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Hydrophobic Dewatering of Fine Coal. Topical report, March 1, 1995-March 31, 1997

Description: Many advanced fine coal cleaning technologies have been developed in recent years under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy. However, they are not as widely deployed in industry as originally anticipated. An important reason for this problem is that the cleaned coal product is difficult to dewater because of the large surface area associated with fine particles. Typically, mechanical dewatering, such as vacuum filtration and centrifugation, can reduce the moisture to 20-35% level, while thermal drying is costly. To address this important industrial problem, Virginia Tech has developed a novel dewatering process, in which water is displaced from the surface of fine particulate materials by liquid butane. Since the process is driven by the hydrophobic interaction between coal and liquid butane, it was referred to as hydrophobic dewatering (HD). A fine coal sample with 21.4 pm median size was subjected to a series of bench-scale HD tests. It was a mid-vol bituminous coal obtained from the Microcel flotation columns operating at the Middle Fork coal preparation plant, Virginia. All of the test results showed that the HD process can reduce the moisture to substantially less than 10%. The process is sensitive to the amount of liquid butane used in the process relative to the solids concentration in the feed stream. Neither the intensity nor the time of agitation is critical for the process. Also, the process does not require long time for phase separation. Under optimal operating conditions, the moisture of the fine coal can be reduced to 1% by weight of coal.
Date: December 31, 1997
Creator: Yoon, R.; Sohn, S.; Luttrell, J. & Phillips, D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department