Part 2: Thermal Dewatering

Luckie, Peter T. ; Leonard, Joseph W. III
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 24
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
INTRODUCTION In a bed of fine coal, water can be found in the interstices created by the particle surfaces and in the pores within the coal particles. The extent of the interstices voidage is obviously a function of the particle sizes and morphologies, as shown by the fact that the bulk density of coarse coal is greater than that of fine coal. After drainage, the voids can be completely or partially filled. By increasing the suction pressure across the bed, as is done in vacuum filtering, the quantity of water in the voids can be reduced. But eventually the increased suction pressure has little influence on the moisture reduction. In addition, the moisture in the pore structure of the coal is unaffected by the mechanical removal of the moisture in the interstices. When this condition is reached, the total moisture content of the coal can only be reduced further by evaporating the water. Evaporative drying is done for one or more of the following reasons: 1. To avoid freezing difficulties and to facilitate handling during shipment, storage, and transfer to the points of utilization. 2. To reduce the heat loss due to evaporation of the moisture from the coal during the combustion process, thus increasing heating efficiency. 3. To decrease transportation costs. The heating value of coal is equally improved for each percentage point reduction in the noncombustibles in coal. It is estimated that a reduction of 1%22 in the total moisture in the coal increases the thermal efficiency of the heat-raising process by about 0. Some coal buyers consider 1 % moisture content to be the equivalent of a 4% ash content.23 It is important to avoid drying the coal to too low a moisture level, since the complete removal of surface moisture to produce a bone dry product can result in a serious dust, wind lost, and safety problem. Surface moisture con- tents of 3% or less for shipped coal are not uncommon. However, the evaporatively dried coal may be lower, Y, to 1%, since the mechanically dewatered coal may be higher. Evaporatively dried coal can be treated (sprayed) with chemicals in order to control the dustiness and any freezing difficulties, thereby providing the producer with more operational flexibility. The evaporative drying of coal is essentially a process of simultaneous transfer of energy, usually in the form of heat, and water, in the form of vapor, from the coal. In order to remove the undesired moisture, it is necessary to raise the temperature of the water from the entering temperature of the feed stream, TF, to the boiling point of the water (usually taken as 212"F), vaporize
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