Why Anthracite?

Why Anthracite?

PostBy: ktm rider On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:14 am

I am pretty new to this forum and I did not realize that Anthracite was such a dominant coal when it comes to home heating. I live in Western Md. In a major coal mine region. About 4 in 10 homes here burn coal. ( my best guesstimate)
I hope I don't offend anyone with this question but, here goes.....

Why would anyone burn Anthracite ( other than in a stoker) if it is so expensive and soft coal is readily available? Everyone in my area burns soft coal, (although we can get Anthracite if we want it). I understand that it does not burn as clean, but I don't think there is a noticable smell.

If anthracite has twice the BTU's per ton @ say, $200 a ton. and assuming soft coal is the same price in your area as mine, about $50 a ton, You could buy 4 ton of house coal for the same price which would almost be enough for the whole winter.
so wouldn't that would be twice the btu's of anthracite for the money?
I'm not trying to offend anyone and my apologies if this post is taken the wrong way. Just wondering??????
ktm rider
 
Stove/Furnace Make: AHS Multifuel
Stove/Furnace Model: CO 55 with oil backup

PostBy: davemich On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:49 am

I'm not in coal country but anthracite is cleaner to burn than bituminous coal would be. Not sure your calcs are correct on the btu comparison but even if they were true, I would still burn anthracite because it IS cleaner to burn and for me and my situation with the wifey, its cleaner to load and empty. As I kid, I shoveled the old bit. coal and it was a mess and the sulfur smell was present both inside and out. True, the furnaces might not have been as efficient back then but it was terribly messy to deal with. I'll let the coal experts answer you for more technical responses.
davemich
 

It varies

PostBy: LsFarm On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:04 am

When I went looking for information on coal and burning coal, I found a site about Bituminus vs Anthracite coal. Sorry, but I can't find it now. Try a Google search.

What I read is that there are many variances in the quality of the various coal products mined and for sale.

Anthracite is the best with the highest BTU per pound but there were listed some Bituminus coals that were not far behind in BTU output. Then there was the western 'brown coal' that is way down on BTU output.

So if you have an inexpensive source nearby and the coal produced does not smell or smoke a lot, then you probably are getting a very high grade low sulphur Bituminus.

If you are happy with the product then I'd stay with it. If you want to see if there is much difference, I'd buy several bags of Anthracite and do a comparison burn to see if you can notice or document much difference.

$50 per ton with acceptable smell and smoke sounds like a deal to me!

LsFarm
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland


PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:01 am

Because it's beautiful. :lol: If cleaned you could handle it and you wouldn't even get dirty. The BTU's is a big thing. It's less hassle especially if it's hand fired. The best analogy I've ever come up with is the difference between burning hardwood or softwood.

For anyone here in the anthracite region it would probably cost more to use bituminous anyway. There's none in this area and it would have to be shipped here.

I frequently get calls from people where plenty of softcoal is available, once they burn anthracite that's what they want. It may just be you're getting a very high quality bituminous, if you're happy with it then so be it.
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Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: blue83camaro On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:07 pm

I can get high grade bimituous by me, they call it kentucky hard coal. It only smokes when you load fresh coal in. It has more sulfur smell than anthracite and is not cosiderably cheaper. $185 a ton for anthracite vs $160 for kentucky coal. I have not tried it for this reason. I know people who add it to wood fires to keep them thru the night. I have not shopped around but at the one yard Ohio coal was $130 a ton. It seemed like a very high price for soft coal. At those prices the soft coal would actually cost more a month.
blue83camaro
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Us Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: 1600G

PostBy: bjs1779 On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:29 pm

blue83camaro wrote: At those prices the soft coal would actually cost more a month.



According to this chart, some soft coal actually has a slightly higher btu content than the hard stuff.


http://energyconcepts.tripod.com/energyconcepts/coal_data.htm
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.
bjs1779
 

PostBy: Oo-v-oO On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:15 pm

I got my hands on some bituminous coal once and found that it burned much more like wood, which my family and I are far more familiar with.
I'd like to try burning more of it, but you can't find it around here.
Blacksmiths prefer it, if I'm not mistaken, for their hearths.
Oo-v-oO
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Ashley

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:23 pm

Really depends on where it's mined... from the Department of Energy:

Bituminous coal: A dense coal, usually black, sometimes dark brown, often with well-defined bands of bright and dull material, used primarily as fuel in steam-electric power generation, with substantial quantities also used for heat and power applications in manufacturing and to make coke. Bituminous coal is the most abundant coal in active U.S. mining regions. Its moisture content usually is less than 20 percent. The heat content of bituminous coal ranges from 21 to 30 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis. The heat content of bituminous coal consumed in the United States averages 24 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e., containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter).


http://www.eia.doe.gov/glossary/glossary_b.htm
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.




