Soluble polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in raw coals

Zheng Bao Zhao, Kunlei Liu, Wei Xie, Wei Ping Pan, John T. Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are considered to be a group of compounds that pose potential health hazards since some PAHs are known carcinogens. During coal utilization processes, such as coal combustion and pyrolysis, PAHs released may be divided into two categories according to their formation pathways. One category is derived from complex chemical reactions and the other is from free PAHs transferred from the original coals. PAHs released from complex chemical reactions during combustion and pyrolysis have received considerable attention in recent years. However, free PAHs contained in raw coals have not been seriously considered as a source of these materials to be released during the utilization of coal. The goal of this study was to observe the relation between the content of PAHs in different coals and the elemental composition of the coals. In this study, eight bituminous coals with dry, ash-free carbon values varying from 65% to 90% were selected. Each coal was extracted with dichloromethane in a Soxhlet extractor for 6 h. The extracts were quantitatively analyzed with a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC-MS). More than 20 kinds of PAHs were identified. The total amount of PAHs determined varied from 1.2 to 28.3 mg/kg from the various coal types. The maximum total PAHs extracted was reached when the carbon content exceeded 84% by weight. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 13 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to the Illinois Coal Clean Institute and the Electric Power Research Institute for their financial support for this project.


  • Aromatic ring size
  • Bituminous coals
  • GC-MS analysis
  • PAHs
  • Priority pollutants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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