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Concept: Bituminous coal


The present study investigated the utilization of an industrial by-product, lignite fly ash, in oil pollution treatment, with the further potential profit of energy production. The properties of lignite fly ash, such as fine particle size, porosity, hydrophobic character, combined with the properties, such as high porosity and low specific gravity, of an agricultural by-product, namely sawdust, resulted in an effective oil-sorbent material. The materials were mixed either in the dry state or in aqueous solution. The oil sorption behaviour of the fly ash-sawdust mixtures was investigated in both marine and dry environments. Mixtures containing fly ash and 15-25% w/w sawdust performed better than each material alone when added to oil spills in a marine environment, as they formed a cohesive semi-solid phase, adsorbing almost no water, floating on the water surface and allowing total oil removal. For the clean-up of an oil spill 0.5 mm thick with surface area 1000 m(2), 225-255 kg of lignite fly ash can be utilized with the addition of 15-25% w/w sawdust. Fly ash-sawdust mixtures have also proved efficient for oil spill clean-up on land, since their oil sorption capacity in dry conditions was at least 0.6-1.4 g oil g(-1) mixture. The higher calorific value of the resultant oil-fly ash-sawdust mixtures increased up to that of bituminous coal and oil and exceeded that of lignite, thereby encouraging their utilization as alternative fuels especially in the cement industry, suggesting that the remaining ash can contribute in clinker production.

Concepts: Exxon Valdez oil spill, Water, Mediterranean Sea, Bituminous coal, Energy, Oil spill, Coal, Petroleum


Activated carbon (AC) amendment is a recently developed sediment remediation method. The strong hydrophobic organic contaminant sorption efficiency of AC has been shown in several studies, but effects on benthic organisms require more investigation. The AC induced effects on egestion rate, growth and reproduction of Lumbriculus variegatus were studied by applying bituminous coal based AC in three different particle size fractions, namely <63 μm (90%, AC(p)), 63-200 μm (AC(m)) and 1000 μm (AC(g)), to natural uncontaminated (HS) and artificial sediment (AS). Egestion rate, growth and reproduction decreased with increasing AC concentration and finer AC particle fractions, effects being stronger on HS than on AS sediment. Lipid content in AS was reduced already at the lowest AC doses applied (AC(p) and AC(m) 0.05%, AC(g) 0.25%). In addition, hormesis-like response was observed in growth (AS) and reproduction (AS, HS) indicating that AC may disturb organisms even at very low doses. Potential ecological effects need to be further evaluated in an amendment- and site-specific manner.

Concepts: Sedimentary rock, Bituminous coal, Life, Activated carbon, Lumbriculus variegatus, Anthracite, Carbon, Coal


The Pliocene lignite hypothesis is an environmental hypothesis that has been proposed to explain the etiology of Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN). Aqueous leaching experiments were conducted on a variety of coal samples in order to simulate groundwater leaching of organic compounds, and to further test the role of the Pliocene lignite hypothesis in the etiology of BEN. Experiments were performed on lignite coal samples from endemic BEN areas in Romania and Serbia, and lignite and bituminous coals from nonendemic regions in Romania and the USA. Room temperature, hot water bath, and Soxhlet aqueous extraction experiments were conducted between 25 and 80 °C, and from 5 to 128 days in duration. A greater number of organic compounds and in higher concentrations were present in all three types of leaching experiments involving endemic area Pliocene lignite samples compared to all other coals examined. A BEN causing molecule or molecules may be among phenols, PAHs, benzenes, and/or lignin degradation compounds. The proposed transport pathway of the Pliocene lignite hypothesis for organic compound exposure from endemic area Pliocene lignite coals to well and spring drinking water, is likely. Aromatic compounds leached by groundwater from Pliocene lignite deposits in the vicinity of endemic BEN areas may play a role in the etiology of the disease. A better understanding of organic compounds leached by groundwater from Pliocene lignite deposits may potentially lead to the identification and implementation of effective strategies for the prevention of exposure to the causative agent(s) for BEN, and in turn, prevention of the disease.

Concepts: Carbon, Coal assay, Lignite, Causality, Water, Chemistry, Bituminous coal, Coal


