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Coal

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  • 1. Fossil Fuels Coal Coal Seam in Independence Park in Marquette Heights, IL . Power Lines from Coal Burning Power Plant in Pekin, IL
  • 2. Coal is cheap, plentiful and dirty -- as cheap as dirt, as plentiful as dirt, and as dirty as dirt -- since after all, coal is little more than dirt that burns.
  • 3. U.S. Coal Overview
    • United States' most abundant energy source.
    • 1.7 trillion tons of coal resources in the United States.
    • Potential reserves may be as high as 4 trillion tons.
    • 20 percent of the total world's recoverable coal. 
      • By comparison, Saudi Arabia has about 23 percent of the world's proven petroleum reserves.
    • At current domestic consumption levels, this is enough coal to last 300 years.
  • 4. Formation of Coal
  • 5. Formation of Coal
    • The formation of coal begins in a waterlogged environment (swamps and bogs) where plant debris accumulated.
    • In such an environment, the accumulation of plant debris exceeds the rate of bacterial decay of the debris.
    • The bacterial decay rate is reduced because the available oxygen in organic-rich water is completely used up by the decaying process.
    • Anaerobic (without oxygen) decay is much slower than aerobic decay.
  • 6. Formation of Coal
    • Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter.
    • For the peat to become coal, it must be buried by sediment.
    • 10 vertical feet of original peat material is required to produce 1 vertical foot of coal.
  • 7. Formation of Coal
    • Phase 1. Aerobic decay
    • In the first few inches of peat, aerobic (oxygen needing) bacterial decay reduces the volume by as much as 50%.
    • Because the water is stagnant and the peat is almost impermeable, the bacteria soon use up all the available oxygen and die, ending the first stage of decay.
  • 8. Formation of Coal
    • Phase 2. Anerobic decay
    • A second type of bacteria exists in the swamp that requires no oxygen. These anerobic bacteria continue the decay process reducing the volume still further.
    • Anerobic decay produces more acids and when the acidity gets too high, it kills off the remaining bacteria ending all decay .
  • 9. Formation of Coal
    • Phase 3. Bituminization
    • After the bacterial decay stages, the peat must be buried under thousands of feet of sediment that provides an insulating blanket trapping the natural heat rising to the surface.
    • Once the temperature reaches 100 ° C, (212 ° F) the bituminization process begins.
    • Chemical reactions drive off water, oxygen and hydrogen which raises the percentage of carbon.
  • 10. Formation of Coal
    • The stages of this trend proceed from plant debris through peat, lignite, sub-bituminous coal, bituminous coal, to anthracite coal.
    • Takes millions of years to convert peat to anthracite caol.
  • 11. Ranks of Coal Lignite Subbituminous Bituminous Anthracite Time of Formation 7000 BTU/lb 9,000 BTU/lb 12,000 BTU/lb 15,000 BTU/lb Low T, P High T, P Formation Conditions Lowest Grade U.S. Coal Highest Grade U.S. Coal % C
  • 12. Lignite
    • Lignite is a relatively young coal deposit that was not subjected to extreme heat or pressure.
    • Lowest rank of coal with the lowest energy content.
    • Lignite is crumbly and has high moisture content.
    • About eight percent of the coal produced in the United States
    • Mainly found in Western U.S.
  • 13. Subbituminous
    • Subbituminous coal typically contains 35-45 percent carbon, compared to 25-35 percent for lignite.
      • Thus is has a higher heating value than lignite.
    • Over 40 percent of the coal produced in the United States is subbituminous.
    • Mainly found in Western U.S.
    • Used in Central Illinois Coal Burning Power Plants.
  • 14. Bituminous Coal
    • Bituminous coal contains 45-86 percent carbon, and has two to three times the heating value of lignite.
    • It is the most abundant rank of coal found in the United States, accounting for about half of U.S. coal production.
    • Bituminous coal has a high Sulfur content and thus is the Lowest Grade U.S. coal deposit.
    • Illinois Coal!!!
  • 15. Anthracite
    • Anthracite contains 86-97 percent carbon and its heating value is slightly higher than bituminous coal.
    • Highest Grade Coal in U.S.
    • Low amount of Sulfur makes this a clean buring coal.
    • Anthracite is very rare in the United States (2% of overall production).
    • The only anthracite mines in the United States are located in northeastern Pennsylvania.
