Geologic Distribution: Chlorine is probably both organically and inorganically bound in coal 1. Inorganic Cl within mineral matter is present in rare halite (NaCl: salt) 2. Most Cl in coal is likely intimately held within the organic fraction of coal 1. A relatively low number of chlorine analyses of West Virginia coals, n=254, resulted in a poor distribution of samples in the histogram, stratigraphic and geographic diagrams. Chlorine averaged 959 ppm on a whole coal basis in West Virginia coals with a wide range of values. Chlorine did not statistically correlate with ash yield and slightly correlated with only bromine. Stratigraphically, chlorine values were low in Pocahontas Formation and Upper Pennsylvanian coals and highest in New River Formation through Allegheny Group coals. Thus chlorine values were highest in regional of West Virginia where New River through Allegheny coals were mined and generally low in north central West Virginia.
Economic Impact: Chlorine in high abundances in coal can contribute to deposits on, and corrosion of, power plant boiler tubes 1.
Environmental Impact: Coal combustion contributes to atmospheric Cl and 75% of the HCl emitted in western Europe, but is also only a minor contributor (2%) to acidity in the atmosphere 3.
1. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
2. Finkelman, R.B., (1981)
3. Lightowlers and Cape, (1988)
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