--> Abstract: West Virginia's Northern Coalfield--Direction of Research to Support Coal Conversion, by Carl J. Smith; #90968 (1977).

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Abstract: West Virginia's Northern Coalfield--Direction of Research to Support Coal Conversion

Carl J. Smith

West Virginia's Northern coalfield contains 19 minable high-volatile bituminous seams distributed over 2,000 ft (610 m) of mostly Pennsylvanian rock section. These coals, which include the great Pittsburgh seam, account for 30% of the state's coal production. Historically, this coal has been destined for the utility market and for occasional use as a coke-blend product. However, the high-sulfur content (ranging from 1.5 to 3 + %) and the high-ash content (ranging from 6 to 12 + %) are making parts of the Northern coalfield less attractive for traditional utility use. Consequently, new directions for the use of northern high-sulfur high-ash coals must be considered.

This new horizon is the potential for using these coals as feedstock for the synfuels industry (Lurgi, Higas, SRC, Synthoil, COED, and the like). To promote this new industry, the physical and chemical characteristics of the coal must be recognized fully in advance of any proposed feedstock use. These characteristics, having been imparted to the high-volatile bituminous coal by the various stages of coalification, vary regionally. Understanding of why the physical and chemical characteristics vary leads to the study of the maceral (organic) and the inorganic systems. Knowing these two systems is the key to the relation between the coal feedstock and the final products of the process. Already, it has been recognized that the reactivity of the macerals, i.e., the maceral-mix, has a bear ng on the completeness of the conversion reaction; the mineral matter has a definite catalytic effect on the process. Therefore, gathering certain coal specifics on selected coals of the Northern coalfield (such as mineral-matter composition, sulfur species, the maceral content, etc.) will go a long way in predicting in advance which seams or parts thereof are most suitable for a coal-conversion process.

Description of the West Virginia Northern coalfield in such a manner, it is hoped, will move the coal into a new role as a synfuel feedstock.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90968©1977 AAPG-SEPM Annual Convention and Exhibition, Washington, DC