A process investigation of the biosolubilisation of low rank coal in slurry system

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The coal biosolubilisation processes may be used to convert low rank coal to either a clean, cost-effective energy source or to value-added products. This can lead to increased utilisation of low-rank coal. Low-rank coal is currently under-utilised because of its low calorific value, high moisture and sulphur content. Most research on coal biosolubilisation has centred on pre-treated coal. Little work is reported on naive coal. Low yields of solubilised coal products are currently reported in the literature. This may be due to further degradation of the soluble processes or to limitation of solubilisation step. These products have potential as starting materials for biotransformation to value-added products. However, to date, small volumes of solubilised coal products are available to assess their potential for further biotransformation owing to current biosolubilisation of low-rank coal being widely carried out as a small scale Petri dishes or Erlenmeyer flask of volume. This dissertation presents the results of the investigation of biosolubilisation of low-rank coal in slurry systems using Trichoderma alroviride. Its main objectives were to investigate key operating variables influencing untreated low rank coal biosolubilisation and degradation of soluble products, and to study different reactor configurations for coal biosolubilisation

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 127-136).