Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

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Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: Captain Michael On: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:20 pm

This is just a thought, but it kinda makes sense in my mind. maybe one of you coal guys from NE Pa. can chime in and staighten me out on my way of thinking. Reading these posts on the forum would lead a man to believe that the best anthracite is down near the the south west edge of the deposit. I don't know the mine names but the there is a cluster of breakers on the google map in that area, including Superior and UAE. And it is no secret that the coal from those breakers are some of the best for our application. If you look at the Pa. coal maps (Google Pa.coal deposits) you will see that the south west extremity of the coal field is semi anthracite. Overlay your breaker map on the Pa coal field map and Superior and UAE amoung others are right over the semi anthracite deposit. I have stated in earliar post that I work for CNX coal. I also posted that I had last years load from superior tested and that lab said it tested as more of a semi anthracite than a high grade anthrasite. They said that it was about 90% carbon and that is on the low end grade of anthrcite. One of the guys in my office is a mineral process engineer. He spent 15 years in a coal prep plant washing coal and he knows the game, ash, btu, volatile, ect. ect. He and I have talked at lenth about burning anthracite since I starterd 3-4 years ago. I can't tell you how many times on this forum guys have talked about good coal and crappy coal. Think about this. Coal needs some volatiles to keep it burning. If our anthracite was 100% carbon you couldn't keep it lit. How many times on this forum have people commented on the blue flame immitted from thier coal fire. That blue flame is the coal burning off the volatiles. Gas is a volatile in coal. Coal contains methane, propane and butane. It is my contension that what we on these forums believe to be the good stuff is actually the low end of the anthracite spectrum. It works well in our stoves and stokers because it has enough volatiles to make it work. I surmise the stuff we complain about may be a higher grade of coal. It just does not work well for us with out the volatiles. Any opinions??
Captain Michael
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Stoker 90

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: brckwlt On: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:38 pm

Im no expert but that makes a lot of sense to me and i have thought the same exact thing you just stated. i have also looked at the maps that show where the semi-anthracite is and have wondered the same thing.

UAE burns to a find powder for me in my AA-130

but when i have burnt "top notch coal" or coal that is susposed to be the best and hardest coal around, i dont get as complete of a burn and get more unburnt coal in my ash pan.

I would like to know if the uae coal that burns to a finer ash (over the harder coal that doesnt for me) is producing more btu's and costing me less to heat my house

or

is the harder coal from up north that leaves a little unburnt in my ash pan actually giving me more btu's and costing me less to heat my house?


I personally feel better when i walk down into the basement and look at my ash pan and see no unburnt coal. It makes me feel good inside and like im doing something right. But when i see a little unburnt i think oh no what am i doing wrong and freak out a bit.


i hope that made sense
brckwlt
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman-Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: Rebuilt 1953 AA-130

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:44 pm

What you're really discussing here is the difference between white ash and red ash.

The red ash has a higher ash content, sometimes up around 16% I think for superior. Because of the higher volatile matter it still produces a lot of heat. One of the problems is if you try and burn it too hot, you'll get clinkers.

The white ash has lower ash content, typically around 10 or 11%. As the ash content goes up with white ash the BTU's drop. I've seen some numbers where it has dropped into the 5 and 6% range. This coal is rock hard and not exactly easy to burn. It is so dense it would appear that half a ton was missing over a 5 ton load. While this is harder to burn it produces a lot of heat for a very long time once you get it roilling, the added benefit is picking up ash tubs that feel like they are filled with feathers. ;) You can get coal like that burn up to nothing but powder especially in a hand fired stove.

I picked up a lot of customers over the years that were using red ash and most preferred the white ash. Of course they weren't getting crap white ash which is a whole other ball game.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: Captain Michael On: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:58 pm

I don't know. I will ask my guy at work. It seems that you are saying higher vols more ash. Kinda makes sense. I thouigh the red ask was iron content? I do know superior's ash runs high. when I had it sested last year it was 15%! I am not convinced it is a red ash white ash thing. You could be right but I need more info to change my mind. Do you think Superior is a semi anthracite? Our lab says yes. At least the sample I provided last year was. Please keep the dialog coming. Lets figure this out!
Captain Michael
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Stoker 90

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:15 pm

I like the red ash that we are discussing. For me, it works out that a 55gallon fillup (close to 300 lbs) equals a full tub of ash. That is the UAE and a couple others. The white ash that I've burned is terrible compared to that. Most of it takes 2-3 ashtubs to the 55 gallon fill. All the white ash is thru a dealer.It must be the different story. It just seems to work out better for me that I can fill up the barrel every 4, 5, 6 days and empty the ashes at the same time. Much longer in the summer. I would really like to find the good coal that Richard speaks of. It is a heck of a shorter drive to get it. So this is the big question. Where is this really good white ash with low ash/ high btu's. I want to try some :)
Scottscoaled
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520x4, 350, 700. Van Wert 400 x 2, 800, 1200.
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:36 pm

Captain Michael wrote:I do know superior's ash runs high. when I had it sested last year it was 15%! I am not convinced it is a red ash white ash thing. !


If you had white ash at 15% you wouldn't be happy camper. ;)
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: Captain Michael On: Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:49 am

The red ash white ash thing kinda threw me here. If what you are saying is true then is red ash semi anthracite and white ash anthracite? Because my original question had more to do with geography. My question, is superior and UAE semi antracite and is the reason it burns so well because of the volatiles regardless of ash color. The Pa. coal maps don't say red ash and white ash. They say semi anthracite and anthracite. This is a yes or no question. What are we buying from these breakers. Semi or not?
Captain Michael
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Stoker 90

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: tsb On: Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:28 am

I bought coal from Meadowbrook breaker in Lykens for years.
I bought pea size. It is true anthracite coal, but burns more like
solid kerosene. Semi anthracite is softer and not near as dense.
My 2 cents.
tsb
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Binford 2000
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Pioneer top vent
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Saey Hanover II

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:40 am

Captain Michael wrote:What are we buying from these breakers. Semi or not?


As far as I know no it isn't, semi anthracite simply doesn't have the "ummmph". I used to deliver to a place that had semi-anthracite locally and they were paying considerably more for the coal I was bringing and happy to do it.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: rockwood On: Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:55 pm

I understand that semi-anthracite has higher average Btu than anthracite and meta-anthracite because of different fixed carbon, moisture and volatile matter percentages in the different grades of coal. I could be wrong but this is what I have read regarding the 3 grades of anthracite.
rockwood
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Stokermatic coal furnace
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Rockwood Stoveworks Circulator
Baseburners & Antiques: Malleable/Monarch Range
Coal Size/Type: Soft coal: Lump and stoker (slack coal)

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: AA130FIREMAN On: Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:15 pm

Richard S. wrote:What you're really discussing here is the difference between white ash and red ash.

The red ash has a higher ash content, sometimes up around 16% I think for superior. Because of the higher volatile matter it still produces a lot of heat. One of the problems is if you try and burn it too hot, you'll get clinkers.

The white ash has lower ash content, typically around 10 or 11%. As the ash content goes up with white ash the BTU's drop. I've seen some numbers where it has dropped into the 5 and 6% range. This coal is rock hard and not exactly easy to burn. It is so dense it would appear that half a ton was missing over a 5 ton load. While this is harder to burn it produces a lot of heat for a very long time once you get it roilling, the added benefit is picking up ash tubs that feel like they are filled with feathers. ;) You can get coal like that burn up to nothing but powder especially in a hand fired stove.

I picked up a lot of customers over the years that were using red ash and most preferred the white ash. Of course they weren't getting crap white ash which is a whole other ball game.

I was under the assumption the white ash gives less btu's than the red ash. And the red ash is harder, and harder to keep lit over the white ash. Tamaqua north east to scranton is harder/red ash and west is softer white ash. OR HAVE I BEEN MISLEAD ??? :(
AA130FIREMAN
 
Stove/Furnace Make: axeman anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130 anthratube

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: Captain Michael On: Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:59 am

This is only my 4th year burning anthracite and I have learned a ton here on this forum. As a matter of fact I learned how to burn anthracite here. I purchased a Harmon mark 3 way back in 1988 to burn wood and bituminous. I never gave anthracite a thought. When oil went thru the roof a few years ago I was surfing the WEB for an alternative fuel because the oilman was killing me. I found this forum and realized what the Harmon was really for. Anyway as I have said many times before I do work for a coal company. Hold a lump of Pittsburgh 8 bituminous in 1 hand and a lump af anthracite in the other and I dare you to tell the difference! You really can not tell the difference visually or by touch. It all looks the same. I know 1 is hard and 1 is soft but that is lab stuff. It is not readilly apparent.
Captain Michael
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Stoker 90

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: Captain Michael On: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:13 pm

After talking with my lab guy I am positive that ash does not have anything to do with BTU. Ash is simply the impurities in the coal that will not burn. Non Combustables. The most likely reason Superior burns hotter than UAE is higher volitile content. Volitiles do not produce ash. Volitiles produce BTU's I don't know if it exist but if we could find some 95% + carbon coal with good volitile content we would have the rocket fuel. This brings me full circle. I still think the coal we complain about being hard to burn is high carbon coal with very low volitiles. The good stuff!
Captain Michael
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Stoker 90

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: snuffy On: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:32 pm

In my mind only three things matter regarding heating my homes: #1 is quality which equals heating consistency over time; #2 is availability when I want it; and #3 is price. I always have oil or wood to chose from. I've burned bad coal for one year so I'll stay with what burns well no matter what its called.
snuffy
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman SF250 & Mark III backup
Other Heating: Oil Hot Water

Re: Maybe the bad stuff is the good stuff?? Semi Anthracite.

PostBy: Captain Michael On: Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:55 pm

I agree
Captain Michael
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: Stoker 90

Visit Lehigh Anthracite