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ECSC technical coal research programme in the fields of mining engineering and coal utilization

The European Commission, DG XVII, has published an invitation to submit project proposals for the ECSC technical coal research programme in the fields of mining engineering and coal utilization.

Because of anticipated limitations to the ECSC budget, the Commission has decided to target the 1997 programme on a small number of high-priority topics that can have an impact in terms of improved protection of the environment, improved efficiency to decrease emissions of pollutants, including CO2, and improved competitiveness of coal. Projects must be presented and carried out jointly by persons or organizations in at least two, and preferably more, EU Member States, and priority must be given to the exchange of results and experience among the partners during the course of the research.

Applications for financial aid are invited for targeted projects in each of the fields below:

- High-performance coal faces for cost reduction;
- Further geo-technical studies and development of rock-bolting for European coal mines;
- Cost-effective high-performance headings;
- Controls for free-moving machines;
- Improvement of underground communication systems;
- Environmental impact of mine operations;
- Cost-effective prospection of coal deposits;
- Improved preparation, upgrading and handling of coal, including:
. Improved coal preparation, particularly with respect to dewatering, blending and briquetting;
. Improved methods of coal cleaning;
. Reduction of oxidation and spontaneous combustion in coal storage and handling;
. Improved milling and coal-flow measurement and control for pulverized fuel firing;
. Development of methods for using low-grade coal cleanly and efficiently;

- Improved control of the coking process, including:
. Reduction of impact of fugitive emissions of particulates;
. Reduction of impact of the olfactory effects associated with the release of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) during coke manufacture and by-product recovery;
. Improvement of the life expectancy of coking plant by the control of coke-oven wall pressure;
. Improvement of coke-oven output and the cost and quality of blast-furnace coke;

- Assessment of emissions and development of emission-control technology, particularly:
. Development and assessment of emission-control techniques for trace metals, alkalis, chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOC), hydrogen sulphide and small particulates;
. New technologies for NOx and SOx control and the application of existing techniques to new coal-processing technologies;
. Improved low cost sorbents, post-furnace sorbent injection, and catalytic cleaning of flue gases at low temperature;
. Improved understanding of coal conversion properties and the release of pollutants;
. Development and assessment of advanced analytical techniques for the analysis of gaseous emission;

- Improvement of the availability and reduction of the operating costs of coal-combustion plant, through:
. Coal blending;
. Control of fouling and slagging;
. Optimization of materials to reduce corrosion and erosion;
. The application of new modelling techniques (tomography, fuzzy logic, neural networks), diagnostic tools (self-diagnostics) and measurement techniques;
. Development and standardization of procedure for predicting coal performance;

- Application of advanced modelling techniques, particularly in the following areas:
. Control of emissions and the use of, for example, neural network control of the combustion process in relation to emission constraints;
. Improvement of efficiency;
. Improvement of the understanding and predictability of processes;
. Impact of process control supported by operational plant data;

- Improved competitiveness of coal by co-processing.

While emphasis is placed on collaborative research, consideration will also be given to the further funding of individual projects whose initial phases have received support and for which it is clear that it was originally intended to seek support for subsequent phases, as well as to projects that form a complement to ongoing collaborative research. The normal level of funding is 60% of the estimated eligible costs of the projects selected for support.

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