Coal Processing Unit Equipment

Coal needs to be stored at various stages of the preparation process, and conveyed around the coal preparation plant facilities. Coal handling is part of the larger field of bulk material handling, and is a complex and vital part of the coal preparation plant.

coal processing flowsheet

Crushing and breaking. Run-of-mine coal must be crushed to an acceptable top size for treatment in the preparation plant. Typical crushing and breaking devices are feeder breakers, rotary breakers, hammer mills, and roll crushers.

Sizing. Different cleaning processes are used on different sizes of coal. Therefore raw coal entering the plant will be screened (sieved) into three or four sizes. Clean coal is rarely sized, except for some industrial markets.

Density separation. Raw coal consists of organic and mineral matter components, with specific gravities ranging from 1.30 for the lighter organic material to 2.5 for rock. Coal is cleaned by separating the lower-density organic material from the higher-density refuse. In heavy-media separations, the specific gravity of the medium used for separation, usually a suspension of finely divided magnetite in water, is chosen to achieve a given degree of separation depending on the characteristics of the coal, the desired product quality, and the acceptable level of coal loss to the rejects. In water-only devices such as jigs, spirals, and water-only cyclones, separation is effected by the differential acceleration of coal and mineral particles in water.

Froth flotation. Fine coal particles (i.e., smaller than 0.5 mm) are difficult to separate from mineral matter on a density basis and this fraction usually is cleaned by froth flotation. Froth flotation is a physiochemical process that exploits the selectivity of the attachment of air bubbles to organic coal particle surfaces and in the non-attachment to mineral constituents. Surfactants are used to create a hydrophobic surface on the coal particles to be floated, and a “collector,” typically fuel oil, is used to promote agglomeration of the floated particles to facilitate their removal.

Coal drying. Coal preparation plants that employ fine coal cleaning by froth flotation can produce an unacceptable amount of moisture in the product. Thermal drying, in which the wet coal is dried in the hot gas generated by a coal-or gas-fired burner, is used in some plants to reduce the moisture content.

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