Coal Collaboration Discussed at Two Meetings

Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) scientists were invited by the Institute for Combustion Science and Environmental Technology (ICSET) in Western Kentucky University to meet with the Director, Professor Wei-Ping Pan, and assistant directors for discussions about possible collaborative research development. The ISGS group also toured the ICSET facilities: the Combustion Research Facility equipped with an eight-story-high boiler unit, the Thermal Analysis Laboratory, and the Analytical Laboratory.

Additionally, ISGS scientists completed bench-scale production test runs making fired bricks containing spent equilibrium-catalyst (e-cat) solid waste material. The fluid catalytic cracking process in an oil refinery uses a metal catalyst coated on silica-alumina clay or zeolite (catalyst support material). The catalyst can convert heavy hydrocarbons to light hydrocarbons, but a small fraction of the catalyst is continually replaced with a fresh catalyst to maintain activity. In North America, more than 400 tons of this spent e-cat are generated daily, most of which is disposed of in municipal landfills and on-site facilities. MCAT Services LLC, an Illinois-based processing plant, is currently recovering metals from the spent e-cat received from oil refineries. The residue from their metal recovering process was used in a brick making evaluation at the ISGS. Successful bench-scale results have been completed, and the next step is to conduct testing at a larger scale. A one-ton lot of spent e-cat sample was shipped to a brick plant for the scale-up production test runs.