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Title:
METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR ENHANCING SOLID FUEL PROPERTIES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/115267
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
In embodiments of the present invention improved capabilities are described for a method of cleaning a solid fuel that may provide a starting solid fuel sample data relating to one or more characteristics of a solid fuel to be treated by a solid fuel treatment facility; may provide a desired solid fuel characteristic; may compare the starting solid fuel sample data relating to one or more characteristics to the desired solid fuel characteristic to determine a solid fuel composition delta; may determine an operational treatment parameter for the operation of the solid fuel treatment facility to clean the solid fuel based at least in part on the solid fuel composition delta; and may monitor contaminants emitted from the solid fuel during treatment of the solid fuel and regulating the operational treatment parameter with respect thereto to create a cleaned solid fuel.

Inventors:
WEINBERG, Jerry, L. (5333 SW 75th Street, G-45Gainesville, FL, 32608, US)
GINTHER, Neil, E. (406 North Emerson Street, Jenks, OK, 74037, US)
ATEN, Jed, A. (80 Spring Valley Way, Covington, GA, 30016, US)
WANG, Ru, T. (501 NW 11th Ave, Gainesville, FL, 32601, US)
DROZD, James, Michael (1614 Scales Street, Raleigh, NC, 27608, US)
Application Number:
US2007/065801
Publication Date:
October 11, 2007
Filing Date:
April 02, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COALTEK CORPORATION (2189 Flintstone Drive, Suite ATucker, GA, 30084, US)
WEINBERG, Jerry, L. (5333 SW 75th Street, G-45Gainesville, FL, 32608, US)
GINTHER, Neil, E. (406 North Emerson Street, Jenks, OK, 74037, US)
ATEN, Jed, A. (80 Spring Valley Way, Covington, GA, 30016, US)
WANG, Ru, T. (501 NW 11th Ave, Gainesville, FL, 32601, US)
DROZD, James, Michael (1614 Scales Street, Raleigh, NC, 27608, US)
International Classes:
F23C1/10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MAZZARESE, Robert, A. (Strategic Patents, PCC/o Intellevate,P.o. Box 5205, Minneapolis MN, 55402, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method of cleaning a solid fuel, comprising: providing a starting solid fuel sample data relating to one or more characteristics of a solid fuel to be treated by a solid fuel treatment facility; providing a desired solid fuel characteristic; comparing the starting solid fuel sample data relating to one or more characteristics to the desired solid fuel characteristic to determine a solid fuel composition delta; determining an operational treatment parameter for the operation of the solid fuel treatment facility to clean the solid fuel based at least in part on the solid fuel composition delta; and monitoring contaminants emitted from the solid fuel during treatment of the solid fuel and regulating the operational treatment parameter with respect thereto to create a cleaned solid fuel.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the solid fuel treatment facility is a microwave solid fuel treatment facility.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the solid fuel is coal.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the solid fuel sample data is a database.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the solid fuel characteristic is water moisture percentage.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the solid fuel characteristic is ash percentage.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the solid fuel characteristic is sulfur percentage.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the solid fuel characteristic is the type of solid fuel.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the operational treatment parameter is microwave power.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the operational treatment parameter is microwave frequency.

11. The method of claim 1 , wherein the operational treatment parameter is a frequency of microwave application.

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the contaminants comprise water.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the contaminants comprise hygrogen.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the contaminants comprise hydroxyls.

15. The method of claim 1, wherein the contaminants comprise sulfur gas.

16. The method of claim 1, wherein the contaminants comprise liquid sulfur.

17. The method of claim 1, wherein the contaminants comprise ash.

18. The method of claim 1, wherein the emitted contaminates are monitored by solid fuel facility sensors.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the sensors provide feedback information for the regulating of the operational treatment parameter.

2U. The method ol claim 1, further comprising the step ot providing a high voltage power from a utility owned power transmission line directly to a microwave generator in the treatment facility, wherein the utility owned power transmission line is adapted to carry over 15kv.

21. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of providing a multi-layered conveyor belt to carry the solid fuel through the treatment facility, wherein the multi- layered conveyor belt is adapted to pass a substantial portion of microwave energy through the belt while having a top layer that is resistant to abrasion and a second layer that is resistant to high temperatures.

