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Pulverized coal

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  • The concept of burning coal that has been pulverized into a fine powder stems from the belief that if the coal is made fine enough, it will burn almost as easily and efficiently as a gas. The feeding rate of coal according to the boiler demand and the amount of air available for drying and transporting the pulverized coal fuel is controlled by computers.
  • Cyclone furnaces were developed after pulverized coal systems and require less processing of the coal fuel. They can burn poorer grade coals with higher moisture contents and ash contents to 25%. The crushed coal feed is either stored temporarily in bins or transported directly to the cyclone furnace.
  • Pulverized coal injection was developed in 19th century, but was not implemented industrially until the 1970s. Rises in the cost of coke cost due to increased global demand and thus more competition for the resource have made this method attractive to the iron producing industries and increased its value.
  • The PCI method is based on the simple concept of primary air (termed the "conveying gas") carrying pulverized coal which injected through a lance to the tuyere (mid- bottom inlet of a blast furnace), then mixed with secondary hot air (termed the "blast") supplied through a blowpipe in the tuyere and then piped to a furnace to create a balloon-like cavity called a "raceway", which then propagates coal and coke combustion and melts the solid iron ore, releasing molten iron.
  • Better understanding of the raceway and PCI method can optimize the performance of a blast furnace and reduce costs.
  • Further improvements to the PCI method and the use of coal blend (mixing different coals) injection methods are attracting industry.
  • In a Pulverized Coal (PC) plant, the coal is ground into fine particles and blown into a furnace where combustion takes place. The heat from the combustion of coal is used to generate steam to supply a steam turbine that drives a generator to make electricity.
  • In addition to subcritical pulverized coal (PC) technologies that are widely used today, the technologies which are part of total proposed projects include Circulating Fluid Bed (CFB) technology, Supercritical PC, Ultra Supercritical PC, and Integrated Combined Cycle Gasification (IGCC). Subcritical pulverized coal technologies appear to have advantages in total plant cost, and PC and CFB technologies provide the lowest cost of electricity per kWh.
  • A recent report by the National Coal Council asserts that “new high-efficiency power plant designs using advanced pulverized coal combustion and gasification could reduce (compared to existing coal plants) more than 500 million metric tonnes (MMt) of CO2 over the lifetime of those plants, even without installing a system to capture CO2 from the exhaust gases.”

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