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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.110 n.5 Johannesburg May. 2010




Fluidized bed gasification of selected South African coals



A.D. EngelbrechtI; R.C. EversonII; H.W.P.J. NeomagusII; B.C. NorthIII

ICouncil for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria
IISchool of Chemical and Minerals Engineering, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus




An investigation was undertaken to ascertain the suitability of four selected low grade, South African coals for gasification in a bubbling fluidized bed for production of synthesis gas and for the development of integrated gasification combined cycles (IGCC). This study consisted of the characterization of the coals, laboratory evaluation of intrinsic reactivity, and experimentation with a pilotplant fluidized bed gasifier. Results of the characterization experiments show that the selected coals are high in ash, rich in inertinites, very dense (low porosity), with low caking indices and high ash fusion temperatures. Reactivity measurements with a thermogravimetric analyser (TGA), under reaction rate controlling conditions with carbon dioxide, showed that the reactivity of the coal chars decreases with increase in rank of the coal, as expressed by the vitrinite random reflectance and carbon content of the parent coals. The fixed carbon conversion achieved in the fluidized bed gasifier also correlates well with the rank parameter of the coal, with higher conversions being obtained with the lower rank coals. Thermal shattering and attrition of the coal particles produce significant amounts of fines, which correlate with the grindability indices, and no agglomeration (non-caking) was observed. It is concluded that fluidized bed gasifiers are able to utilize typical low grade, high ash South African coals for synthesis gas production and for inclusion in integrated gasification combined cycles for power generation.



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Paper received Nov. 2008
Revised paper received Nov. 2009

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