22. A solid fuel treatment facility, comprising: an input facility adapted to receive a starting solid fuel sample data related to one or more characteristics of a solid fuel to be treated by a solid fuel treatment facility and a desired solid fuel characteristic; a comparison facility adapted to compare the starting solid fuel sample data related to the one or more characteristics to the desired solid fuel characteristic to determine a solid fuel composition delta; the solid fuel treatment facility further adapted to clean the solid fuel based at least in part on the solid fuel composition delta; at least one sensor adapted to monitor contaminants emitted from the solid fuel during treatment of the solid fuel; and a treatment regulation facility adapted to regulate an operational treatment parameter in accordance with feedback obtained from the at least one sensor with respect thereto the composition delta to create a cleaned solid fuel.

23. The system of claim 22, wherein the solid fuel treatment facility is a microwave solid fuel treatment facility.

24. The system of claim 22, wherein the solid fuel is coal.

25. The system ol claim 22, wherein the solid tuel sample data is a database.

26. The system of claim 22, wherein the solid fuel characteristic is water moisture percentage.

27. The system of claim 22, wherein the solid fuel characteristic is ash percentage.

28. The system of claim 22, wherein the solid fuel characteristic is sulfur percentage.

29. The system of claim 22, wherein the solid fuel characteristic is the type of solid fuel.

30. The system of claim 22, wherein the operational treatment parameter is microwave power.

31. The system of claim 22, wherein the operational treatment parameter is microwave frequency.

32. The system of claim 22, wherein the operational treatment parameter is a frequency of microwave application.

33. The system of claim 22, wherein the contaminants comprise water.

34. The system of claim 22, wherein the contaminants comprise hygrogen.

35. The system of claim 22, wherein the contaminants comprise hydroxyls.

36. The system of claim 22, wherein the contaminants comprise sulfur gas.

37. The system of claim 22, wherein the contaminants comprise liquid sulfur.

38. The system of claim 22, wherein the contaminants comprise ash.

39. The system of claim 22, wherein the emitted contaminates are monitored by the solid fuel facility sensors.

40. The system of claim 39, wherein the sensors provide feedback information for the regulating of the operational treatment parameter.

41. The system of claim 22, further comprising high voltage power from a utility owned power transmission line directly to a microwave generator in the treatment facility, wherein the utility owned power transmission line is adapted to carry over 15kv.

42. The system of claim 22, further a multi-layered conveyor belt to carry the solid fuel through the treatment facility, wherein the multi-layered conveyor belt is adapted to pass a substantial portion of microwave energy through the belt while having a top layer that is resistant to abrasion and a second layer that is resistant to high temperatures.

Description:

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR ENHANCING SOLID FUEL PROPERTIES

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the priority of the following provisional applications, each of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety: U.S. Prov. Appl. No. 60/788,297 filed March 31, 2006, U.S. Prov. Appl. No. 60/820,482 filed July 26, 2006, U.S. Prov. Appl. No. 60/828,031 filed October 3, 2006, and U.S. Prov. Appl. No. 60/867,749 filed November 29, 2006.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Field:

[0003] This invention relates to the treatment of solid fuels, and more particularly, treatment of solid fuels using a microwave energy to remove contaminants.

[0004] Description of the Related Art:

[0005] The presence of moisture, ash, sulfur and other materials in varied amounts in all solid fuels generally results in inconsistencies in fuel burn parameters and contamination produced by the burning process. The burning of solid fuels may result in the production of noxious gases, such as nitrous oxides (NO x ) and sulfur oxides (SO x ). Additionally, burning solid fuel may result in the generation of inorganic ash with elements of additional materials. Amounts of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) that are generated as a result of burning solid fuels may contribute to global warming. Each of these byproducts will be produced at varying levels depending on the quality of the solid fuel used.

[0006] Various processes have been used in the treatment of solid fuels such as washing, air drying, tumble drying, and heating to remove some of the unwanted materials that are be present in the solid fuels. These processes may require the solid fuel to be crushed, pulverized, or otherwise processed into a size that is not be optimum for an end-user. To further reduce emissions, exhaust scrubbers may be used at the combustion facility. There exists a need to further reduce the harmful emissions produced as a result of burning solid fuels and reduce the costs associated with the control of such emissions.

Page l of 157

SUMMARY

[0007] An aspect of the present invention relates to cleaning sold fuels based at least in part on the initial condition of the solid fuel. In embodiments, the solid fuel is tested or sampled to generate an initial data set relating to the starting characteristics of the fuel. Target or final (treated) fuel characteristics may be known and the treatment process may be set up, monitored and/or regulated with respect to the initial characteristics and the target characteristics. A method and system described herein may include providing as inputs, a starting solid fuel sample data and desired solid fuel characteristics to determine a product start and finish composition delta; comparing and combining the inputs relative to a solid fuel treatment facility capabilities for determination of operational treatment parameters to produce the desired treated product; and transmitting the operational parameters to a monitoring facility and controller for controlling the treatment of the product in a solid fuel treatment facility.

[0008] An aspect of the present invention relates to feeding information relating to treated solid fuels back to the sold fuel treatment facility to further regulate the process. A method and system disclosed herein may include testing a solid fuel following a cleaning treatment and then feeding information pertaining to the test back to the treatment facility. A solid fuel output parameter facility may receive the final treated solid fuel characteristics from a post treatment testing facility; the characteristics may be representative of the final produced treated solid fuel; the solid fuel output parameter may transmit the final treated solid fuel characteristics to a monitoring facility; the monitoring facility may compare the final treated solid fuel characteristics to desired solid fuel characteristics for determination of solid fuel treatment operational parameter adjustments; and the adjustments made for the final treated solid fuel characteristics may be in addition to any other solid fuel operational parameter adjustments.

[0009] A method and system disclosed herein may include a solid fuel continuous feed treatment facility controlled by operational parameters. A controller may provide solid fuel treatment operational parameters to the continuous feed treatment facility components such as a transport belt, microwave systems, sensors, collection systems, preheat facility, cool down facility, and the like. Continuous feed treatment

facility sensors may measure solid fuel treatment process results, component operation, continuous feed treatment facility environmental conditions, and transmitting the measured information to the controller and a monitoring facility. The monitoring facility may compare the measured information to the solid fuel treatment operational parameters and adjust the operational parameters. The adjusted operational parameters may be provided to the continuous feed treatment facility controller.

[0010] A method and system disclosed herein may include monitoring and adjusting the treatment of a solid fuel using generated processing parameters and sensor input. The method and system may involve receiving operational treatment parameters from a parameter generation facility for the control of solid fuel treatment within a continuous feed treatment facility. The method and system may involve monitoring and adjusting the operational treatment parameters based on input from the continuous feed treatment facility sensors. The method and system may involve providing the adjusted operational treatment parameters to a controller, the controller providing the operational parameters to the components of the continuous feed treatment facility.

[0011] A method and system disclosed herein may include sensors used to measure operational performance of a solid fuel belt facility. Sensors of a solid fuel treatment belt facility may measure the products released from the solid fuels such as moisture, sulfur, ash, and the like. Sensors of the solid fuel continuous feed treatment facility may measure operational parameters of the continuous feed treatment facility components used to treat the solid fuel. The sensors may transmit measured information to a continuous feed treatment facility controller, a monitoring facility, and a pricing transactional facility. The released product sensor information may be used by the monitoring facility and controller to adjust the belt facility operational parameters. The component operational sensor information may be used by the pricing transactional facility for determination of operational cost.

[0012] A method and system disclosed herein may include controlling solid fuel treatment using a continuous real time operational parameter feedback loop. The method and system may involve providing a continuous feed treatment facility controller with component parameters from a parameter generation facility. The continuous feed treatment facility controller may apply the component parameters to operate the various

treatment components tor the proper treatment ot the solid tuel. Belt tacility sensors may measure various operational and solid fuel released products and transmit the measurement information to the monitoring facility. The monitoring facility may adjust the solid fuel treatment parameters by a comparison of the sensor measurements and the operational requirements; and the monitoring facility may transmit the adjusted parameters to the controller. The controller/sensor/monitor adjustment loop may be continuous in a real time feedback loop to maintain the desired final treated solid fuel.

