Characterization of fly ash from low-sulfur and high-sulfur coal sources: Partitioning of carbon and trace elements with particle size

James C. Hower, Alan S. Trimble, Cortland F. Eble, Curtis A. Palmer, Allan Kolker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Fly ash samples were collected in November and December of 1994, from generating units at a Kentucky power station using high- and low-sulfur feed coals. The samples are part of a two-year study of the coal and coal combustion byproducts from the power station. The ashes were wet screened at 100, 200, 325, and 500 mesh (150, 75, 42, and 25 μm, respectively). The size fractions were then dried, weighed, split for petrographic and chemical analysis, and analyzed for ash yield and carbon content. The low-sulfur "heavy side" and "light side" ashes each have a similar size distribution in the November samples. In contrast, the December fly ashes showed the trend observed in later months, the light-side ash being finer (over 20 % more ash in the -500 mesh [-25 μm] fraction) than the heavy-side ash. Carbon tended to be concentrated in the coarse fractions in the December samples. The dominance of the -325 mesh (-42 μm) fractions in the overall size analysis implies, though, that carbon in the fine sizes may be an important consideration in the utilization of the fly ash. Element partitioning follows several patterns. Volatile elements, such as Zn and As, are enriched in the finer sizes, particularly in fly ashes collected at cooler, light-side electrostatic precipitator (ESP) temperatures. The latter trend is a function of precipitation at the cooler-ESP temperatures and of increasing concentration with the increased surface area of the finest fraction. Mercury concentrations are higher in high-carbon fly ashes, suggesting Hg adsorption on the fly ash carbon. Ni and Cr are associated, in part, with the spinel minerals in the fly ash.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-525
Number of pages15
JournalEnergy Sources
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999


  • Carbon
  • Fly ash
  • Kentucky
  • Mercury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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