Technology for the Recovery of Fuel and Adsorbent Carbons from Coal Burning Utility Ash Ponds and Landfills

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Several sampling techniques were evaluated to recover representative core samples from the ash ponds at Western Kentucky Energy's Coleman Station. The most successful was a combination of continuous-flight augers and specially designed soft-sediment sampling tubes driven by a Hammerhead drill mounted on an amphibious ARGO vehicle. A total of 51 core samples were recovered and analyzed in 3 ft sections and it was determined that there are 1,354,974 tons of ash in Pond C. Of the over 1.35M tons of ash present, 14% or 190K tons can be considered as coarse (+100 mesh). Pond C contains approximately 88K tons of ... continued below

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Groppo, J.G. & Robl, T.L. September 30, 2005.

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Several sampling techniques were evaluated to recover representative core samples from the ash ponds at Western Kentucky Energy's Coleman Station. The most successful was a combination of continuous-flight augers and specially designed soft-sediment sampling tubes driven by a Hammerhead drill mounted on an amphibious ARGO vehicle. A total of 51 core samples were recovered and analyzed in 3 ft sections and it was determined that there are 1,354,974 tons of ash in Pond C. Of the over 1.35M tons of ash present, 14% or 190K tons can be considered as coarse (+100 mesh). Pond C contains approximately 88K tons of carbon, nearly half of which is coarse and potentially recoverable with spiral concentration while the fine carbon (-100 mesh) is recoverable with froth flotation. There are 1.27M tons of carbon-free ash, 12% of which is coarse and potentially usable as block sand. Spiral concentration testing on bulk samples showed that product grade of 30 to 38% C (4200 to 5500 Btu/lb) was obtainable. When this product was cleaned again in an additional stage of spiral concentration, the product grade was improved to 7200 to 8200 Btu/lb with an accompanying 13 to 29% decrease in yield. Release analysis of hydraulically classified pond ash showed that froth flotation could provide froth products with as high a grade as 9000 Btu/lb with a yield of 5%. Increasing yield to 10% reduced froth grade to 7000 Btu/lb. Batch flotation provided froth grades as high as 6500 Btu/lb with yields of 7% with 1.5 lb/ton SPP and 1 lb/ton frother. Column flotation test results were similar to those achieved in batch flotation in terms of both grade and yield, however, carbon recoveries were lower (<70%). High airflow rate was required to achieve >50% carbon recovery and using wash water improved froth grade. Bottom ash samples were recovered from each of the units at Coleman Station. Characterization confirmed that sufficient quantity and quality of material is generated to produce a marketable lightweight aggregate and recover a high-grade fuel product. Spiral concentration provided acceptable grade lightweight aggregate with yields of only 10 to 20%. Incorporating a sieve bend into the process to recover coarse, porous ash particles from the outside race of the spirals increased aggregate yield to as high as 75%, however, the carbon content of the aggregate also increased. An opening size of 28 mesh on the sieve bend appeared to be sufficient. Lightweight concrete blocks (28 to 32 lbs) were produced from bottom ash and results show that acceptable strength could be attained with a cement/concrete ratio as low as 1/4. A mobile Proof-of-Concept (POC) field unit was designed and fabricated to meet the processing objectives of the project. The POC plant consisted of two trailer-mounted modules and was completely self sufficient with respect to power and water requirements. The POC unit was hauled to Coleman Station and operated at a feed rate of 2 tph. Results showed that the spirals operated similarly to previous pilot-scale operations and a 500 lb composite sample of coarse carbon was collected with a grade of 51.7% C or 7279 Btu/lb. Flotation results compared favorably with release analysis and 500 lbs of composite froth product was collected with a grade of 35% C or 4925 Btu/lb. The froth product was dewatered to 39% moisture with vacuum filtration. Pan pelletization and briquetting were evaluated as a means of minimizing handling concerns. Rotary pan pelletization produced uniform pellets with a compressive strength of 4 lbf without the use of any binder. Briquettes were produced by blending the coarse and fine carbon products at a ratio of 1:10, which is the proportion that the two products would be produced in a commercial operation. Using 3% lime as a binder produced the most desirable briquettes with respect to strength, attrition and drop testing. Additionally, the POC carbon products compared favorably with commercial activated carbon when used for removal of mercury from simulated flue gas. A business model was generated to summarize anticipated costs incurred during the first year of operation of a 50 tph feed capacity plant. Using the best available data from a variety of sources, the business model showed that even when using conservative pricing and sales volume, the processing plant would be economically viable in the first year of operation. Not surprisingly, economic success would be sensitive to sales volume and pricing. In order to maximize both of these factors, it is imperative that high quality products be produced.

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  • Report No.: none
  • Grant Number: AC26-98FT40154
  • DOI: 10.2172/860884 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 860884
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc777149

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Creation Date

  • September 30, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 9:43 p.m.

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Groppo, J.G. & Robl, T.L. Technology for the Recovery of Fuel and Adsorbent Carbons from Coal Burning Utility Ash Ponds and Landfills, report, September 30, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc777149/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.