[0013] A method and system disclosed herein may include the monitor and control of a solid fuel microwave system operation. A microwave system set of operational parameters such as frequency, power, and duty cycle may be controlled by a belt facility controller during the treatment of the solid fuel. The microwave system outputs and solid fuel released products may be measured by sensors to determine the effectiveness of the microwave parameters; the measurements may be transmitted to a monitoring facility. The monitoring facility may adjust the microwave system operational parameters based on comparison of the sensor measured information and the required operational requirements (e.g. parameter generation facility). The adjusted microwave operational parameters may be transmitted to the microwave system by the continuous feed treatment facility controller.

[0014] A method and system disclosed herein may include controlled removal of solid fuel released products using a solid fuel continuous feed treatment facility. A set of sensors may measure the volume or rate of release of the solid fuel released products. The set of sensors may transmit the released products information to the controller and monitoring facility to provide rate of removal information. The set of sensors may transmit the released products removal rate to the pricing transactional facility; the pricing transactional facility may determine the value of the released products or the cost to dispose of the released products.

[0015] An aspect of the present invention relates to a conveyor that operates within a continuous feed treatment facility. The conveyor may carry the solid fuel through the treatment facility while the solid fuel is being treated (e.g. carrying coal through a microwave energy field). A method and system of providing a conveyor facility may involve adapting it to transport solid fuel through a treatment facility. The

conveyor may include a combination ol features such as low microwave loss, high abrasion resistance, prolonged elevated temperature resistance, temperature insulation, burn-through resistance, high melt point, non-porous, and resistance to thermal run-away. The conveyor facility may be a substantially continuous belt. The conveyor facility may include a plurality of ridge sections that are flexibly coupled.

[0016] Aspects of the present invention relate to a solid fuel treatment methods and systems. Embodiments of the present invention relate to a conveyor belt adapted to move solid fuel (e.g. coal) through a treatment facility. In embodiments, the solid fuel treatment facility is adapted to treat the solid fuel by processing it through a microwave field. In embodiments the conveyor system is specially adapted to provide resilient performance when used in conjunction with the solid fuel treatment process.

[0017] Embodiments of the present invention relate to systems and methods of transporting solid fuel through a solid fuel treatment facility. The systems and methods may involve providing a conveyor facility adapted to transport the solid fuel through a solid fuel microwave processing facility. In embodiments the conveyor facility is adapted to have at least one of or a combination of features such as low microwave loss, high abrasion resistance, prolonged elevated temperature resistance, localized elevated temperature resistance, temperature insulation, burn-through resistance, high melting point, non-porous with respect to particulates, non-porous with respect to moisture, resistance to thermal run-away or the other such features that create a resilient conveyor facility.

[0018] In embodiments the conveyor facility is a conveyor belt. The conveyor belt may be a substantially contiguous belt. The conveyor belt may comprise a plurality of rigid sections flexibly coupled together. In other embodiments, the conveyor is another physical arrangement intended to transport the solid fuel through a continuous or substantially continuous treatment process.

[0019] In embodiments the solid fuel treatment facility may be a microwave treatment facility and it may also process the solid fuel through other systems as well, such as heating, washing, gasification, burning, and steaming. The conveyor facility may be made of a low microwave loss material. For example it may be adapted to have low loss between microwave frequencies of approximately 300 MHz and approximately 1

UHz. lhe conveyor facility may be resistant to prolonged high temperatures, tor example it may be resistant to prolonged temperatures within the range of approximately 200 F or above. The conveyor facility may be resistant to high localized temperatures. For example it may be resistant to localized temperatures of approximately 600 F or above. There are many other conveyor facility attributes and materials as well as processes for managing the conveyor system described herein.

[0020] An aspect of the present invention relates improved methods and systems for operating microwave generating magnetrons associated with a continuous feed solid fuel treatment facility. A method and system disclosed herein may include powering the magnetron through a direct utility high voltage transmission supply to avoid the step of stepping the voltage down (e.g at a sub station) and then back up (e.g. for use at the magnetron). The power system may include providing a high voltage power conversion facility that may be adapted to receive high voltage alternating current and deliver high voltage direct current.

[0021] A method and system disclosed herein may include direct high voltage usage by receiving high voltage alternating current from a high power distribution facility; directly generating high voltage direct current from the high voltage alternating current; and applying the high voltage direct current to a magnetron associated with a continuous feed solid fuel treatment facility.

[0022] A method and system disclosed herein may include direct high voltage usage by receiving high voltage alternating current from a high power distribution facility; converting the high voltage alternating current to high voltage direct current; and applying the high voltage direct current to a magnetron associated with a continuous feed solid fuel treatment facility, the high power distribution facility may be protected by a non-transforming inductor facility in association with a high speed circuit breaker.

[0023] A method and system disclosed herein may include transactional pricing for solid fuel treatment using processing feedback. A transactional facility may receive solid fuel treatment operational information from solid fuel facility systems such as a monitoring facility, sensors, removal system, solid fuel output parameter facility, or the like. The transactional facility may be able to determine the operational cost of the final treated solid fuel using the operational information of the above systems. The cost

may include the power requirements tor the various solid treatment belt tacility components, solid fuel released products collected in the removal system, inert gases used, and the like. The transactional facility may determine the final value of the treated solid fuel by adding the treatment cost to the starting cost of the raw solid fuel.

[0024] A method and systems disclosed herein may include modeling cost associated with processing solid fuel for a specific end-use facility. The method and system may involve providing a database containing a set of solid fuel characteristics for a plurality of solid fuel samples, a set of specifications for solid fuel substrates used by a set of end-user facilities, a set of operational parameters used to transform a solid fuel sample into a solid fuel substrate used by an end-user and a set of solid fuels associated with implementation of the set of operational parameters. The method and system may further involve identifying solid fuel characteristics for a designated starting solid fuel sample; identifying specifications for the solid fuel substrate used by the end-user facility; retrieving from the database the set of operational parameters associated with transforming the starting solid fuel sample into the solid fuel substrate; and retrieving from the database the set of costs associated with the set of operational parameters

[0025] A method and system disclosed herein may include a transaction involving producing solid fuel adapted for a selected end use facility. The method and system may involve obtaining specifications from a selected end use facility for a solid fuel substrate; comparing the specifications to a set of characteristics for a starting solid fuel sample; determining operational treatment parameters for processing the starting solid fuel sample to transform it into a solid fuel substrate conforming to the specifications from the selected end use facility; processing the starting solid fuel sample in accordance with the operational treatment parameters, measuring characteristics of the solid fuel substrate; and calculating a price for the solid fuel substrate.

[0026] A method and system disclosed herein may include a database for solid fuel processing; a set of solid fuel characteristics for a plurality of solid fuel samples; a set of specifications for solid fuel substrates used by a set of end-user facilities; and a set of operational parameters used to transform a solid fuel sample into a solid fuel substrate used by the end-user facility.

IUU27] A method and system disclosed herein may include compiling a database for solid fuel processing. The method and system may involve aggregating a set of solid fuel characteristics for a plurality of solid fuel samples; aggregating a set of specifications for solid fuel substrates used by a set of end-user facilities; and aggregating a set of operational parameters used to transform a solid fuel sample into a solid fuel substrate used by an end-user.

[0028] A method and system disclosed herein may include generating solid fuel treatment parameters based on a desired final treated characteristic. The method and system may involve providing as inputs, the starting solid fuel sample data and desired solid fuel characteristics for a selected end-use facility; comparing and combining the inputs relative to the solid fuel treatment facility capabilities for determination of operational treatment parameters to produce a treated solid fuel suitable for the selected end-use facility; and transmitting the operational parameters to a monitoring facility and controller for controlling the treatment of the product in the solid fuel treatment facility.

[0029] A method and system disclosed herein may include producing solid fuel adapted for a selected end-use facility. The method and system may involve determining a first set of characteristics for a starting solid fuel sample; identifying a set of characteristics for output solid fuel adapted for a selected end-use facility; determining operational treatment parameters for processing the starting solid fuel sample to transform it into output solid fuel adapted for the selected end-use facility; and processing the starting solid fuel sample in accordance with the operational treatment parameters, whereby the starting solid fuel sample may be transformed into output solid fuel adapted for the selected end-use facility.

