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Developments in Coal-Liquid Mixtures

AUTHOR: Kelly Thambimuthu
DATE: April 1994

This report by Kelly Thambimuthu reviews recent developments in the production and use of coal water fuels CWF) which have advanced the technology to near commercial status. Commercial viability is prejudiced by the currently low world oil prices. However, CWF exhibits significant technical benefits as an alternative clean coal technology option to traditional run of mine or washed coals. The production of CWF incorporating advanced physical coal cleaning processes in an integrated minemouth coal washers significantly reduces costs and produces the lowest quantity of environmentally polluting wastes in the overall coal utilisation cycle.

CWT can be stored, handled and transported in an environmentally benign way. They can also be readily used in a variety of applications: for instance in some conventional coal and compact oil-designed furnaces; in coal-fired diesel engines; and in advanced combined cycle processes based on the pressurised combustion or gasification of coal. In several of these applications, coal-water fuels additionally offer an increased thermodynamic cycle efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. They may also be more amenable to the use of relatively inexpensive technologies for the control of acid rain emissions in combination with upstream coal cleaning to remove the mineral bound sulphur. It is concluded that CWF may be an economically viable alternative to the use of traditional run of mine or washed coals in a market place subjected to increasingly more stringent environmental regulations.