential of fire or explosion. The unit was designed to produce about million tons per year of coal dried to about 10% moisture content. Particulate emissions from fluidized-bed a combination of cyclones.0% surface moisture. After nearly all of the surface water has been removed.500 to electric utilities considering in Campbell (Glass 1990). although kept free of condensation. The low residence time allows flash dryers to have a high capacity while maintaining a relatively small inventory of coal in the dryer. as this dryer has a of mid 1990. frequent maintenance and One commercial dryer used successfully in some operations. are susceptible to malfunctions.

and the coal is carried through the dryer by some type of mechanical conveyor. The gas stream leaves the dryer carrying the dried coal with it. The coal is transported through the dryer by vibrating the shelves. and the of the screens the coal between through the decks about dryer. The unit can also be used to dry filter cake. the high gas velocity and turbulence can result in particlesize degradation as low-rank coals are dried. however. When drying filter cake. Moisture is carried out of the dryer in the vapor phase with the exit gas stream. The dry coal is separated from the hot gas by centrifugal force and removed from the cyclone through an airlock seal. a pulverized coal-fired furnace is sometimes used. System control is very responsive because the coal inventory in the dryer is small. continuous-carrier. Continuous-carrier reciprocating screens. The . such as a wet scrubber. The drying-gas once each second. Inlet gas temperature is controlled by a tempering-air and shut-off damper in the hot-gas duct between the furnace and drying column. Coal is fed to the unit by a screw feeder when minus 3/8-inch coal. There. it is collected and removed by a conveyor_ Residence time of the coal in the dryer is controlled by adjusting the pitch of the shelves. a portion of the dried coal is returned to the feed mixer to condition the feed coal. flights. The coal is carried up in the flights flowing minimum and then flows action exposes degradation of downward over the ascending all particles to incoming the product. Wet coal is fed to the top shelf by a rotary feeder.Heated air is used as the drying medium. The mechanical transport system incorporated in the Multilouvre dryer consists of a series of specially designed flights attached to and carried by two strands of roller chain. which are ordinarily generated in a coal-fired furnace. Hot air is typically provided by a spreader stoker furnace. can be used to further clean the gas and to collect the ultrafine material. which is a large. with flow gravity cause is alternated dryers feed coal screen motion to the top of inclined top deck combined There are two The reciprocating to the flow two 51 decks. air and This gentle results in Cascade dryers use a series of shelves arranged like stair steps. which causes the coal to cascade down through the shelves to the bottom of the dryer. The h±gh gas velocity used in the drying tube requires a difficult gas-coal separation to remove fine particulates from the effluent gas. The gas enters a primary collector. high-efficiency cyclone. These dryers heat the coal through direct contact with hot gases. In addition. A secondary collector. vertical-tray and cascade. high-velocity. feeds the lower deck. Multilouvre. The flash drier is controlled by setting the outlet gas temperature to give the desired coal surface moisture. and drum-type dryers all operate with convective heat transfer coupled with some means of mechanically moving the coal through the dryer. premixing of the cake with some dried coal is required to facilitate dispersion in the gas stream. This size degradation will further increase the difficulty of the gas-solids separation and may result in the generation of excess dust at the expense of saleable product. although.

cascade. and thoroughly contacts each particle. the advantage of relatively gentle and drum-type dryers mechanical transport of all the offer coal. A variety of technologies are represented in drying processes currently under development (Davy McKee 1984). permeates the bed. and a condenser.alternating-gas evaporation and flow results in two phases of moisture one by mechanically squeezing the water removal: from the one by coal. and require additional The vapor recompression processes reduce process energy requirements by compressing water vapor to a higher pressure and using the steam to return heat to the drying operation. alter the structure drying of of micropores the coal after to prevent dewatering. Restricted dryer capacity and high maintenance requirements have resulted in a steady decline in the use of these dryers in favor of the fluidized-bed-type dryers (Elliot 1981). a slurry The coal of is coal then is stockpiled. A portion of the water vapor from the first stage is recycled to fluidize the first stage. The drum-type or Rotolouvre dryers consist of a solid cylindrical outer shell with a concentric inner shell composed of full-length overlapping louvres. The inner drum revolves slowly. require a high-pressure treating reactor. Vapor recompression has been tested in pilot plants but is not known to have been used for drying coal on a commercial scale. typically heated air. Developmental Drying Technologies. The drying medium. The process is complex. and further air drying takes place. Although these systems limit the extent of particle-size degradation through the use of mechanical transport systems. Multilouvre. requiring compressors. A solar drying process pumped to drying ponds has been proposed in which where water evaporates. and this process is probably only applicable to dewatering coal that has been slurried for another reason. is introduced through the louvers. The multistage: fluidized-bed drying process achieves above average thermal efficiency by recompressing water vapor from the first stage and using the resulting steam to heat and fluidize the second stage. continuous-carrier. The inner shell is slightly conical with the large end at the dryer discharge. 5_ . which is heated by condensing steam within tubes in the coal bed. Hot-water dewatering and decarboxylation employ similar principles. which causes the coal to gently travel toward the discharge end. These technologies use hot-water slurry-steam thermal dewatering. reabsorption. The process should offer high thermal efficiency but will require high capital and maintenance costs. the mechanical systems impose some limitations. Solar drying is dependent upon climatic conditions that are not common to the major western coal-producing regions. Vapor recompression allows much of the heat used to vaporize the water in the coal to be returned to the drying process at an elevated temperature. all of which add to capital and maintenance costs. blowers. Slurrying coal for transport to a dryer is impractical.

typically a thermal oil. high-pressure are definite disadvantages of the Developmental convective heat work transfer on several has been drying process that do not conducted. The materials handling difficulties associated with high-pressure batch reactors has made the Fleissner process economically unattractive for drying coal in the United States (Gronhovd et al. this makes extensive water cleanup necessary. The in improved handling and weathering coal is also made hydrophobic by the The Fleissner process is a form of steam drying that has operated commercially in Europe as a multivessel batch process since 1927. the to bring 53 with immersed to has been of heated moisture sufficient coal . 1982). and the process has been investigated through pilot-plant work at the Grand Forks Energy Technology Center and the University of North Dakota. Heat transfer is not nearly as effective as in the fluidizedbed units. The treatment causes shrinkage. removes water. The partial pyrolysis releases oil the coal. from which large quantities of moisture must be vaporized. desirable in Although from an a less- it necessarily involves which adds to maintenance contact coal is the moving parts costs. in which the coal is pumped into reactor in the form of a coal-water continuous. Bone-dry can be produced by the Koppelman process. The major disadvantage of conductive dryers results from the large heat-transfer surface area needed to ensure that each particle is heated evenly. dryers are various heated conveyor systems. the units will of coal through have to be very the dryer may be large. which results the dried coal. but the product is cooled water. and carbon dioxide and water are driven from the coal. The principle of altering the coal structure remains attractive. The major advantage of these dryers is the low gas flow. through the hollow screw and around the conveyor trough. Some of the water is driven off the coal in the liquid state. which results does have an enhanced transporting operation process. hot oil in a bath the desired Coal drying investigated. The process tubular Koppelman process is a proprietary. and the the coal use in about heating 5% surface moisture. The heat conducted to the coal by the conveyor surface evaporates moisture. the coal structure is altered. thus. However. value that improves The the final product economics of over long of extruders distances. environment.Steam drying processes dry coal by heating it with steam under pressure. This results in minimal dust entrainment and less difficulty in meeting particulate emissions standards. At temperatures somewhat above those normally used in evaporative drying. which is carried away by a minimal gas flow. These processes use use conduction and/or radiation as the method of heat transfer. In oil for a time through direct this process. such as screw that are heated by recirculating a heat transfer medium. high-pressure slurry. Among these conveyors. and stabilizes properties treatment. the of lump. For western coal. mechanical transport emissions than-ideal standpoint. the process energy requirements are reduced. The steam-drying (1500 psig) process heats and from coal with a coal to temperatures above those used in evaporative drying partially pyrolyzes the coal.

