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Minerals 2015, 5(2), 356-366; doi:10.3390/min5020356

Notes on the Potential for the Concentration of Rare Earth Elements and Yttrium in Coal Combustion Fly Ash

1
Center for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky, 2540 Research Park Drive, Lexington, KY 40511, USA
2
Kentucky Geological Survey, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
3
Department of Mining Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
4
Electron Microscopy Center, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Panagiotis Voudouris
Received: 20 May 2015 / Revised: 3 June 2015 / Accepted: 16 June 2015 / Published: 23 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rare Earth: From Exploration to Mining)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1098 KB, uploaded 23 June 2015]   |  

Abstract

Certain Central Appalachian coals, most notably the Fire Clay coal with a REY-enriched volcanic ash fall tonstein, are known to be enriched in rare earth elements. The Fire Clay tonstein has a greater contribution to the total coal + parting REY than would be inferred from its thickness, accounting for about 20%–35% of the REY in the coal + parting sequence. Underground mining, in particular, might include roof and floor rock and the within-seam partings in the mined product. Beneficiation, necessary to meet utility specifications, will remove some of the REY from the delivered product. In at least one previously published example, even though the tonstein was not present in the Fire Clay coal, the coal was enriched in REY. In this case, as well as mines that ship run-of-mine products to the utility, the shipped REY content should be virtually the same as for the mined coal. At the power plant, however, the delivered coal will be pulverized, generally accompanied by the elimination of some of the harder rock, before it is fired into the boiler. Overall, there are a wide range of variables between the geologic sample at the mine and the power plant, any or all of which could impact the concentration of REY or other critical materials in the coal combustion products. View Full-Text
Keywords: lanthanides; critical materials; power plants; fly ash; coal lanthanides; critical materials; power plants; fly ash; coal
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hower, J.C.; Groppo, J.G.; Henke, K.R.; Hood, M.M.; Eble, C.F.; Honaker, R.Q.; Zhang, W.; Qian, D. Notes on the Potential for the Concentration of Rare Earth Elements and Yttrium in Coal Combustion Fly Ash. Minerals 2015, 5, 356-366.

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