During the cokemaking process, a significant amount of mercury occurring in a coal blend is released to the atmosphere. One of the ways of reducing this emission is to reduce mercury content in a coal blend. This could be obtained through the coal washing process. The optimization of this process requires the knowledge of mercury occurrence in coal, especially in its inorganic constituents. A qualitative analysis of mercury occurrence in the inorganic constituents of Polish coking coals was performed using an electron probe microanalyzer (EPMA). For that purpose, selected samples of rejects and middling products derived from the washing process in dense media separators and jig concentrators were examined. The obtained results have confirmed a strong connection between mercury occurrence and the presence of sulfides (pyrite, marcasite, and chalcopyrite) in Polish coking coals. Significant amounts of mercury were also noticed for barite, siderite, and aluminosilicates. The highest value of mercury content, at the level of 0.100%, was obtained for marcasite. For the analyzed coals, the effectiveness of mercury removal in the washing process was determined by the forms of pyrite occurring in coal. The highest values of effectiveness of mercury removal were obtained in the case of coals for which the large framboidal pyrite aggregates with chalcopyrite overgrowths were noticed. It was also found that middling products were characterized by the occurrence of the Hg-rich overgrowths of pyrite on organic matter. To achieve a significant reduction in mercury content in clean coal, it is necessary to develop an effective method of removing this form of pyrite from hard coal.

Concepts: Blast furnace, Mineral, Charcoal, Bituminous coal, Carbon, Atmosphere, Pyrite, Coal


Opencast bituminous coal mining invariably generates huge amount of metal-polluted waste rocks (stored as overburden (OB) dumps) and reclaimed by planting fast growing hardy tree species which accumulate metals in their tissues. In the present study, reclaimed OB dumps located in Jharia coal field (Jharkhand, India) were selected to assess the accumulation of selected metals (Pb, Zn, Mn, Cu and Co) in tissues (leaf, stem bark, stem wood, root bark and root wood) of two commonly planted tree species (Acacia auriculiformis A.Cunn. ex Benth. and Melia azedarach L.). In reclaimed mine soil (RMS), the concentrations of pseudo-total and available metals (DTPA-extractable) were found 182-498 and 196-1877% higher, respectively, than control soil (CS). The positive Spearman’s correlation coefficients between pseudo-total concentration of Pb and Cu (r = 0.717; p < 0.05), Pb and Co (r = 0.650; p < 0.05), Zn and Mn (0.359), Cu and Co (r = 0.896; p < 0.01) suggested similar sources for Pb-Cu-Co and Mn-Zn. Among the five tree tissues considered, Pb selectively accumulated in root bark, stem bark and leaves; Zn and Mn in leaves; and Cu in root wood and stem wood. These results suggested metal accumulation to be "tissue-specific". The biological indices (BCF, TFleaf, TFstem bark and TFstem wood) indicated variation in metal uptake potential of different tree tissues. The study indicated that A. auriculiformis could be employed for Mn phytoextraction (BCF, TFleaf, TFstem bark and TFstem wood > 1). The applicability of both the trees in Cu phytostabilization (BCF > 1; TFleaf, TFstem bark and TFstem wood < 1) was suggested. The study enhanced knowledge about the selection of tree species for the phytoremediation of coal mine OB dumps and specific tree tissues for monitoring metal pollution.

Concepts: Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, Bituminous coal, Melia azedarach, Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, Coal mining, Anthracite, Tree, Coal


In this work, the influences of gasification temperature and blended ratio on co-gasification reactivity and synergy of Shenfu bituminous coal (SF) and municipal solid waste-derived hydrochar (HTC) were investigated using TGA. Additionally, active alkaline and alkaline earth metal (AAEM) transformation during co-gasification was quantitatively analyzed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer for correlating synergy on co-gasification reactivity. The results showed that higher char gasification reactivity existed at higher HTC char proportion and gasification temperature, and the main synergy behaviour on co-gasification reactivity was performed as synergistic effect. Enhanced synergistic effect at lower temperature was mainly resulted from more obviously inhibiting the primary AAEM (i.e. active Ca) transformation, and weak synergistic effect still existed at higher temperature since more active K with prominent catalysis was retained. Furthermore, more active HTC-derived AAEM remaining in SF sample during co-gasification would lead to enhanced synergistic effect as HTC char proportion increased.

Concepts: Calcium, Bituminous coal, Anthracite, Alkali, Synergy, Alkaline earth metal, Metal, Coal


