In the processes of coal mining, preparation and combustion, the rejects and by-products are generated. These are, among others, the rejects from the coal washing and dry deshaling processes as well as the coal combustion by-products (fly ash and slag). Current legal and industry regulations recommend determining the content of mercury in them. The regulations also define the acceptable content of mercury. The aim of the paper was to determine the mercury content in the rejects derived from the coal cleaning processes as well as in the combustion by-products in respect of their utilization. The mercury content in the representative samples of the rejects derived from the coal washing and dry deshaling processes as well as in the coal combustion by products derived from 8 coal-fired boilers was determined. The mercury content in the rejects from the coal washing process varied from 54 to 245 μg/kg, (the average of 98 μg/kg) and in the rejects from the dry deshaling process it varied from 76 to 310 μg/kg (the average of 148 μg/kg). The mercury content in the fly ash varied from 70 to 1420 μg/kg, (the average of 567 μg/kg) and in the slag it varied from 8 to 58 μg/kg (the average of 21 μg/kg). At the moment, in light of the regulations from the point of view of mercury content in the rejects from the coal preparation processes and in the coal combustion by-products, there are no significant barriers determining the way of their utilization. Nevertheless, in the future, regulations limiting the maximum content of mercury as well as the acceptable amount of leachable mercury may be introduced. Therefore, preparing for this situation by developing other alternative methods of using the rejects and by-products is recommended.
Nowadays, actions allowing for a reduction of anthropogenic mercury emission are taken worldwide. Great emphasis is placed on reducing mercury emission from the processes of energochemical coal conversion, mainly from the coal combustion processes. One of the methods which enable a reduction of anthropogenic mercury emission is the removal of mercury from coal before its conversion. It should be pointed out that mercury in hard coal may occur both in the organic and mineral matter. Therefore, a universal method should allow for the removal of mercury, combined in both ways, from coal. In the paper, a concept of the hybrid mercury removal process from hard coal was presented. The idea of the process is based on the combination of the coal cleaning process using wet or dry methods (first stage) and the thermal pretreatment process at a temperature in the range from 200 to 400 °C (second stage). In the first stage, a part of mercury occurring in the mineral matter is removed. In the second stage, a part of mercury occurring in the organic matter as well as in some inorganic constituents characterized by a relatively low temperature of mercury release is removed. Based on the results of the preliminary research, the effectiveness of the decrease in mercury content in coal in the hybrid process was estimated in the range from 36 to 75% with the average at the level of 58%. The effect of the decrease in mercury content in coal is much more significant when mercury content is referred to a low heating value of coal. So determined, the effectiveness was estimated in the range from 36 to 75% with the average at the level of 58%.
Samples of steam coal used in heat and power plants as well as densimetric fractions obtained on a laboratory scale by dense organic liquid separation have been examined. The contents of ash, mercury, chromium, cadmium, copper, nickel and lead have been determined in coal, in the light and medium fraction as well as in the refuse. The degree of removal of mineral matter and the examined heavy metals as well as the coal combustible parts yield have been determined. Examination of 5 coals revealed that it is possible to remove 41% of mercury and more than 35% of other heavy metals bound to mineral matter in coal.