Trace Elements in West Virginia Coals
Beryllium is one of the Clean Air Act, Title III Hazardous Air Pollutant
elements and is environmentally important.
Geologic Occurrence: Beryllium in coal is generally considered
to be organically bound 1. Beryllium is also expected
to be associated with quartz and clay minerals 1. Coals
of the Kanawha Formation contained the highest Be contents, with lesser
amounts of Be in Lower and Upper Pennsylvanian coals. Highest whole
coal Be contents were in coals of the southern coalfield where Kanawha
Formation coals are mined. Beryllium in coals averaged 2.57 ppm on
a whole coal basis. Statistically Be did not correlate with ash yield,
total sulfur, pyritic sulfur and slightly with yttrium (Y).
Economic Impact: There is no apparent economic impact of beryllium
in coal. Beryllium is used in nuclear reactors, gyroscopes, computer
parts and ceramics 2.
Environmental Impact: Beryllium is toxic and despite generally
low Be abundance in coals, beryllium in the environment is attributed to
coal combustion 3. However, studies have shown that less than
4% of the beryllium in coal burned is emitted to the atmosphere 4.
Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
E.S. and Owens, J.W., (1976)
Page last revised: January 23, 2006
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