Mercury content of the Springfield coal, Indiana and Kentucky

James C. Hower, Maria Mastalerz, Agnieszka Drobniak, Jeffrey C. Quick, Cortland F. Eble, Matthew J. Zimmerer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


With pending regulation of mercury emissions in United States power plants, its control at every step of the combustion process is important. An understanding of the amount of mercury in coal at the mine is the first step in this process. The Springfield coal (Middle Pennsylvanian) is one of the most important coal resources in the Illinois Basin. In Indiana and western Kentucky, Hg contents range from 0.02 to 0.55 ppm. The variation within small areas is comparable to the variation on a basin basis. Considerable variation also exists within the coal column, ranging from 0.04 to 0.224 ppm at one Kentucky site. Larger variations likely exist, since that site does not represent the highest whole-seam Hg nor was the collection of samples done with optimization of trace element variations in mind. Estimates of Hg capture by currently installed pollution control equipment range from 9-53% capture by cold-side electrostatic precipitators (ESP) and 47-81% Hg capture for ESP + flue-gas desulfurization (FGD). The high Cl content of many Illinois basin coals and the installation of Selective Catalytic Reduction of NOx enhances the oxidation of Hg species, improving the ability of ESPs and FGDs to capture Hg.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-227
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 19 2005


  • Coal
  • Emissions
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Mercury
  • Pennsylvanian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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