Development of Novel Rotary Triboelectrostatic Separator for Dry Cleaning of Pulverized Fine Coal at Power Plants

Grants and Contracts Details


Coal is a major source of energy in the U.S. and more than 51% of the electricity used in this country is generated from coal. The state of illinois is one of the largest coal producing states with an annual production of about 35 million tons of which more than 90% is consumed by the electric utility industry. Much more Illinois coal can be sold at a higher price if a cost-effective dry cleaning process is developed for cleaning of pulverized fine coal at the power plants to remove additional ash and sulfur content prior to its combustion. The proposed project is intended to develop a novel rotary triboelectrostatic separator to further clean the Illinois coal after pulverization at the power plant to produce better quality coal with lower ash and sulfur prior to combustion. After pulverization or size reduction more ash and pyrite minerals are liberated from coal, providing an ideal feed to the rotary triboelectrostatic separator which can effectively clean micronized fine coal particles without the need of water or any chemical reagents. The cleaned product can be directly fed to the boiler without further treatment, reducing the cost of post-combustion treatment to meet the stringent environmental air quality regulations. The proposed novel rotary triboelectrostatic separator is characterized by an innovative high efficiency rotary charger, charger electrification, laminar air flow, and specially designed electrodes. It is anticipated that compared to existing triboelectrostatic separators, the innovative separator will 1) increase particle charge density 2-4 times; 2) improve solids throughput by one order of magnitude; 3) enhance process efficiency by up to 70%; 4) reduce overall energy consumption by more than 50%. Preliminary testing with some fine coal samples has demonstrated the great potential for this technology to significantly reduce ash, mercury, and sulfur content with a process efficiency similar to or better than froth flotation. Compared to post combustion flue gas 502 scrubbing process, the proposed technology can save 502 removal cost alone by $4/t for a typical pulverized Illinois coal.
Effective start/end date9/1/084/30/10


  • Illinois Clean Coal Institute: $275,000.00


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