Utilities burning Illinois coals currently do not consider trace elements in their flue gas emissions. After the US EPA completes an investigation on trace elements, however, this may change and flue gas emission standards may be established. The mode of occurrence of a trace element may determine its cleanability and Hue gas emission potential. X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) is a spectroscopic technique that can differentiate the mode of occurrence of an element, even at the low concentrations that trace elements are found in coal. This is principally accomplished by comparing the XAFS spectra of a coal to a database of reference sample spectra. This study evaluated the technique as a potential tool to examine six trace elements in an Illinois #6 coal. For the elements As and Zn, the present database provides a definitive interpretation on their mode of occurrence. For the elements Ti, V, Cr, and Mn the database of XAFS spectra of trace elements in coal was still too limited to allow a definitive interpretation. The data obtained on these elements, however, was sufficient to rule out several of the mineralogical possibilities that have been suggested previously. The results indicate that XAFS is a promising technique for the study of trace elements in coal.
Additional publication details
The forms of trace metals in an Illinois basin coal by x-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy