INDUSTRY AND USES
The most common misconception of anthracite is that due to its classification as a coal product it is often assumed to be just another fuel source. The domestic heating market in Pennsylvania and North East USA is an incredibly robust one, and the clean-burning, high calorific properties of anthracite mean that it is considered an ideal fuel source in that market. However, anthracite should not be confused with ‘ordinary’ bituminous coal, as its primary value is as a component in the steel and ferrous industries. It is therefore not vulnerable to the same market shifts as bituminous coal, and can easily command double the price per ton of, for example, Appalachian bituminous coal.
The industry most commonly associated with anthracite is steelmaking, and it can be used in a number of different processes.
- In Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOF), replacing small amounts of met coke with anthracite as a reducing agent saves up to 30% in costs.
- In Electric Arc Furnaces, anthracite is sought after due to its low cost per lb of fixed carbon, and the low sulphur content, and is again used as a reducing agent, added to the furnace with the charged material.
- In Pulverised Coal Injection, anthracite is the most popular choice of injection carbon due to its low sulphur content, as the closest alternative, met coal, is too abrasive. This process dramatically increases the efficiency of steelmaking.
- Water purification and filtration
- Process carbon in the manufacture of bricks, wire, silicon and glass
- Domestic fuel, as explained above, is most suited to areas such as North East America where the specialised stoves required are commonplace
- As fuel in the Blast Furnace process for iron manufacture