[0030] A method and system may include solid fuel gasification by selecting a solid fuel suitable for gasification; identifying characteristics of the solid fuel pertinent to gasification; determining solid fuel treatment operational parameters for the solid fuel based on the characteristics pertinent to gasification; treating the solid fuel using the operational parameters to release a gas; and collecting the gas released during treatment of the solid fuel. The solid fuel may be treated using microwave technology, treated using heating technology, treated using pressure, treated using steam, or the like. The gas may be syngas, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, or the like.

[UU31J A method and system may include solid tuel gasification by selecting a solid fuel suitable for gasification; determining solid fuel treatment operational parameters based on a gasification requirement from an end-user; treating the solid fuel using the operational parameters to release a gas; and collecting the gas released during treatment of the solid fuel. The end-user may be a power generation facility, a chemical facility, a fuel cell facility, or the like. The solid fuel may be treated using microwave technology, treated using heating technology, treated using pressure, treated using steam, or the like. The gas may be syngas, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, or the like.

[0032] A method and system may include solid fuel gasification by selecting a solid fuel suitable for gasification; determining solid fuel treatment operational parameters based on a gasification requirement; treating the solid fuel using the operational parameters to release a gas; and collecting the gas released during treatment of the solid fuel. The gasification requirement may include obtaining a preselected amount of the gas. The gasification requirement may include obtaining a preselected gas. The solid fuel may be treated using microwave technology, treated using heating technology, treated using pressure, treated using steam, or the like. The gas may be syngas, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, or the like.

[0033] A method and system may include solid fuel liquefaction by selecting a solid fuel suitable for liquefaction; identifying characteristics of the solid fuel pertinent to liquefaction; determining solid fuel treatment operational parameters for the solid fuel based on the characteristics pertinent to liquefaction; treating the solid fuel using the operational parameters to produce a desired liquid; and collecting the desired liquid. The operational parameters may include using a Fischer-Tropsch process, using a Bergius process, using a direct hydrogenation process, using a low temperature carbonization (LTC) process, or the like.

[0034] A method and system may include solid fuel treatment by selecting a solid fuel for treatment; identifying characteristics of the solid fuel; determining solid fuel treatment operation parameters for the solid fuel based on the characteristics; and treating the solid fuel using the operational parameters, the operational parameters may include pre-heating the solid fuel, and the operational parameters may include post heating the solid fuel.

[UU35J A system lor integrated solid luel treatment may include a solid luel continuous feed treatment facility that removes contaminants from a solid fuel to produce a cleaned solid fuel energy source (e.g. coal cleaned using a continuous feed microwave treatment facility); and a solid fuel usage facility (e.g. a power plant, steel plant, etc.), co- located with the solid fuel treatment facility, wherein the cleaned solid fuel energy source is used as an energy source in the co-located usage facility. The solid fuel treatment facility may provide treated solid fuel directly to the solid fuel usage facility, to the solid fuel usage facility, to the solid fuel usage facility, or the like. The solid fuel treatment facility may provide treated solid fuel indirectly to the solid fuel usage facility, to the solid fuel usage facility, to the solid fuel usage facility, or the like. The solid fuel usage facility may request a particular solid fuel treatment from the solid fuel treatment facility. The particular solid fuel treatment may produce a type of solid fuel energy source for the solid fuel usage facility. The particular solid fuel treatment may produce a type of non- solid fuel product for the solid fuel usage facility. The particular solid fuel treatment may produce a specific characteristic in the solid fuel. The solid fuel energy source may be syngas, hydrogen, or the like. The solid fuel energy source may be a solid fuel usage facility optimized solid fuel. The non-solid fuel product may be ash, sulfur, water, sulfur, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, syngas, hydrogen, or the like. The solid fuel usage facility may be a power generation facility, a steel mill, chemical facility, a landfill, a water treatment facility, or the like.

[0036] A method and systems disclosed herein may include providing a starting solid fuel sample data relating to one or more characteristics of a solid fuel to be treated by a solid fuel treatment facility; providing a desired solid fuel characteristic; comparing the starting solid fuel sample data relating to one or more characteristics to the desired solid fuel characteristic to determine a solid fuel composition delta; determining an operational treatment parameter for the operation of the solid fuel treatment facility to clean the solid fuel based at least in part on the solid fuel composition delta; and monitoring contaminants emitted from the solid fuel during treatment of the solid fuel and regulating the operational treatment parameter with respect thereto to create a cleaned solid fuel. The solid fuel treatment facility may be a microwave solid fuel

treatment facility. 1 he solid tuel may be coal. 1 he solid tuel sample data may be a database.

[0037] The solid fuel characteristic may be water moisture percentage, ash percentage, sulfur percentage, a type of solid fuel, or the like.

[0038] The operational treatment parameter may be microwave power, a microwave frequency, a frequency of microwave application, or the like.

[0039] The contaminants may include water, hygrogen, hydroxyls, sulfur gas, liquid sulfur, ash, or the like.

[0040] The emitted contaminates may be monitored by solid fuel facility sensors. The sensors may provide feedback information for the regulating of the operational treatment parameter.

[0041] The method and system may further include the step of providing a high voltage power from a utility owned power transmission line directly to a microwave generator in the treatment facility, wherein the utility owned power transmission line may be adapted to carry high voltage (e.g. over 15kv.)

[0042] The method and system may further include the step of providing a multi-layered conveyor belt to carry the solid fuel through the treatment facility, wherein the multi-layered conveyor belt may be adapted to pass a substantial portion of microwave energy through the belt while having a top layer that may be resistant to abrasion and a second layer that may be resistant to high temperatures.

[0043] These and other systems, methods, objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment and the drawings. All documents mentioned herein are hereby incorporated in their entirety by reference.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0044] The invention and the following detailed description of certain embodiments thereof may be understood by reference to the following figures:

[0045] Fig. 1 depicts an embodiment of the overall system architecture of the solid fuel treatment facility.

IUU46] Fig. 2 depicts an embodiment ot the relationship ot the solid tuel treatment facility to end users of the treated solid fuel.

[0047] Fig. 3 depicts an embodiment of a conveyor belt with a multiple layer configuration.

[0048] Fig. 4 depicts an embodiment of a conveyor belt without a cover layer.

[0049] Fig. 5 depicts a conveyor belt incorporating an inserted middle layer of temperature resistant material.

[0050] Fig. 6 depicts an embodiment of a conveyor belt incorporating a multiple layer configuration that may include a temperature resistant material.

[0051] Fig. 7 depicts an embodiment of a magnetron that may be used as a part of the microwave system of the solid fuel treatment facility.

[0052] Fig. 8 depicts an embodiment of a high voltage supply facility for a magnetron.

[0053] Fig. 9 depicts an embodiment of a transformerless high voltage input transmission facility.

[0054] Fig. 10 depicts an embodiment of a high voltage input transmission facility with a transformer.

[0055] Fig. 11 depicts an embodiment of a transformerless high voltage input transmission facility with inductor.

[0056] Fig. 12 depicts an embodiment of a direct DC high voltage input transmission facility with a transformer.

[0057] Fig. 13 depicts an embodiment of a high voltage input transmission facility with transformer isolation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0058] Fig. 1 illustrates aspects of the present invention that relate to a solid fuel treatment facility 132 using electromagnetic energy to remove products from a solid fuel by heating the products contained within the solid fuel to enhance the solid fuel properties. In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be used to treat any type of solid fuel, including, for example and without limitation, coal, coke, charcoal, peat, wood, and briquettes. While many embodiments of the present invention will be disclosed in connection with coal processing, it should be understood that such embodiments may relate to other forms of solid fuel processing such as coke, charcoal, peat, wood, briquettes, and the like.

[UU59J As depicted in Fig. 1, the solid tuel treatment tacility 132 may be used as a stand alone facility, or it may be associated with, a coal mine 102, a coal storage facility 112, or the like. As depicted in more detail in Fig. 2, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be associated with a coal use facility such as a coal combustion facility 200, coal conversion facility 210, a coal byproduct facility 212, a coal shipping facility 214, a coal storage facility 218, or the like.

