WVGES Trace Elements in West Virginia Coals

Click Here To Go To Trace Elements Framed Home Page CHROMIUM (Cr)

 Chromium Stratigraphic DistributionChromium Geographic DistributionChromium Summary Statistics

Chromium is one of the Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) as outlined in Title III of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and its concentration in West Virginia coals is of some environmental concern.

Geologic Distribution: Chromium in coal is probably associated with clay minerals, but may also be present as very small chromite (FeCr2O4) grains 1.  In an unpublished study by the WVGES, chromite grains were found in 7 of 24 coals examined. Chromium averaged 17.85 ppm on a whole coal basis and correlated well with ash yield, and the ash related elements thorium (Th), scandium (Sc), vanadium (V), hafnium (Hf), lithium (Li), tantalum (Ta), lead (Pb), zirconium (Zr), cesium (Cs) and niobium (Nb) and rare earth elements cerium (Ce), lanthanum (La), europium (Eu), samarium (Sm) and lutetium (Lu). Chromium content was generally low with elevated values in coals of the upper Kanawha Formation, Allegheny and Conemaugh groups and the Dunkard group coals of southern and north central West Virginia.

Economic Impact: Chromium in coal has no economic value or impact.  Chromium is used to harden steel, in stainless steel, chrome plating, glass coloring and widely used as a catalyst 2.

Environmental Impact: Coal combustion is a source of Cr in the atmosphere, but so are volcanic eruptions 3. There is no evidence of deleterious effects of Cr from coal 3. However, chromium has been listed as an element of "moderate concern 4.

    1. Finkelman, R.B., (1981)
    2. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
    3. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
    4. PECH, (1980)
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