Analysis of more than 13,000 coal samples by semi-quantitative optical emission spectroscopy (OES) indicates that concentrations of the platinum group elements (iridium, palladium, platinum, osmium, rhodium, and ruthenium) are less than 1 ppm in the ash, the limit of detection for this method of analysis. In order to accurately determine the concentration of the platinum group elements (PGE) in coal, additional data were obtained by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy, an analytical method having part-per-billion (ppb) detection limits for these elements. These data indicate that the PGE in coal occur in concentrations on the order of 1 ppb or less.
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Concentrations of platinum group elements in 122 U.S. coal samples