Illinois Bituminous Coal Quality

Mound City
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Post Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 4:23 am

This is my first post to the forum. I’ve been reading as a guest for many months. I really enjoy reading the forum and feel I’ve learned quite a bit. I currently don’t have a coal stove. I wish to purchase one soon and I’ve read many brochures and websites as well as advice from many of you at the forum. I remember my grandmother burning coal and remember the warmth of the coal fire. I wish to begin burning coal for heat and as a hobby.

The coal mines in my area (Illinois) are 80 miles from my home and produce Bituminous coal. The mine has ‘stoker’ coal and ‘stove’ coal for sale. I inquired as to the quality and type of coal – here is their response: As far as stoker coal, it is generally about 1”-2” in diameter and is relatively uniform in size throughout the load and the stoker coal is very high quality. The BTU generally runs in the 11,900 - 12,000 range, with the sulfur being around 1.2. So it is a very hot, clean burning coal. Raw stove coal is the coal that has come straight up from the pit and has not gone through the preparation plant which washes and crushes the coal. It would still be of good quality, but in large pieces (approximately 6”- 12” diameter) that would also have some fines and pit dirt on it.

I’m curious if this coal is considered high quality bituminous coal. I realize it won’t burn nearly as well as anthracite, but will it be suitable for everyday burning. Thank you for your comments!


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LsFarm
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Post Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 6:43 am

It's all about the burning qualities of that mine's Bitum coal. The amount it swells, the ash fusion temperature, and volitiles.

I'd see if you can find a person locally that is burning the coal and see if they have any problems with clinkers forming in the firebox and sealing off the grates. [AFT] And see if they have any issues with the coal sticking together and bridging, burning out below the bridge. [swelling]

I struggled last year with a low AFT coal, and the fire would go out every three days or so, I'd have to clean out the firebox and remove the huge, 10"x18" clinker that had melted together and sealed off the grate. A real pain to work with.

Greg L

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Berlin
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Post Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 10:45 am

Midwestern coal is more likely to have a low AFT which will make your coal burning experience horrible as greg has said. however, it is still possible and likely that you can find good high aft coal. what you want to find out from the mine is the AFT, all other things are secondary, especially since almost all midwestern coals are not prone to swelling and "bridging" over the fire.

Mound City
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Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 2:38 am

Thank you both for your replies. I’m going to ask the mine for the AFT. I’ve searched the forum, but I can’t find what would be an acceptable AFT. When the mine responds with the information, what would I consider acceptable?

I really want to burn coal, so I will try different mines, if I have to, in order to locate some suitable coal. Most of the mines have closed in Southern Illinois, but the ones that are operating are doing a good business. Thanks again for the help.

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Berlin
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Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 3:16 am

check around, the higher the better, get the highest you can obtain.

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LsFarm
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Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 7:29 am

Berlin, what temperature would you consider the threshold between a low AFT, an acceptable AFT. and a really good high AFT??

All of my coal fires are bright red, and will melt mild steel [see your PM's].

And my laser thermometer goes off scale at 600*f, so it is useless.

Will the mine's assay of their coal report a specific temperature or a range of temps??

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Greg L

Mound City
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Post Sat. Nov. 04, 2006 2:17 pm

You asked the questions I really wanted to ask. Armed with this information, I could compare coal from different mines and determine if the ATF from the best coal from my area was really considered high AFT or just high for my area.

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BigBarney
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Post Sun. Nov. 05, 2006 11:57 am

The ash fusion temperature of Anthracite is ~ 2700 F,So the nearer to this would be the best Usually above 1200 F is what is available in bitumenous coal in the US.There are a few that get to 1700 F .This is also related to the swelling index,which determines the coking quality of the coal.Anthracite which is nearly pure carbon does not swell when it burns,but has less heat value because these volitile componds have a very high heat value.

For home burning a lower volitility coal is better because of the more even rate of combustion but the high volitility coals have nearly the same BTU output even with different burn characteritics.That is they burn with a very hot initial flame and then settle down to a slow burn for the full long coking stage of high heat.Your burner has to be able to absorb the sudden large release of the initial heat to burn them efficiently.