  • 16. Coal Forming Periods
    • Only 2 times in geologic history have the conditions been just right to form large coal deposits:
    • 300 million years ago ( Pennsylvanian Period )
      • What is now the Eastern and Midwestern United States was covered by a large marine swamp.
      • Low grade Bituminous Coal formed
    • 60 million years ago ( Paleocene Epoch )
      • What is now the Montana and Wyoming was covered by a large freshwater bog.
      • High grade Subbitiminous Coal and Lignite Coal Formed
  • 17. Coal Geology of Illinois
    • During Pennsylvanian Period, the Illinois was warm and humid, tropical environment.
    • Southern Illinois was covered by a shallow sea
    • North/central Illinois was a delta environment where rivers from the northern uplands drained into swamps along the coast
  • 18. Coal Formation in Illinois
    • The plants that made up the great delta swamp forests were buried by the river and ocean sediment and compacted through time to form coal.
    • The swamps periodically covered by marine sediment deposited by rising sea level.
    • Sulfur from the ocean water seeped into the peat buried below, resulting in low grade coal.
  • 19. Coal Formation in Illinois
    • The swamp pants that formed Illinois coal were not modern trees.
    • These plants were similar to modern weeds with thick exteriors and hollow interiors.
    • The modern ancestors of the coal forming plants are horsetails which grow along streams and lake in Illinois today.
    • The main difference is that the coal plants grew to almost 100 feet high and had bark 4X as thick as today’s trees.
  • 20. Coal Grade
    • Grade is measure of the amount of contaminants (“ash”, sulfur and trace elements) found in the coal.
    • Common sources of ash include wind blown dust, and volcanic ash.
    • A low grade coal has a high ash content (>7%).
    • Some of the ash contains trace elements which are toxic and/or radioactive.
  • 21. Coal Grade
    • Seventy-six trace elements are found in coal
    • Review the highlighted on the Periodic Table on the next slide.
      • blue , major elements (generally greater than 1.0 percent in abundance)
      • red , minor elements (generally greater than or equal to 0.01 percent)
      • yellow , trace elements (generally less than 0.001 percent)
    • Fifteen elements have been identified as potentially hazardous air pollutants (HAPs); green bars in their boxes indicate these fifteen elements.
  • 22. Coal Grade
  • 23. Coal Grade
    • The presence of sulfur also lowers the grade of the coal.
      • Sulfur can end up contributing to smog and acid rain upon combustion
    • Coal that was formed from swamps covered by sea (salt) water contain high amount of sulfur.
      • Common in Eastern U.S. Coals formed during the Pennsylvanian Period
    • Low sulfur coal was formed from freshwater swamps.
      • Common in Western U.S formed during the Paleocene Epoch.
  • 24. U.S. Coal Production by Rank
  • 25. Major Coal Deposits in the United States Eastern Region Western Region
  • 26. Eastern Coal Region
    • Annually produces about 48% of total U.S. coal production.
    • Large underground mines and small surface mines.
    • Bituminous (some Anthracite)
    • High % Sulfur (Low Grade)
    • Highest BTUs of energy
  • 27. Western Coal Region
    • Annually produces about 52% of total U.S. coal production.
    • Large surface mines.
      • The State of Wyoming (number one coal state) accounts for over 30% of total U.S. coal production.
      • Largest coal mines in the world.
    • Subbituminous (Higher Grade)
    • Lower sulfur but fewer BTUs of energy
  • 28. U.S. Coal Production by Location
  • 29. CAA and Coal Production
    • The Clean Air Act (CAA) was established in 1971 to respond to the high levels of air pollution in the United States.
    • CAA regulations required coal burning power plants to use coal with a lower sulfur content.
    • Production in the western coal region increased dramatically in 1970’s due the higher demand for cleaner-burning, subbituminous coal.
  • 30. Coal Mining
    • Mining methods are often dictated by the type and location of the coal deposit.
    • Coal is mined either by underground tunneling (Underground Mining) or by removing or "stripping" the covering rocks (Surface or Strip Mining).
    • When the deposit is more than 100 feet below the surface the underground method is used.
    • About 62% of U.S. coal is produced from surface mines.
  • 31. Coal Mining Methods
  • 32. U.S. Coal Production by Mining Method Surface mines more common because Western region Coals are in demand since the CAA.