Anthracite: The highest rank of coal; used primarily for residential and commercial space heating. It is a hard, brittle, and black lustrous coal, often referred to as hard coal, containing a high percentage of fixed carbon and a low percentage of volatile matter. The moisture content of fresh-mined anthracite generally is less than 15 percent. The heat content of anthracite ranges from 22 to 28 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis. The heat content of anthracite coal consumed in the United States averages 25 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e., containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter). Note: Since the 1980's, anthracite refuse or mine waste has been used for steam electric power generation. This fuel typically has a heat content of 15 million Btu per ton or less.


http://www.eia.doe.gov/glossary/glossary_a.htm
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.



There was a fuel comparison chart on the same website that used to list bituminous as being lower, that was always my assumption. Anyhow it can be found here on the wayback machine. :)

http://web.archive.org/web/200210190010 ... s/cb5.html
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:25 pm

Oo-v-oO wrote:Blacksmiths prefer it, if I'm not mistaken, for their hearths.



Yes they do, I have a customer who does that as a hobby and he inquired if I had any available. He said he tried the anthracite but it wouldn't work correctly.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: bjs1779 On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:37 pm

[quote="NEPAForum Admin"]Really depends on where it's mined... from the Department of Energy:

Did you notice the West Virgina soft coal figures on that chart I posted? Roughly the same btu's (higher) as Nepa hard coal and way less ash, too. Anyone here burning W. Virgina coal?
bjs1779
 

PostBy: ktm rider On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:00 pm

That is the same coal seam that I buy mine from. I live in Western Md. I can throw a rock and hit West Virginia.
I understand that Anthracite is cleaner burning and less mess. But it just seems that I would be wasting my money on anthracite since soft coal is so cheap around my area. I did not realize that soft coal was still pretty expensive in the anthracite coal regions.
We have so much soft coal in our region that I didn't even know you could even buy coal in bags ! I guess i just assumed everyone pulled their truck up to the coal mine and they dumped it in the back and you were on your way.
That is why I bought my AHS multi fuel boiler and not the coal stoker. I can heat my 3,400 sq ft. home for around $250 a year.
ktm rider
 
Stove/Furnace Make: AHS Multifuel
Stove/Furnace Model: CO 55 with oil backup

PostBy: blue83camaro On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:08 pm

It looks like on average both bimitous and anthracite make similar heat. In order to get the heat output from soft coal you must burn it hot enough to ignite the gases, the same as wood. So if you slow the burn it smokes a lot and the smoke is unburned gas or wasted heat. Anthracite gives off most of its energy when the carbon bonds with oxygen to form CO and CO2. This means the only time the soft coal will out perform the hard coal is when they are both burning at a high rate. That is perfect at a power plant but not for home heating. From what I have read the soft coal should get about 45% of its heat from volitile gases were the anthracite would be roughly 10% heat from volitile gases.

If you ignore heat content I still do not see any real benefits to burning soft coal. It smells more, smokes more, very dirty and creates a lot more fly ash. The only benefit for home heating I see is cost and that will only apply if you burn it pretty hot. If I can find the link to the fireman's handbook I will post it. It explained how to get the most heat out of a coal fire. One thing it pointed out was a good fireman would not have black smoke coming from the stack as that was wasted energy. The book was written for firemen on steam locomotives but some of it would apply to home heating.
blue83camaro
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Us Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: 1600G

PostBy: ktm rider On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:09 pm

I Just looked at the chart provided by BJS 1779 and my area is considered simi Bit. coal from the George cgeek Md. area. ( i even went to school in georges creek!) it does show a little higher BTU output than Anthracite. ANd it also ahows less ash content. Then again I betting there are 10 other charts that would prove that one wrong. Go figure
ktm rider
 
Stove/Furnace Make: AHS Multifuel
Stove/Furnace Model: CO 55 with oil backup

PostBy: blue83camaro On: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:17 pm

I should add that my opinion above is based on the cost around here. If you can get a ton of soft coal for $50 or less and anthracite is 3 times that then it will be signifigantly cheaper to heat with soft coal.
blue83camaro
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Us Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: 1600G

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Jan 21, 2006 7:54 am

ktm rider wrote: But it just seems that I would be wasting my money on anthracite since soft coal is so cheap around my area.


As I said whatever works for you.... 8)
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite