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Removal of mercury from coal via a microbial pretreatment process

United States Patent

August 16, 2011
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Visit the Partnerships Directorate Website
A process for the removal of mercury from coal prior to combustion is disclosed. The process is based on use of microorganisms to oxidize iron, sulfur and other species binding mercury within the coal, followed by volatilization of mercury by the microorganisms. The microorganisms are from a class of iron and/or sulfur oxidizing bacteria. The process involves contacting coal with the bacteria in a batch or continuous manner. The mercury is first solubilized from the coal, followed by microbial reduction to elemental mercury, which is stripped off by sparging gas and captured by a mercury recovery unit, giving mercury-free coal. The mercury can be recovered in pure form from the sorbents via additional processing.
Borole; Abhijeet P. (Knoxville, TN), Hamilton; Choo Y. (Knoxville, TN)
UT-Battelle LLC (Oak Ridge, TN)
11/ 796,173
April 27, 2007
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH This invention was made with United States Government support under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 between the United States Department of Energy and U.T. Battelle, LLC. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.