Investigations of the effectiveness of lead disposal from hard coal through the cleaning process
1 AGH University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Energy and Fuels, Al. A. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Krakow, Poland
2 AGH University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Protection, Al. A. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Krakow, Poland
a Corresponding author: email@example.com
Lead, belonging to the category of toxic heavy metals, poses a major threat to the environment and the health and life of living organisms. Anthropogenic sources of lead emissions to the atmosphere include coal combustion, pyrolysis and gasification processes. This metal enters the atmosphere through the fly ashes and gases, causing chemical imbalance in the ecosystem. One way of reducing the emissions of heavy metals into the atmosphere due to the thermochemical processing of coal involves removing impurities from the fuel prior to its use, e.g. through the coal cleaning processes. The removal of heavy metals from coal through these processes is possible due to the fact that these elements are mostly related to the mineral matter, which is separated from the organic matter. This paper presents the results of investigations of the removal efficiency of lead from coals through the coal cleaning processes in industrial plants. Additionally, the distribution of lead among individual products of these processes was identified. Raw coals, coal concentrates, intermediate products and waste from five plants of mechanical processing of coking coal were analyzed. The determination of the lead content was performed with the use of Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (FAAS). Moreover, for all the samples, a proximate analysis and ultimate analysis as well as the determination of the content of main elements of mineral matter were conducted. In order to confirm the mode of occurrence of lead in coal mineral matter, an elemental analysis was conducted with the use of an electron microprobe. The results of the investigations showed that with a significant reduction of mineral matter in the coal cleaning processes, the lead content is decreased, as a result of both, the application of the gravity and flotation methods. The analyzed metal accumulates primarily in the waste and/or intermediate products of coal cleaning. The lead content in the obtained coal concentrates does not exceed 25 mg/kg. The microprobe examinations confirmed the presence of lead in sulphides, mainly in the form of galena.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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