Sulphur transformation during pyrolysis of an Australian lignite

Setyawati Yani

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    Australia has the largest economical lignite resources in the world. However, the utilisation of lignite is faced with a number of technical, economical and environmental problems due to its high moisture content and some of the deposits containing high sulphur and high inorganic matter. During pyrolysis, the first step of any thermochemical conversion processes of coal, some of the sulphur in lignite evolves as sulphur-bearing volatiles while others are retained in the solid phase of the lignite char. The present research aims to study the sulphur transformation during pyrolysis of Australian lignite. The specific objectives of this research include a study on the transformation of pyrite, sulphate and organic sulphur during lignite pyrolysis as well as an investigation of the effect of inorganic matter on the sulphur transformation during lignite pyrolysis. To help the interpretation of sulphur transformation, the lignite samples were characterised using a combination of analytical techniques, i.e. X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescent (XRF), ion chromatography (IC), Scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), Fourier transform infra red (FTIR), solid state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and petrographic analysis. Pyrolysis was carried out in a thermogravimetric analyser (TGA) and fixed bed reactor. The lignites and their chars were analysed for sulphur forms using a carbon sulphur (CS) analyser. To study the volatiles released during pyrolysis, experiments were also performed using a TGA coupled to a mass spectrometer (TGA-MS). Eleven (11) Australian lignite samples, denoted as L1 to L11, respectively, from the same lignite deposit but with different sulphur and inorganic matter concentrations were employed in this study. They are categorised as of low quality since they contain high Executive Summary Sulphur Transformation during Pyrolysis of an Australian Lignite v moisture, very high ash, low fixed carbon and thus they have low calorific value, except for L1. The lignites contain considerable amount of total sulphur, except for L1. Mineralogy of the lignites showed that the lignites contain extremely high sodium and chlorine. FTIR and solid state 13C NMR spectroscopy confirmed that oxygenated functional structures are significantly present in the lignites.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009

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