Dry Fine Coal Cleaning Using Rotary Triboelectrostatic Separator (RTS)


Coal is a major source of energy in the U.S. and more than 51% of the electricity used in the country is generated from coal. Coal cleaning prior to combustion is necessary and often accomplished using wet physical processes at coal preparation plants to remove impurities such as ash, sulfur, mercury. However, the resultant clean coal product still contains a significant amount of impurity due to the fact that impurities are not well liberated from coal particles ranging from several millimeters to inches in size at which wet cleaning processes take place. A cleaner coal product can be obtained if a cost-effective dry process is developed to further clean pulverized and thus better liberated fine coal at the power plants prior to its combustion. The benefit of such a process is a significant reduction in the cost of expensive post-combustion chemical cleaning processes such as flue gas scrubbing employed to meet the stringent environmental air quality regulations. In this study, a novel rotary triboelectrostatic separator (RTS) was investigated for its application to dry cleaning of fine coal samples acquired from the power plants in the state of Illinois. The pulverized fine coal contains well liberated ash and pyrite minerals and is an ideal feed to the triboelectrostatic separator for further cleaning without the use of water or any chemical reagents. The proprietary rotary triboelectrostatic separator (RTS) is characterized by an innovative high efficiency rotary charger, charger electrification, laminar air flow, and specially designed electrodes. Compared to existing triboelectrostatic separators, the rotary triboelectrostatic separator offers significant advantages in particle charging efficiency, solids throughput, separation efficiency, applicable particle size range, etc. Testing with several fine coal samples has demonstrated that this technology can significantly reduce ash content with a process efficiency similar to or better than froth flotation. Important process parameters such as charger rotation speed, injection and co-flow rate, feed rate were investigated for their effects on separation performance.

Meeting Name

SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit 2010


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Fine Coal; Liberation; Particle Charging; Rotary Charger; Triboelectrostatic Separation

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2010 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2010

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