Summer of Sulfur

Saving the summer from Sulfur.

The summer of 2018 is finally upon us, and even though coal is something you normally might associate with colder months, coal is mined year-round and is still often used in power generation plants.

There have been numerous studies about the environmental impacts of coal-powered furnaces, resulting in better “scrubbing” technologies to reduce pollutants released by the burning process. However, there is still an environmental issue associated with coal mining, especially when it comes to the elimination of waste products left behind.

During the coal mining process—even after raw materials have been through a beneficiation process—a high amount of sulfur is left over. One of the main components of coal waste is a mineral called pyrite (also sometimes known as “fool’s gold”). As pyrite oxidizes, it creates a serious sulfur acidity issue that can seep into the ground, ground water, and surface water.

To reduce or eliminate this threat, very specific waste handling techniques must be used, either by minimizing the infiltration of water into the pyrite-laden waste or through the construction of barriers that will not allow the acidic byproduct of oxidation to seep out. The other solution is to remove the trapped sulfur.

Most of the research on coal desulfurization has been focused on pyritic sulfur removal, which represents at least half of the total sulfur content in coal. Unfortunately, organic sulfur is difficult to remove using conventional techniques since it is firmly bonded to other organic materials in the coal waste.

However, with ST Technologies’ proprietary electrostatic separation process, sulfur removal is not only a viable solution, it can be done efficiently and at a high rate of speed to keep your mining operations environmentally compliant as well as economically sound.

Ready to learn more? We’re looking forward to conversing with you.