Natural bituminous coal was used as a precursor in the synthesis of different modified products. The modification of coal was performed by treating it with nitric acid (N-coal), coating its surface by zinc oxide nanoparticles (Z-coal), and converting it into porous graphite (PG). The effect of modification processes on the structures, morphologies, and optical properties was followed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectrum (FT-IR), and UV/VIS spectrophotometer analysis. The surface of N-coal grains becomes smoother than the surface of raw coal grains due to the removal of the associated impurities and the formation of nitrogen function groups. For Z-coal, the whole surface of coal grains appears to be completely covered by agglomerated ZnO nanoparticles of massive density and irregular shapes. The average crystallite size of the formed ZnO is ~22.2 nm and density of dislocations is 2.029 × 10(-3) dislocation/nm(2). Also, the removal of safranin-T dye by natural bituminous coal and its modified forms was investigated as a function of contact time, adsorbent mass, initial dye concentration, and pH value. At pH 8, the PG showed higher efficiency (96%) than Z-coal (93.5%), N-coal (74.5%), and natural coal (62%) after 2 h for 0.1 g on 100 mg/L dye. The obtained results are well fitted by pseudo-second-order kinetic than by intraparticle diffusion and Elovich kinetic models for the adsorption by N-coal, Z-coal, and PG, whereas the adsorption by raw coal is well fitted with both pseudo-second-order and Elovich kinetic models. The Langmuir isotherm model fits well the equilibrium adsorption isotherm of safranin by raw coal and its modified forms. The values of maximum adsorption capacity were calculated for raw coal, N-coal, Z-coal, and PG to be 21.3, 27.4, 32.46, and 33.67 mg/g, respectively. A monolayer model with one energy and a monolayer model with two energies as advanced equilibrium models were investigated for more physical interpretation of the adsorption process. The calculated parameters (number of adsorbed molecules per site and number of receptor sites per unit mass) reflected the role of modification processes in the adsorption behavior of safranin. Graphical abstract High volatile bituminous coal and its modified forms have been used for the removal of Safranin-T dye from aqueous solution.

Concepts: Anthracite, Coal, Concentration, Scanning electron microscope, Fourier transform spectroscopy, Bituminous coal, Spectroscopy, Adsorption


The potential for modern coalfield methanogenesis was assessed using formation water from the Illinois Basin, Powder River Basin, and Cook Inlet gas field as inocula for nutrient-replete incubations amended with C1-C5 fatty acids as presumed intermediates formed during anaerobic coal biodegradation. Instead of the expected rapid mineralization of these substrates, methanogenesis was inordinately slow (∼1 μmol•day-1), following long lag periods (>100 day), and methane yields typically did not reach stoichiometrically expected levels. However, a gene microarray confirmed the potential for a wide variety of microbiological functions, including methanogenesis, at all sites. The Cook Inlet incubations produced methane at a relatively rapid rate when amended with butyrate (r = 0.98; p = 0.001) or valerate (r = 0.84; p = 0.04), a result that significantly correlated with the number of positive mcr gene sequence probes from the functional gene microarray and was consistent with the in situ detection of C4-C5 alkanoic acids. This finding highlighted the role of syntrophy for the biodegradation of the softer lignite and subbituminous coal in this formation, but methanogenesis from the harder subbituminous and bituminous coals in the other fields was less apparent. We conclude that coal methanogenesis is probably not limited by the inherent lack of metabolic potential, the presence of alternate electron acceptors, or the lack of available nutrients, but more likely restricted by the inherent recalcitrance of the coal itself.

Concepts: Nutrition, Sub-bituminous coal, Butyric acid, Bacteria, Powder River Basin, Anaerobic digestion, Bituminous coal, Coal


The aim of this work was to study the thermal properties and interactions during co-combustion of rape straw (RS) before and after water-washing with bituminous coal. A series of experiments was conducted to investigate the properties and interactions during co-combustion of RS with bituminous coal (at 10, 20, 40 and 60% RS). The feasibility and potential of water-washing as an RS pre-treatment was also explored. Reactivity and the amount of heat released followed a quadratic trend, while changes to the degree of interactions between the fuels conformed to a cosine curve. Water-washing increased the ignition and burn-out temperatures and slightly decreased reactivity. Demineralization negatively affected the previously synergistic co-firing relationship, nevertheless, the amount of heat released increased by 10.28% and the average activation energy (146kJ/mol) was lower than that of the unwashed blend (186kJ/mol). Overall, water-washing of RS could prove a useful pre-treatment before co-combustion with bituminous coal.

Concepts: Lignite, Bituminous coal, Anthracite, Coke, Temperature, Coal, Energy, Heat


Physicochemical evolution (i.e. pore structure variation, carbon structure change and active AAEM transformation) during rice straw (RS) and Shenfu bituminous coal (SF) co-pyrolysis was quantitatively determined in this work. Moreover, the corresponding char gasification was conducted using a thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) and relative reactivity was proposed to quantify the co-pyrolysis impact on co-gasification reactivity. The results showed that the development of pore structure in co-pyrolyzed chars was first inhibited and then enhanced with the decrease of SF proportion. The promotion effect of co-pyrolysis on order degree of co-pyrolyzed chars gradually weakened with increasing RS proportion. Co-pyrolysis mainly enhanced active K transformation in co-pyrolyzed chars and the promotion effect was alleviated with increasing RS proportion. The inhibition effect of co-pyrolysis on co-gasification reactivity weakened with increasing RS proportion and gasification temperature, which was mainly attributed to the combination of carbon structure evolution and active AAEM transformation in co-pyrolysis.

Concepts: Straw, Bituminous coal, Carbon, Anthracite, Coal