fluidize both beds. to system was efficiently designed remove specifically for inherent moisture curve). ib/hr of moist coal and carbon dioxide supplied was used The drying IFB dryer (i. Wyoming. The was gas beds the were beds to to isolate pneumatically. steam filtration has found no application in the West. of in The major problem associated with Hot oil reactor steam hot oil drying is separation may find application the coal conversion however. under The development key element as an axis. Feed enters and flows down the plug flow. The final step in the mechanical dewatering of fine coals after wet beneficiation processes is typically a vacuum filtration process. Steam filtration is a thermal process in which dewatering of filtercake is enhanced by the addition of heat supplied by steam. Solids transport and the fluidizing gas moves perpendicular transport. the formation Very of a rapid heat condensation transfer front allowing for easier basically involves which steam can be in the composed capillary bed of condensed steam and residual the pores of the directly into the liquid. processes where the for drying necessary. Steam filtration covering the filter with a suitable hood through introduced results in to the cake. the reducing steam of filtration will western coals. This gradient and western during coal the falling-rate portion of the drying providing a high moisture-concentration 54 is accomplished by successively higher . probably preparation at An the inclined Western fluidized-bed (IFB) drying process is Research Institute in Laramie. will be from the drying oil. little significance in capable of Therefore. inherent western moisture coal-drying as well be as of technologies must be surface moisture. The addition of heat to the filter cake lowers interstitial surface tension and increases fluidity of the water in the cake removal at the vacuum filter. however. Steam filtration has proven to be an effective method for reducing the moisture content of the filter cake that results from cleaning of coal fines. and the second bed acts as a cooler. This condensation front effectively seals filter cake. extremely inexpensive oil coal. of the inclined fluidized bed is a gas distributor elongated rectangle and inclined from the horizontal This distributor plate separates a gas-inlet plenum disengaging space above. because virtually no western coal is washed. of solids essentially the direction The bench-scale tests were conducted in a dryer that consists of two identical inclined fluidized beds. The beds used in the tests were 60 inches separated long with by a distributor pair of areas lock-hopper of about valves 0.content (Severson 1972). To be practical. This process is used for removing surface moisture added in fine-coal-washing circuits.e. utility drying is fed an with a coal-oil slurry. The first bed acts as a dryer. is to plate shaped on its long below and a particle outlets are arranged plate. and prevents raw steam from passing filter drainage (Dahlstrom and Silverblatt 1973).. Fluidizing-gas inlets and to provide gas flow perpendicular to the distributor the bed at the elevated end of the distributor incline to the lower exit. A feed rate of ten the upper bed by a screw feeder.4 to ft 2.

which decreases the problems of dust entrainment and particle-size degradation. The oxidation rate spontaneous combustion. Design of the IFB system also addresses many of the safety and operational problems associated with thermal coal dryers. The dried coal ignition than the feed coal. The upgrading However. operation. in stability coal particle indicates liability the oxidation rate toward size spontaneous is decreased toward decreased. The pilot-plant production is 2.690-8. increase product is likely to (Boysen 1990). at a scale The Hitachi drying process seems very promising. allow comparison . The moisture was reduced to 8. It addresses two coals: spontaneous complicated from a may be attainable it to the particle the particle. The plug flow characteristic of the bed allows successively higher temperatures and continuous exposure of the coal to hot. is generated The coal in the carbonizer unit. The beds operate with minimal fluidization. Yamamoto dustiness and the quantity of fine coal is increased slightly. respectively.7-30.812.6 tons per day with a raw coal feed of 3. the potential for fires and explosions is eliminated. and Ambient the dryer humidity conditions has no moving parts. Similar product properties with processes that mobilize the coal tar and exude surface However.610 Btu/lb. conventional Fugitive processes dust emissions air and the dried be coal Research dried to The dried or coal drying are much lower coal lower than from the feed coal. process. (1986) claims that even though particle size is is not increased above that of the raw coal. The fluidized state allows for high heat and mass transfer coefficients. combustion by this an increase coal. there. sufficient without these to actually processes removing have with 55 the not the tar and recoating been demonstrated Hitachi process. decreased. is developing low-rank coals. cause problems the danger of fires and explosions is more susceptible to spontaneous it has not been determined if this in storage and handling of the Hitachi Ltd. do not affect the dryer Bench-scale testing of the IFB dryer at the Western Institute demonstrated that coal fines (minus 28 mesh) can less than 1 wt % moisture with less than 15 wt % elutriation. The process is somewhat mechanical standpoint. and has been minimized. of the major concerns associated with dried low-rank ignition and dustiness.9 tons per day. dry gas to carry the moisture out of the dryer.3% and 7. This over suggests the raw at 45oC (113"F) In these tests.9%. product absorbs significantly less moisture using from than the feed dried with temperatures. By operating with recycled carbon dioxide gas. a drying process specifically to upgrade is based upon a combination of drying and Raw coal is fed to a dryer and then to a 349-399°C tar that (660-7500F). A pilot plant was constructed to test the process after successful laboratory-scale batch testing. and the heating value of the product was 10. it is heated to is then cooled and coated with the carbonization process. An upgraded product was produced using feed moisture and heating values of 24.780-11. however.960 Btu/lh. The process low-temperature carbonization.temperatures as the coal passes through the dryer.

