Advantages Of Cleaning Coal (Dewatering)

In this article, I will share the advantages of cleaning coal.


The coal mined from the quarries may contain moisture content that will make it unsuitable for use.


The moisture content in the coal is what will reduce the heating value of the fuel and bring so many handling problems.


Dewatering coal doesn’t only help in increasing the heating value, there are so many benefits that I want to discuss here.


Without wasting time, let me share what you should know about the dewatering of coal.


These are the advantages of (dewatering) cleaning coal;

1. Dewatering coal increases its heating value.

This is the first advantage of cleaning coal.


You have to know that coal is used for heating and for it to produce energy easily it has to be free from moisture.


The moisture content in the coal will make it harder for the coal to ignite and produce quality heat energy since most of it will be used to dry the coal while burning in the furnace.



By the time most of the moisture content in the coal dries up, a large percentage of heat energy would have been lost.


So, removing the moisture content increases the heating value of the coal since burning will be faster.


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Instead of part of the heat energy to be used in drying up the coal to make the flame progressively in the furnace, the heat will be used efficiently.


And this is one of the reasons cleaning coal is very important.


2. Cleaning coal makes it easier to grind it.

The coal needs to be prepared sufficiently before it’s fed into the furnace to make it easier for the furnace to work to its maximum efficiency.


There are many benefits to using pulverized coal. Check the article below.


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Cleaning of coal is necessary to ensure that it won’t bring issues in the furnace after it has been fed.


Coal from the mines is usually in large chunks that may not fit or will bring problems when they need to be crushed.


For instance, if the furnace is designed to utilize pulverized coal, grinding will need to happen before the coal is fed into it.


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The action of crushing and grinding the coal will only happen successfully if the coal is dry.


When the coal is wet while being crushed, its particles will end up sticking to each other and when they dry up, they will still be in big chunks.


The coal needs to be in powder form for it to be blown easily to the furnace.


Also, if the coal has a moisture content, it will force the grinding equipment to use lots of heat energy to dry up the coal.


This will end up decreasing the efficiency of the boiler or any component using heat energy in one way or another because most energy is lost drying up the coal.


And that is why it’s necessary to dry up the coal to make it easier for it to be grinded and pulverized.


3. Dewatering coal improves boiler performance.

Talking of boiler performance, there is so much at stake especially if it’s something to do with the furnace.


Boilers depend on the amount of heat energy produced by the fuel in the furnace to generate steam.


If the coal doesn’t produce enough heat energy since it’s wet it will end up affecting the overall performance of the boiler.


That is the same thing I was just talking about in the above section.


For the boiler performance to be improved, the furnace has to produce sufficient heat energy to heat up the water in the boiler.


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The performance of the boiler will improve when the coal burns efficiently in the furnace producing the required amount of heat.


So, cleaning coal improves the performance of the boiler.


Cleaned coal will have a higher heating value thus producing enough heat energy to generate quality steam.


If the heating value of the coal is lower, the steam produced will have low pressure and thermal energy.


All these two factors are very important in maintaining the quality of the steam which in turn ends up improving the efficiency of the boiler.


4. A lump of cleaned coal produces less ash content.

This is another benefit of cleaning the coal.


What you have to know is that the ash problem will always be there especially if you are using coal.


There is no way you will be able to escape that unless you decide to use another type of fuel.


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Did you know that the heating value of coal is indirectly proportional to the amount of ash produced?


Coal with a high heating value produces less ash while coal with a lower heating value produces more ash.


If you want to reduce the amount of ash you handle in a power plant you will have to increase the heating value of the coal.


I earlier shared that cleaning coal (dewatering) increases the heating value of the coal.


An increased heating value means that the ash content produced will be lower.


This will save you from the headache of handling large quantities of ash in the power plant.


This is one of the benefits of dewatering coal.


5. Dewatering makes coal easier to handle.

Handling wet coal is a headache. It doesn’t matter whether you are using pieces of equipment or not.


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When the coal is wet it will stick on the belts, in the buckets and hopper which will bring another problem of cleaning and disrupt the flow of coal into the furnace.


If the coal is stuck in the hopper that feeds it to the furnace, people will have to keep cleaning the clogged hopper as long as the feeding continues.


This will add another extra work that is not necessary.


The coal sticking on the belts and buckets will also increase the maintenance of the material handling equipment.


Also, if the coal is wet its weight will increase and this will bring issues if it’s to be handled with these pieces of material handling equipment.


The normal quantity of coal that is usually fed into these pieces of equipment will be too much since the weight will have increased.


It will be easier to overload the belt and bucket conveyor without knowing.


At the end of the day, the maintenance cost of these pieces of equipment will increase thus increasing the overall running cost of the power plant.


You now know the benefits of dewatering coal.


6. Cleaning coal lowers transportation costs.

Dewatering coal lowers transportation and that is why it’s advantageous to do it.


Wet coal is heavier than dry coal. If the coal is lighter transportation will be easier.


Few vehicles will be needed to transport it as opposed to when the coal is completely wet.


This will significantly decrease the transportation cost.


This is why it’s important to dry the coal before any transportation is done to reduce the cost.




Dewatering coal may be something you don’t want to do because it’s time-consuming especially if you consider that the plant processes are dragging.


Using the wet coal from the coal will only add to the cost of operation in the power plant.


Maintenance of the furnace, material handling equipment and storage room will be easier if the coal used is dry.


Not to mention the ash handling issue with wet coal. Now you see the importance of dewatering coal.


Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy the content. See you in my next article.


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