Disadvantages Of Using Pulverized Coal

In this article, I will share the disadvantages of using pulverized coal.


I already talked about the advantages of using pulverized coal in my other article.


You might like this: Advantages Of Using Pulverized Coal


Despite the fact that pulverized coal has amazing results when it comes to the higher temperatures it can deliver, there are also downsides to it.


I will discuss the disadvantages in this article so that you can see if you would prefer using it or not.


Without wasting time, let me share what you need to know about using pulverized coal.


These are the disadvantages of using pulverized coal;

1. You need special equipment to pulverize the coal.

This is the first disadvantage of using pulverized coal. You need special equipment to grind the coal.


You can’t crash and grind the coal manually because a specific size of the powdered coal is usually needed.


So, you will have no choice but to purchase the equipment needed to pulverize the coal.


Ball mill and ball and race mill are usually common equipment used in pulverizing coal.


The initial costs of these pieces of equipment are usually high. Leaving aside the initial cost of the equipment, maintenance costs of these pieces of equipment are also high.


All these costs will end up adding up to the cost of operation of the plant thus making the budget of the power plant limited.


Sometimes it’s just better you use the normal big chunks of coal than using pulverized ones.


You will get to save the extra cost of the components needed to do the work sufficiently.


2. Fly ash removal equipment is required.

The pulverized coal usually burns when suspended in air and considering the particles are usually small, the ash removal is going to be tricky.


It’s not like when you are using the stokers, you can just let the fuel bed move and the ash will be disposed to the ash pit.


That is not the case when you are using pulverized coal.


The ash produced by pulverized coal will be like fine dust, it will be scattered within the furnace.


To remove the ash you need fly ash removal equipment that will also need money to be purchased.


Apart from the money you spent buying the grinding equipment; you will also need to purchase the fly ash removal equipment.


This will keep on increasing the cost of operation since this equipment will also need to be installed, operated and maintained.


3. Its furnace requires a complex design.

When pulverized coal is used the furnace design is not going to be similar to the furnace that burns coal that isn’t pulverized.


The powdered coal is usually burnt when suspended in the air when it’s fed into the furnace.


So, the design procedures that were used to design the other furnaces will not apply here.


The furnace will have to be different and carefully designed to be able to withstand the burning of the pulverized coal.


Any misconstruction of the furnace might lead to accidents in the power plant.


You don’t have the same issues with the normal furnaces since the coal is burnt on the grate.


4. The furnace requires sufficient cooling because of the extreme higher temperatures.

The pulverized coal burns rapidly producing extremely high temperatures.


The furnace will end up racking up lots of heat that won’t be easily cooled by the conventional refractory lines.


To come provide sufficient cooling to the furnace to avoid accidents water cooled walls have to be constructed around the furnace.


This is what will be able to cool the furnace and prevent any accidents that might be brought about by the higher temperatures of the furnace.


The construction of the water-cooled wall will also increase the cost of the operation of the power plant.


Water will be needed to cool the furnace and also maintenance of the wall will be needed.


As long as the design of the furnace keeps advancing, costs will increase.


And this is another disadvantage of using pulverized coal.


5. It requires extreme safety measures when using pulverized coal.

Extreme safety measures are required when using pulverized coal because of the higher temperatures and the fact that it burns like gas.


The chance of explosions from the furnace when using pulverized coal is higher because of the higher temperatures produced.


The furnace needs to be handled carefully, it should be inspected periodically to ensure that it’s working effectively and it should be cooled effectively.


If the furnace is neglected, it will end up exploding because of the higher temperatures and the pressure that is created within the furnace.


Extreme safety measures have to be put into practice to ensure that the operators are not harmed.


6. Only a particular type of coal can be used in the furnace.

Lower and higher grades can be pulverized and used effectively but only a particular type of coal can used in the furnace.


Not all types of coal can be pulverized and used and have the same efficiency.


There is a special type of coal that is usually selected to be pulverized which will deliver higher efficiency.


This leaves the power plant selective when it comes to the type of coal it will use.


Once there is a shortage of the type of coal that is used when pulverized this will render the power plant with lots of problems.


This is another disadvantage of using pulverized coal.


7. A specified size of pulverized coal is needed.

The pulverized coal has to be in a specified size to be used in the furnace.


Failure to crush and grind the coal to the needed size it will be impossible to use the coal in the furnace.


If the grinding equipment is faulty and doesn’t provide the required size of the powdered coal, there is no way heat energy will be produced.


This will leave all the processes in the power plant that depends on the heat energy from the furnace lagging.


The preferred size of powdered coal is 70 to 100 microns; if the coal doesn’t have the required size that will only be a waste of fuel.


This is the disadvantage of using pulverized fuel.




Pulverized coal produces a flame of higher temperatures but it has its limitation.


So, if you want to use pulverized coal you have to keep in mind that these are some of the disadvantages you will come across.


You have to be ready to manage them if you are going to use pulverized coal in your power plant.


Thanks for reading, if you have any questions leave your comment. See you in my next article.


Related articles to check.

  1. Conditions That A Burning Equipment (furnace) Should Fulfill
  2. Characteristics Of A Steam Power Plant
  3. Advantages Of Gaseous Fuels Over Solid Fuels
  4. Steam Power Plant: Introduction, Components And Working Principle
  5. Advantages Of Cleaning Coal (Dewatering)

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