Some frequently asked questions about coal


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What is thermal (steaming) coal?
It is a black mineral made up of plant waste from ancient geological periods (millions of years ago). Thermal coal is used as fuel and as a raw material in some chemical industries to produce gas, coke, oil, tar, etc.
Some geologists believe that coal is partly made of carbon. The other elements found in coal are hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. Different types of coal were formed in different geological eras under various circumstances. Peat is the first stage in coal formation. It is followed by lignite, semibituminous coal, bituminous coal, and anthracite, with differing amounts of volatile matter.
Coal is made when plants, esp. fern, is highly compressed and heated.
What are the industrial applications of thermal coal products?

They are used in foundry and smelting furnaces, ferrosilicon factories, and ferroalloy factories.

What is the future of coal in Iran?

Next to oil and gas, coal is the second most important energy source in the world. The discovered coalfields are able to provide energy for at least 150 years into the future. Iran is placed 26th in the world, holding 1.1 million tons of proven coal reserves. This ranking will rise to 12th if the current exploration projects are completed. About 55-77% of coal reserves in Iran are found in Tabas Coalfield. Tabas coal mines are located in Parvade, Nayband, Mazino, and Abdooghi. Parvade and Nayband coals are metallurgical (coking), while Mazino and Abdooghi coals are thermal (steaming). With an area of 1200 km2 and a proven coal reserve of 398 million tons, Parvade is the most important coking coalfield; and Mazino is the most important steaming coalfield in Iran, with an area of 1290 km2 and a proven coal reserve of 400 million tons. Given the uses of coal in producing energy, coke, and hydrocarbon-based derivatives, as well as its special uses in other areas, Tabas Coalfield has potential to become a second Assaluyeh in the area of energy and industry, and this transformation requires the following: full operation of mines across the said areas through domestic and foreign investment; establishment of processing factories; establishment of power plants; establishment of coal tar refineries and coal derivative refineries; establishment of Coal-to-Liquid refineries to produce liquid fuels; establishment of factories to recover strategic metals from coal; and establishment of coal byproducts factories.

What is the current status of supplying raw materials to the Coal Preparation Plant?
Coal Preparation Plant (or Coal Washing Plant) washes and cleans rocks and dusts from coal and breaks down the coal into smaller parts (sorting), ready for sale. In such a plant, coal is loaded onto rolling stocks and ships.
The storage of coal is of utmost importance during the preparation stages. To this end, various warehouses in different sizes are built in coal preparation plants. Generally speaking, transportation and storage constitute two major parts of the entire preparation process.
The major coal preparation (washing) plants in Iran include Kani Carbon Tabas Coal Washing Plant, Zarand Coal Washing Plant, (Central) Alborz Coal Washing Plant, Savadkuh Coal Washing and Coke Making Plant.
The storage of extracted coal provides the raw material for coal preparation (washing) plants. This raw material is made up of coal together with its impurities, which is cleaned in washing plants and reaches the desired concentration. The coal used in preparation plants is stored in every stage of preparation in nearby warehouses. The coal lumps delivered to preparation plants from warehouses have different concentrations; this causes different tons of output per hour. This material is typically transported to preparation plants via conveyors, front-end loaders, and bulldozers. Afterward, reformers are added to the coal for recovery purposes. Coal sampling is usually performed before preparation plants become operational. In sampling, an ordinary sample of coal from a mine is tested in a specific period of time. Needless to say, that sampling is performed according to ASTM coal standards. As an important part of coal preparation process, the pulverization of the input to preparation plants gives more control over the processing.
What are the industrial uses of coal?
In 2017, about 30% of the US electricity was generated by coal. Power plants burn coal to produce steam. Turbines (mechanical rotating machinery for energy generation) are used to generate electricity.
Most industries and enterprises own different power stations; some of them use coal in combined power stations to generate heat and electricity.
On the other hand, some industries make use of coal waste (tailings; refuse). Concrete and paper industries burn large amounts of coal to produce heat. Steelworks use steel indirectly. Coke is placed in coal furnaces. Steelworks use coke to extract ore in order to produce steel. The high temperature from coke burning gives steel the strength and flexibility it requires to be used in bridges, buildings, and cars.

Other Questions

Who was the first foundry entrepreneur in Iran? When did he start his work?

The late Mr. Ali Asghar Hajibaba. In 1968.

What industries are the current consumers of Azhand products?

Ferrosilicon factories, ferroalloy factories, and foundry and smelting furnaces