Biodesulfurization of coals of different rank: effect on combustion behavior
Rubiera, F.; Arenillas, A.; Martinez, O.
Environmental Science and Technology 33(3): 6-81
The emission of sulfur oxides during the combustion of coal is one of the causes, among other air pollution problems, of acid rain. The contribution of coal as the mainstay of power production will be determined by whether its environmental performance is equal or superior to other supply options. In this context, desulfurization of coal before combustion by biological methods was studied. Four Spanish high-sulfur content coals of different rank were inoculated with bacteria isolated from mine-drainage waters and with naturally occurring bacteria inherent in the coals to be treated. Higher levels of desulfurization were obtained in the case of the samples treated with their own accompanying bacteria and when aeration was increased. All the samples were amenable to the biodepyritization processes. However, it is of little value to achieve large sulfur reductions if a decrease in coal combustion performance is obtained in the process. For this reason, a comparison was made between the combustibility characteristics of the original coals and those of the biodesulfurized samples. Results indicated that combustibility was not substantially modified by the overall biological treatment. The benefits of reduced sulfur emissions into the atmosphere ought to be taken into account as part of the general evaluation of the processes. Copyright 1999, American Chemical Society.