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The possibilities of organic sulphur bio-removal from model compounds and from coal have been investigated. For this purpose a number of procedures for microflora collection from coal faces, freshly mined coal samples and waste dumps of an Italian coal mine were developed. Several eukaryotic and prokaryotic micro-organisms were isolated from complex and selective media that were percolated along gallery walls or through mini-heaps or columns of coal or waste. After selective serial passages in a synthetic medium supplemented with dibenzothiophene (DBT) as sole sulphur and carbon source, the DBT-degrading activity of different selected strains was analysed. The most efficient strains were also tested, in pure or mixed cultures and in a medium containing 5% coal in saline solution. In certain instances, over 30% organic sulphur removal was achieved. In addition, the metabolic compounds derived from organic sulphur components of coal were studied by means of numerous biological tests. The results show that the degrading activity is oxidation and hence depends on oxygen availability, size of coal particles and direct interaction between micro-organisms and coal. Four European coals, ranging in total sulphur content from 1.6% to 6%, with varying proportions of organic sulphur, were investigated. Up to 90% pyritic sulphur can be removed from these coals using adapted Thiobacillus ferro-oxidans strains, provided that the coal is adequately comminuted and the suspension medium ingredients are consistent with the coal's chemical composition. Highly porous coals seem to be the most readily amenable to biodepyritisation. Based on the observations made, a tentative flowsheet is proposed for a pilot plant for microbial coal desulphurisation.

Additional information

Authors: ROSSI G, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Dipartimento di Ingegneria (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 13799 EN (1991) 55 pp., FS, ECU 6.25
Availability: (2)
ISBN: ISBN 92-826-3199-0
Record Number: 199111578 / Last updated on: 1994-12-02
Original language: en
Available languages: en