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Commercial-scale test of new technology to recover coal from sludge successful
Date:9/16/2010

im Walter Resources.

In the pilot-scale test, coal slurries consisting of ultrafine coal were dewatered to less than 20 percent moisture. "The product coal feels like dry powder when you touch it because the water left with the coal is spread so thinly across its large surface area," Luttrell said.

According to a National Research Council report, the U.S. coal industry discards annually 70 to 90 million tons of fine refuse to slurry impoundments. "The dewatering technologies developed by CAST will help coal companies recover all of the mined coal. The technology can also be used to recover the coal in existing impoundments, which can help clean-up the environment and create jobs in the coal producing regions like Southwest Virginia," said Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA 9th District), who has supported funding for CAST and other energy projects.

"We are very optimistic," said Decanter Machine Inc. President Ken Robinette.

The centrifuge technology is the most recent of the advanced technologies developed by CAST. Microcel flotation column was the first major separation technology developed. It uses microbubbles to separate fine coal from mineral matter that becomes ash when burned at power plants and from other impurities, and is used widely in Australia.

As part of a project funded by National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), CAST has developed two other advanced dewatering processes. One is the novel dewatering aids that are currently marketed by Nalco Company. The other is a technology that may be more useful for recovering and dewatering the ultrafine coal from existing impoundments, according to Yoon. Virginia Tech has applied for a patent for this new technology.

In June 2010, Yoon testified before the subcommittee of the West Virginia Legislature's Joint Standing Committee that was charged with addressing the issues concerning coal slurry impoundments. Yoon suggested that the CAST research funded by
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Contact: Susan Trulove
strulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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