Evolution of pore structure, submaceral composition and produced gases of two Chinese coals during thermal treatment

Yi-Dong Cai, Da-Meng Liu, Zhi-Hua Liu, Ying-Fang Zhou, Yao Che

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To better understand coal performance during underground coal gasification, coal combustion and in-situ enhancement of coalbed methane recovery by heating, the variable gases generation and pore structure of subbituminous coal and bituminous coal with thermal treatment related to organic petrology are investigated. Multiple experiments including organic petrology analysis from an optical microscope, gases analysis from thermogravimetry coupled with mass spectrometry (TG-MS), pore structure analysis using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) were constructed to simulate the thermal treatment of coal at elevated temperatures. The coal petrology results exhibit that the submacerals that contribute to the gases generation were significantly reduced when temperature was over 400 °C, especially for collinite, cutinite, resinite and telalginite. And there was only a slight difference in CO2 content between subbituminous coal and bituminous coal, which was reduced in the bituminous coal. On the other hand, thermal decomposition of functional groups of submacerals at over 400 °C also creates more seepage pores and fractures. Pore structure analysis indicates that the adsorption pores were observed with aggregates of plate-like particles leading to slit-shaped pores below 200 °C. However, the massive seepage pores and fissures (over 35.42% in volume) were created in the high-temperature-treated coals, especially between 400 °C and 600 °C. Furthermore, the dominant seepage pores and fissures formed at high temperature (> 400 °C) are due to the pyrolysis of semifusinite and collinite submacerals. These investigations may serve to characterize gases generation and pore evolution of coal during thermal treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-309
Number of pages12
JournalFuel Processing Technology
Early online date18 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

This research was funded by the Research Program for Excellent
Doctoral Dissertation Supervisor of Beijing (grant no.
YB20101141501), the Fundamental Research Funds for Central
Universities (grant no. 35832015136) and Key Project of Coal-based
Science and Technology in Shanxi Province-CBM accumulation
model and reservoir evaluation in Shanxi province (grant no.


  • gas generation
  • pore structure
  • coal
  • thermal treatment
  • coal petrology


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