  • 33. Coal Transportation
    • After coal is mined and processed, it is ready to be shipped to market.
    • Coal is shipped by mainly by train.
    • Almost 60 percent of coal in the U.S. is transported, for at least part of its trip to market, by train.
  • 34. Coal Transportation
    • The typical coal train is 100 to 110 cars long-a mile of coal.
    • Each car holds 100 tons of coal which lasts only 20 minutes fueling a power plant.
    • One unit train can keep a city of 3,000 households (10,000 people) in electricity for a year.
    • Coal in Wyoming is worth about $5 per ton. By the time it gets to Illinois, the cost is $30 per ton. For the user, up to 80% of the cost of the coal is in the transportation.
  • 35. U.S. Coal Consumption by Sector
  • 36. Uses of Coal
    • 85% of coal mined in U.S. is burned for electrical power generation.
    • 15% is used in industrial steel manufacturing as Coke.
  • 37. Steel Manufacturing
    • Iron occurs in nature as compounds such as hematite (Fe 2 O 3 ) and magnetite (Fe 3 O 4 ).
    • Carbon is used to liberate the iron from the oxygen.
    • Coke is the main source of Carbon used in steel manufacturing to both liberate iron and to generate intense heat in a furnace.
    Fe 2 O 3 + C  Fe (Steel) + CO 2
  • 38. COKE
    • Coke is produced by partially burning coal in a reduced oxygen atmosphere.
    • This removes most of the gasses leaving a solid that burns with a higher temperature than coal.
    COKE
  • 39. Coal in Illinois
    • Coal was first discovered in Illinois more than 300 years ago.
    • Coal underlies 37,000 square miles of Illinois -- about 65 percent of the state's surface.
    • Most of the coal is bituminous
    • Illinois' coal reserves contain more Btu's than the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
    • Illinois coal production peaked in the late 1910s at almost 90 million tons per year.
  • 40. Coal in Illinois
  • 41. Illinois Coal Consumption
    • Most of the coal used today in Illinois comes from Wyoming's Powder River Basin.
    • Compared with that coal, Illinois coal generally contains more sulfur, which must be removed from power plant emissions
    • The future production of Illinois coal will depend on mining efficiency relative to the costs of sulfur removal, among other factors.
  • 42. Effects of Illinois Coal Mining
    • By the late 1970's over 200,000 acres of land had been affected by surface and underground mining of coal in Illinois.
    • Of this disturbed acreage, over 22,000 acres were identified as being “problem” acreage.
    • This acreage includes
      • dangerous mine shafts
      • ground subsidence
      • acid mine drainage
  • 43. Abandoned Mine Shafts
    • Although most of the tunnel entrances to the mine shafts in central Illinois have been sealed, there are a few that are still open.
    • Abandoned mines should never be mistaken for caves. They are very dangerous!!
    Sealed Mine Shaft, West Peoria
  • 44. Examples of Abandoned Mine Shafts in Central Illinois
  • 45. Underground Mine Subsidence
    • Mine Subsidence is the sinking or shifting of the ground surface resulting from collapse of an underground mine.
  • 46. Sinkhole from Pit Subsidence
  • 47. Cracks from Sag Subsidence
  • 48. Underground Mine Subsidence
    • Mine subsidence has been reported in Pekin, Bartonville and in areas around West Peoria.
    • If you own property in an area of Illinois where mining once occurred, you may want to consider insurance against loss from mine subsidence. This coverage is available from all insurance companies licensed in the State of Illinois.
  • 49. Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)
    • Pyrite is commonly present in coal and in the rock layers overlying the coal.
    • Pyrite will react with water and oxygen to form iron compounds and sulfuric acid.
    • FeS 2 + O 2 + H 2 O  Fe(OH) 3 + H 2 SO 4
    • The products of AMD formation, acidity and iron, can devastate water and soil resources
  • 50. Water stained from sulfur and iron compounds
  • 51. Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977
    • Set detailed mining and reclamation standards and regulations for all future coal mining activities.
    • Established an Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program and fund to address the serious coal mine problems which were abandoned prior to August 3, 1977.
    • Funding for the reclamation program is provided by a special production fee on active coal mining.
  • 52. Coal Mine Reclamation
    • Outstanding Examples of Local Mine Reclamation Projects
      • Wildlife Prairie Park (photo this slide)
      • Banner Marsh and Rice Lake

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