See chart for some typical AFT of US coal.

http://www.et.byu.edu/~larryb/Ash%20Fusion%20Temp ... res_1.html

BigBarney


Mound City
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Post Mon. Nov. 06, 2006 3:15 am

I sent a request to the mine, hopefully, the rep will send me a response today.

Mound City
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Post Tue. Nov. 07, 2006 2:49 am

The mine sent me their response: We do not normally order Ash Fusion Temperature for our everyday analysis. However, we could order a full prox on the coal that you are interested in. I’m not sure what the lab charges for that. I do not have one available at this time.

I'll just have to buy some of their coal and give it a try.

drujinin
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Post Wed. Dec. 06, 2006 4:04 pm

The Ash Fusion Temperature article is interesting. I live up in WI on the border of IL and am wondering where "Mound City" is contacting the Coal Suppliers at? It is next to impossible to buy coal up here for a reasonable heating price.
Thanks!

ktm rider
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Post Thu. Dec. 07, 2006 12:00 am

drujinin wrote:The Ash Fusion Temperature article is interesting. I live up in WI on the border of IL and am wondering where "Mound City" is contacting the Coal Suppliers at? It is next to impossible to buy coal up here for a reasonable heating price.
Thanks!
You could always make a road trip to my area ( Md. Wv. area ) with a dump trailer. Lsfarm made the trip a few months back. We have " run of mine" bituminous coal for $40-50 and Nut coal ( bituminous ) for $65..
There are about 6 mines within 5 to 20 miles from my house.. They do not bag the coal. They would look at you funny if you even asked. They just dump it into your trailer or pickup with a front end loader...

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Berlin
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Post Thu. Dec. 07, 2006 1:11 am

go talk to someone at a powerplant or any other industry that uses coal, they will likely help you find a source, if not sell it themselves, on the side. if you're anywhere near joliet take a ride over and drive around, everything in that town uses, ships etc. coal.

Mound City
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Posts: 26
Joined: Fri. Nov. 03, 2006 2:53 am
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Home Made
Coal Size/Type: Bituminous Stoker Coal
Location: Extreme Southern Illinois

Post Thu. Dec. 07, 2006 3:27 am

drujinin wrote:I live up in WI on the border of IL and am wondering where "Mound City" is contacting the Coal Suppliers at? It is next to impossible to buy coal up here for a reasonable heating price.
Thanks!
The mines are located near Pinkneyville, Illinois. We have several mines here and power plants that utilize coal.

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europachris
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Post Sat. Dec. 09, 2006 7:19 pm

Newbie here! Been reading all afternoon - lots of good information here.

I live in N.Central Illinois. FAR north central.

I have just a little experience (as a youngster back in the late 70's/early 80's) with Southern Indiana bituminous in both a Woodchuck add-on furnace as well as a German Weso tile stove. It was some NASTY stuff. Soot everywhere. Normally we burned wood, but one year we ran short, so my father purchased a ton of bituminous from the next door neighbor who was a coal mine manager for a local mine. I think we paid $35 a ton or something like that.

I've been debating to put a pellet insert in our home (in place of the gas fireplace), but it seems pellets are getting expensive due to demand. Presently, it's not too bad to heat our rather new 2800 sq.ft. home with a 90% efficient natural gas furnace.

Alternatively, I've looked at coal. My father grew up in Scranton, PA, and tells about the stoker furnace and hard coal he had as a child. I always was interested in coal.

Has anyone seen this stove:
**Broken Link(s) Removed**?? It's a British stove designed to burn all sorts of solid fuels almost smokelessly. It looks like it would be a great bituminous burner. It's not an inexpensive stove, nor was it imported into the USA when I enquired about it some years ago. But, it might make the lower quality coals a lot more usable. I've not been able to find a source of ANY type of coal around us, and I can imagine trucking in anthracite would be prohibitive.

Thanks for any information!

Chris


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