CIMFR’s Knowledgebase in Fuel Sciences:
CIMFR (erstwhile CFRI) has had its significant role as a singular and leading civilian funded research laboratory in the area of energy. The role of CIMFR, in close association with coal exploration/exploitation agencies has been to prove and augment coal resources for their rational and efficient utilization. The regional research laboratories rendered invaluable service through country wide systematic studies on virgin coal resources as well as run of mine coals. Lab scale and pilot scale studies on beneficiation and product/ by=product evaluation for appropriate end uses have formed a formidable base of techno-infrastructure for the steel plants, washeries, power stations and also the growth of the coal industry itself. The contribution towards elucidation of structure and constitution of coals earned international repute as Indian school of thoughts. CIMFR has suggested a structure of coal laying emphasis on hydro-aromatic structure as the key to coalification. Pioneering work on petrographic studies on Indian coal has formed national database on coal petrographic properties.
CIMFR has played a guiding role for the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for standardization at the national level related to coal and other associated products. CIMFR has established and standardized the necessary techniques covering the sampling of in-situ seams, coal stacks, wagons, belt conveyors etc., and the analysis and characterization of coals. An important facet of this work extends to the area of classification and grading of coal through the Bureau and the Ministry of coal. While the classification (BIS) has been helping the choice of coal for appropriate industrial uses, the grading (Ministry of coal) , earlier through UHV concept and presently through Gross Calorific Value system, has helped rationalizing the pricing structure to effectively support national economy.
Systematic studies conducted by CIMFR on coal washing has set aside the doubts about the cleaning possibilities of Indian coals that led to the planning of all the present public sector coking coal washeries. CIMFR has been involved from time to time in preparing flow sheet and equipment specifications for coal washeries through preparation of project reports on the basis of detailed studies. Coal preparation has developed flow sheet for beneficiation of LVC coals, which are at present fed to the power plants. Technologies like oil agglomeration, mini flotation plant, oleo flotation technique etc. have been developed for beneficiation of coal fines.
Coal carbonization is another area where CIMFR has made a national impact. Laboratory investigations and plant assessments has paved the way to provide formulation of coal blends to the steel industry in the country and assess low, medium and high temperature carbonization characteristics of Indian coals for preparing domestic and metallurgical cokes. CIMFR developed a new type of beehive ovens for coke making. These ovens have low installation cost, faster heating rate and give higher yield of coke. Many beehive coke ovens set up in the country are based on this design. Later, CIMFR successfully commissioned KUMBRAJ Oven. These ovens produce better quality coke and nearly pollution free. CIMFR has made notable contribution on various aspects of recovery and utilization of coke oven by-products. This dealt with the identification and estimations of different compounds present in the by-products, separation of individual components and processing these to intermediates which find applications in the making of dyes, drugs and agricultural chemicals. Processes developed for recovery and isolation of important constituents like naphthalene, anthracene, cyano-pyridines, picolines, phenols, cresols etc.
CIMFR has made command able contribution in coal combustion and gasification. CIMFR designed and developed a AFBC boiler – A 10 MW unit installed at Jamadoba, TISCO by BHEL using AFBC technology developed by CIMFR. Paddy husk combustor cum hot air generator replaced fuel oil in rice mills of Food Corporation of India. CIMFR has developed pilot scale fluidized bed gasifier suitable to handle high ash coal and coal-bio mass blends.
CIMFR has successfully carried out work on the conversion of coal to liquid fuels indirect liquefaction through gasification and FT process. CIMFR has developed catalysts for coal to liquid fuels by FT process. The catalysts have been evaluated to get middle distillates preferentially.