CO2, CO, and Hg emissions from the Truman Shepherd and Ruth Mullins coal fires, eastern Kentucky, USA

Science of the Total Environment
By: , and 

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Abstract

Carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and mercury (Hg) emissions were quantified for two eastern Kentucky coal-seam fires, the Truman Shepherd fire in Floyd County and the Ruth Mullins fire in Perry County. This study is one of the first to estimate gas emissions from coal fires using field measurements at gas vents. The Truman Shepherd fire emissions are nearly 1400 t CO2/yr and 16 kg Hg/yr resulting from a coal combustion rate of 450–550 t/yr. The sum of CO2 emissions from seven vents at the Ruth Mullins fire is 726±72 t/yr, suggesting that the fire is consuming about 250–280 t coal/yr. Total Ruth Mullins fire CO and Hg emissions are estimated at 21±1.8 t/yr and >840±170 g/yr, respectively. The COemissions are environmentally significant, but low compared to coal-fired power plants; for example, 3.9×106 t CO2/yr for a 514-MW boiler in Kentucky. Using simple calculations, CO2 and Hg emissions from coal-fires in the U.S. are estimated at 1.4×107– 2.9×108 t/yr and 0.58–11.5 t/yr, respectively. This initial work indicates that coal fires may be an important source of CO2, CO, Hg and other atmospheric constituents.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title CO2, CO, and Hg emissions from the Truman Shepherd and Ruth Mullins coal fires, eastern Kentucky, USA
Series title Science of the Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.12.005
Volume 408
Issue 7
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Eastern Energy Resources Science Center
Description 6 p.
First page 1628
Last page 1633
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Floyd County, Perry County