However. has an improved heat value. Several basic developed over the years for coals similar to those in the methods have been devised beginning with the Fleissner process and progressing through the various fluidized-bed driers now being developed. substantially purified product that retains a substantial portion of its volatile content. minimized product-size degradation. rather adequate 56 . A large number of devices have been reducing the moisture content of low-rank western United States. Typically. Sufficient heat is added to maintain the recycled gas in a superheated condition. technologies have long been used quality solid fuels. Some processes. In the last sixty years. The production and sale of low-rank coal briquettes in the United States has seen minimal development. costs. and the process has been developed to a high level of maturity through the application of experience gained over the years.A drying process for low-rank coal patented by Western Energy (1988) claims to remove a substantial portion of the coal moisture and other impurities including sulfur. low initial and operating and maximized product use on western coal. The coal is subjected to a superheated gaseous medium. may temperatures of briquetting consists of form an agglomerated mass. substantially desorbing the moisture from the coal. Briquetting and pelletizing to convert low-rank coal into higher high-moisture coal can be converted to and or for or pellet that has increased heating value handling characteristics. thereby. stability will be a major accomplishment for Briquettinq and Pelletizinq. The pellets carbonized to create a smokeless fuel of as at The process particles to asphalt. extrusion presses operate at pressures of about 10 ton/inch 2 without additional binder. practiced commercially for over two hundred Briquetting years. Briquetting is commonly conducted high [0-66"C (100-150OF)] to enhance the plasticity of the coal particles. but no one process has gained significant acceptance over the others. but this is largely than due a to lack the of lack of a domestic technology market for the (Gronhovd et al. or may not sufficiently be applying pressure to a mass An additional binder. A portion of the superheated gases is recycled back through the coal being dried. based upon hot water or high-temperature steam. The friable a hard compact briquette improved storage and briquettes are commonly domestic use. may be applicable to the preparation of dried coal slurries for pipeline transport. many patents have been issued for various methods of drying low-rank coals. The processes demonstration too expensive for of an environmentally drying coal acceptable drying process with minimal process severity. product 1982). the high pressures required and the difficulties encountered in moving solids in and out of high-pressure reactors will probably transported render these by rail. such added. The process claims to produce a dried. and will not reabsorb subEtantial moisture when transported and stored (Western Energy 1988). Double roll presses operate at about 1 ton/inch 2 and an additional binder is commonly required (Berkowitz has been 1979).

content of with its associated costs. Some of these factors are related to the coals characteristics. for which all product properties are improved. Briquetting can be used to generate a valuable. Briquetting can produce a highly stable and highly uniform solid fuel. the rolling motion forms an agglomerated material. for which the main improvements are to already-acceptable. and moisture with handling and storage of western low-rank 1981). The pellets formed on the disc (greenballs) are then fed to a drier where the moisture content is reduced. Raw coal is mixed with a binder and discharged onto a rotating pelletizing disc. the processes are more applicable to lignites. than to subbituminous coals. 1986) may help improve the economics of pelletizing processes and make them more desirable as a means of upgrading low-rank coals. nor eastern markets. implications of replacing sulfur western coal. the pellets are the most The need of an high moisture important problems associated with pelletizing subbituminous coals. characteristics of western coal that limit its be use used to modify in the eastern 57 . Currently. Coal-derived humic acid binders (Wen et al. Pelletizing eliminates the problems absorption associated coals (Bechtel National produces a stable and uniform fuel product and of dustiness. rather a cost-effective method of eliminating the and storage problems associated with western added binder. and others are political or geographic. Many of the problems currently associated with the storage. low-rank and the has not yet gained commercial acceptance in the United but it does offer transportation. although not ideal. BEST TECHNOLOGIES FOR UPGRADIEGWESTERN COAL As a clean ever-increasing low-sulfur share of the utility fuel. Considerable moisture must be left in the pellets to retain acceptable strength. The use of western coal is currently limited by several factors. Pelletizing States. handling. Coal preparation cannot change the part of the high-sulfur eastern coal can it bring the western coal fields political with lowcloser to the Appropriate preparation techniques can. and use of low-rank coals can be mitigated by appropriate briquetting technologies.The use of briquetting to stabilize dried western coal against moisture reabsorption and spontaneous ignition may find increasing application in the future. but it does not represent a significant decrease for Subbituminous coal. handling and storage characteristics. easily transportable product from coal fines and may prove valuable in the production of high-grade solid fuel for the export market. coals. handling. however. Pelletizing processes use conditions that are much less severe than those used in briquetting processes. The moisture content of the pellet is significantly lower than that of raw lignite. spontaneous ignition. western coal coal market as environmental should gain awareness an and the demand for electricity continue to increase through the 1990s.

whereas the steam flow obtained coal normally used and the raw provided the same maximum steam raw with Montana coal the Illinois provided coal.0% 12. Illinois Montana.7% 29.2% 8. high reactivity and weathering characteristics increase the difficulty of handling and storing western coal. (3) reduce boiler operating and maintenance costs. is the high moisture content of western coal. R.7 <1. The dried Montana coal the the Illinois maximum coal. Most boilers produced utility to burn companies east of the Mississippi River have coal of lower moisture than the coals commonly in the West. about Tests were conducted of the twin boilers used with the Montana coals. Table 5.O. Dried western Decker. and boiler unit.United means States. are areas with the greatest potential to offset preparation Tests conducted by Commonwealth Edison at its Pekin.470 0. In addition to increasing the heating value of moisture reduction can (1) lower transportation costs. Second in importance. the other was One fed 58 .2% 15. Table of upgrading 5 illustrates the value western subbituminous of thermal coal to drying meet as a coal specifications significant of of eastern electric the characteristics of utilities. and largely responsible for the low heating value.400 0. (2) improve burning qualities of the coal. The use of raw western coal in these boilers has required derating of boiler capacity that can be very costly at demand. Reduction of transportation costs on a per Btu basis and increased boiler capabilities costs. Finally.0% 6. R.O.0% -12.230 Moisture western coal electric designed reduction can and eliminate significantly many problems increase associated the heating value of with its use. was coal.M.6 6. in a B&W cyclone 850-MW twin the normal Illinois coal. Tests burned compared successfully the burning of thermal subbituminous in boilers characteristics designed to use of this dried Montana flow as 92% of coal with those of the Illinois coal. a significant times of peak western coals. and Thermal-Drled for mn Powder Eastern River Basin Coal with Coal 8po=iflcatlons Utility PP&L Montour Specs. River Powder Basin Coal Thermal PRB Coal Dried Station Sulfur Ash Moisture Btu/lh 2. drying coal as a from steam-electric power station confirmed the value means of upgrading western coals. Perhaps the most western subbituminous coals is the low heating value.48% 4.M. Illinois. and (4) increase boiler capability.

research can and sulfur . of Utilities reportedly The results of Commonwealth Edison tests. Department for $14/ton F. special constraint for the use of dried western Dried Amax Coal coal and various Belle blends Ayr mine of run-of-mine have been storage. 10 to 12% moisture.This evaluation encountered the open existing Illinois and Jensen allowed instant comparison of operating data and a good of the dried coal performance. of dried western coals was be successfully wan controlled.3% sulfur. however. These tests showed that the transported and stored. increase the fully offset to the oil and increasing of by the increase treatment. An the stability upgrading western in the improved of dried coal by desirability RECOMMENDED AREAS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH Extensive research has been conducted into advanced coal preparation technologies. with and the U. could not handle the amount of dried coal dust (Wegert 1976). Western coal benefits little from these efforts. Currently. drying improve and with by capability maintenance. to burn other coals. (Glass 1990). long-term Bureau of storage Mines. Compaction does not constitute coal. which is marginal with the coal. and 0. several areas in which additional coal preparation be of great benefit to western coal use. The combined cost of the treatment oil and the equipment needed to store and apply the oil is typically not product heating value attributable method for reducing the dustiness western thermal coal will drying. improve boiler coal-conveying problems clearly for the the best available utility market. air cars resulted leakage around in hot spots. and capacity and reduce efficiency associated technology wet coal.O. Coal heating however. therefore.S. bottom-dump piles was is a In conjunction railroad transport tested. Orders for blended and dried coal show that this product is acceptable. and dried coals at from Company's test-burned several facilities. and other coal can be used Thermal costs. reduce transportation factor. The only operational problem with the dried subbituminous coal was excessive dusting in conveyor runs and transfer points into the coal silos. Grand Forks Station. oil-spray treatment is the most viable method for dealing with the dust problems associated with dried western coal. Western coal is already low in sulfur. Mineral-matter 59 There are. Thermal drying is which to upgrade western coal one major problem with the use of dried western coal is excessive dustiness.B. Nebraska. burns. dried coal could during uhipment poorly fitting Compaction doors in some of the storage required to prevent heating and fires during used with any raw coal storage and. most of which have a goal of decreasing precombustion sulfur levels.400 Btu/lh. Amax test benchand pilot-scale tests suggest that dried western successfully can increase boiler reduce in boilers the heating designed value. The vacuum dust-suppression system. Dried coal for a test sold burn by the Fremont. and almost no western subbituminous coal is given more extensive preparation than crushing to size. The Amax dried coal product has a heating value of about 10.

