Coke is produced by the destructive distillation of metallurgical coal in either vertical (by-products recovery) or horizontal (non-recovery) batteries. Its main use is as a reductant in the iron-making blast furnace. Various metallurgical and chemical processes also require coke's reducing properties. Foundry coke, with low ash (7-10%) and large sizing (>90mm), is used in cupola furnaces for the production of iron castings and stone wool insulation. Coke breeze is used in ore-sintering processes, as well as a sacrificial buffer in the manufacture of electrodes.
A coking coal is one that can be converted into coke by heating in the absence of air to drive off the hydrocarbons. When heated to a sufficiently high temperature, the coking coal passes through a transient plastic phase in which it softens, swells and then solidifies into a coherent cellular coke. A coal's “caking” properties are the main determinant of its suitability for coke production. Various caking tests measure its tendency to swell, become plastic and re-solidify during de-volatilization. To be suitable for coking, the coal must also produce a coke that meets certain strength and hardness requirements.
Anthracite is a low-volatile (<10%), high fixed carbon (>80%) coal used in industrial and other applications, as well as power generation (the latter accounts for the major part of total anthracite demand by far). We primarily divide the anthracite market into applications needing sized lumps and those for fines (<10mm typically). Anthracite lumps can be used as a low-cost replacement to metallurgical coke in various industrial processes, as well as a household fuel. They are also calcined (dried) for electrode and steelmaking applications. The main application for anthracite fines is as a fuel in ore sintering and pelletizing applications.
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Resource-Net was established more than ten years ago by Andrew Jones.
A graduate in metallurgy from the University of Sheffield (UK), Andrew Jones has more than 20 years' experience in commodity research and analysis. In addition to his metallurgical qualification, he holds an MSc in Multinational Commerce from Metropolitan College, Boston University.