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NUST MISIS develops new evaluation process to determine quality of coal

Sputnik | Updated: 2017-06-02 13:37

Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology MISIS (NUST MISIS) have studied and described the processes taking place in coal being extracted from mines.

The results of their work will make it possible to more accurately assess intra-coal changes during storage, transportation and use, to predict spontaneous combustion risks and to calculate factual heat release properties. They have published an article containing the research results in the influential journal, Fuel, published by the analytics company/publishing group Elsevier.

The properties of extracted coal tend to deteriorate slowly after extraction because of atmospheric influence, fluctuating temperature and humidity levels. The quality of coal is impaired by various processes, and coal may lose up to 20 percent of its heat release properties during combustion.

Coal consumption is therefore higher than necessary, leading to higher heat and power generating costs. Specific waste volumes also increase, thus increasing air pollution. This is why new mechanisms for appraising intra-coal processes and coal properties are needed to more effectively use minerals after they have been mined.

NUST MISIS is implementing a large and comprehensive project to study the structure of coals, their properties, and their "behavior" during the entire cycle, from mining to incineration. The published results are only a small part of this work.

"Our laboratory has been studying coals for over ten years," said Professor and DSC (Technology) Svetlana Epstein, who is in charge of the project and the Physical Chemistry of Coals Laboratory.

"We are developing new approaches to evaluating the structure and quality of fossil coals, and are searching for new non-fuel coal processing technologies and a methodology for assessing the safety of coal mining and utilization technologies. We are also evaluating possible long-term coal-use options, including the creation of new coal-based materials."

One approach primarily uses a modified thermal gravimetry method to analyze coal samples. Experts observe the coal disintegration process during rising ambient temperatures and inside an inert medium utilizing argon gas. According to the scientists, new approaches for studying the coal-oxidization mechanism could seriously influence the development of the Russian coal industry, its pricing policies on the coal market and the environment of coal-mining regions.

The data will help determine the state of coals during extraction, storage and use. This will boost the efficiency of coal as a fuel and as chemical-industry feedstock.

These new methods will also help compile a classification system for coal products and have the potential to make the coal market more civilized and transparent. This research has already resulted in over 25 national and interstate standards in the area of solid-state mineral fuel and activated charcoals.

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