the process should be safe and environmentally sound (i.e. but many contributing factors have been identified. Finally.reduction are the moisture reduction preparation. A more utilitarian approach to the problem of spontaneous combustion may be of significant immediate value to the western coal industry. should Those be technologies that exhibit the greatest potential should be advanced to the demonstration stage and carefully evaluated in terms of process economics and the above-listed criteria. The process should be a continuous one that can dry large coal particles (UP to 1. Fundamental research in the area of spontaneous combustion has not produced a complete understanding of the mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon.5 or 2 inch}. will greatly benefit the western coal producers. western coal dried under these conditions will quickly reabsorb moisture to near its predried level upon exposure to high humidity (Willson et al. 1987}. However. whereas keys to western coal Thermal drying clearly offers the greatest potential for upgrading western coal. Currently carefully available and developing coal examined for their potential to drying technologies meet these criteria. particularly as the use of coal drying Current methods of determining equilibrium moisture are comparing the tendency of various coals toward moisture 60 . Research directed toward developing a standardized testing method. The process should be mechanically simple and maximize the use of proven standard industrial components. McMorris 1963}. key and elements product of eastern coal stability are the preparation. useful for coal industry. in the area of Drying tends product stability correlate to increase the magnitude of some of the handling and storage problems that are commonly associated with western low-rank coals such as spontaneous combustion and excessive dustiness. which can be used to predict the pyrophoricity of a given coal under specific ambient conditions. Solutions that are sufficient for the handling of raw western coal may not be acceptable if the coal has been dried. The dried coal should be stable against spontaneous ignition and excessive dustiness when handled and stored by conventional methods. The development of an appropriate drying technology for western coal will be of major significance in increasing the marketability of this resource. Research closely with activities coal drying. Most of the dryers operating in the United States were designed to remove surface moisture from bituminous coal. however. while retaining particle strength and integrity. An improved method of determining equilibrium moisture will benefit the western increases. The key goal of research activities in western coal preparation should be the development and demonstration of an economical moisturereduction process that is capable of generating a dried coal with a minimal tendency toward moisture reabsorption. Surface moisture can be effectively removed without heating the coal particles above 100"C (212"F. generating environmentally inert byproducts with minimized disposal problems).. conventional coal-drying technologies all exhibit some problems when applied to this resource.

absorption. Tightening environmental regulations and the efficiency make it increasingly difficult for variations in pelletizing may coal preparation fuel quality. 61 . and methods product are needed. briquetting or application as the final step in many generate a premium fuel from raw coal. Different methods of assessing capital costs. Research is warranted on the use of briquetting as a means of providing a highly stable solid fuel that has uniform and predictable burning. and the proprietary nature of some economic data make a consistent cost comparison of upgrading technologies impossible. Development of a standard method that can be used predict equilibrium moisture under various ambient conditions typical different parts of the country will be a valuable tool to be used optimizing drying operations. multiple use of various ancillary equipment. Research aimed at the development of methods for transporting of to of in and - storing ultrafine coal will benefit the entire mining and preparation methods are continually ultrafine coal that is produced. The economic figures available for the various upgrading technologies suggested for western coal are difficult to interpret. these methods are of little value for predicting the moisture content of a given coal under various real conditions storage and use. find increasing processes that need coal to optimize boiler users to tolerate In the near future. coal industry. a good deal of the production is devoted to the domestic solid-fuels market. increasing the to efficiently Modern amount of use this Briquetting and pelletization are used extensively in other countries. crushing. and handling characteristics. However. Because a significant domestic market is lacking. interest in briquetting is minimal in the United States. A standardized economic evaluation of available and proposed technologies for upgrading western coals will of great value as the use of this resource increases.

for funding also wish to information DI_IMER Mention information brand. and brand names does not imply or models endorsement of equipment is for of any particular 62 . under contract number DE-FC21-86MC11076.S. We extend our thanks to the western used in the preparation of this coal producers report. who provided to the U. of specific only.&CKIOWLEDGMERT8 The authors wish to express their sincere appreciation Department of Energy. Morgantown Energy Technology Center this work.

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