[0060] In embodiments, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be used to improve the quality of a coal by removing non-coal products that may prevent the optimum burning characteristics of the particular type coal. Non-coal products may include moisture, sulfur, ash, water, hygrogen, hydroxyls, volatile matter, or the like. The non-coal products may reduce the BTU/lb burn characteristics of a coal by requiring BTU to heat and remove the non-coal product before the coal can burn (e.g. water), or such products may inhibit air flow into the structure of the coal during burning (e.g. ash). Coal may have a plurality of grades that may be rated by the amount of non-coal products in the coal (e.g. water, sulfur, hygrogen, hydroxyls and ash). In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may treat coal by performing a number of process steps directed at removing the non-coal products from the coal. In an embodiment, a method of removing non-coal products from the coal may be accomplished by heating of the non- coal products within the coal to allow the release of the non-coal products from the coal. The heating may be accomplished by using electromagnetic energy in the form of microwave or radio wave energy (microwave) to heat non-coal products. In embodiments, the coal may be treated using a transportation system to move coal passed at least one microwave system 148 and/or other process steps.

[0061] Referring to Fig. 1, aspects of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 are shown with an embodiment of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 with other associated coal treatment components. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may receive coal from at least a mine 102 or a coal storage facility 112. There may be a number of databases that track and store coal characteristics of raw mined coal and the desired coal characteristics 122 of a particular type of coal or a particular batch of coal. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may have a plurality of systems and facilities to support the treatment of coal that may determine operational parameters, monitor and modify the

operational parameters, transport the coal through a chamber tor the treatment ot coal, remove non-coal products from the chamber, collect and dispose of non-coal products, output the treated coal, and the like. After the coal has been treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein, it may be transferred to a coal usage facility, as shown in Fig. 2. In addition, data and other relevant information produced during testing of the treated coal may be transferred to a coal usage facility, as shown in Fig. 2.

[0062] Referring to Fig. 2, aspects of the coal usage after the solid fuel treatment facility 132 treatment of the coal is shown. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may improve the coal quality by removing non-coal products that may allow the various coal use facilities to use the coal with improved burn rates and fewer byproducts. Coal use facilities may include, but not limited to, coal combustion facilities (e.g. power generation, heating, metallurgy), coal conversion facilities (e.g. gasification), coal byproduct facilities, coal shipping facilities, coal storage facilities, and the like. By using treated coal from the solid fuel treatment facility 132, the coal use facilities may be able to use lesser grades of coal, have fewer byproducts, have lower emissions, have higher burn rates (e.g. BTU/lb), and the like. Depending, for example, on the coal volumes required by a particular coal use facility, there may be a solid fuel treatment facility 132 directly associated with a coal use facility or the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be remote from the coal use facility.

[0063] At a high level, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may include a number of components that may provide the aspects of the invention; some of the components may contain additional components, modules, or systems. Components of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may include a parameter generation facility 128, intake facility 124, monitoring facility 134, gas generation facility 152, anti-ignition facility 154, belt facility 130, containment facility 162, treatment facility 160, disposal facility 158, cooling facility 164, out-take facility 168, testing facility 170, and the like. The belt facility 130 may additionally include a preheat facility 138, controller 144, microwave/radio wave system 148, parameter control facility 140, sensor system 142, removal system 150, and the like. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may receive coal from at least a coal mine 102 or coal storage facility 112 and may provide treated coal to

at least a coal combustion facility 2UU, coal conversion facility 2 IU, coal byproduct facility 212, coal shipping facility 214, coal storage facility 218 and the like.

[0064] Referring again to Fig. 1, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may receive raw coal from a plurality of different raw coal sources such as coal mines 102 or coal storage facilities 112. The output of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be to a plurality of different coal use enterprises such as coal combustion facilities 2ϋϋ, coal conversion facilities 2 IU, coal byproduct facilities 212, coal shipping facilities 214, treated coal storage facilities 218, and the like. The treatment of coal in a solid fuel treatment facility 132 may input raw coal at the beginning of a process, perform a number of processes (heating, cooling, non-coal product collection), and output the treated coal to an out-take facility 168 for distribution. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be associated with a coal source (e.g. coal mine or storage facility), stand alone facility, associated with a coal use facility, or the like.

[0065] In embodiments, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be located at a coal source to allow the coal source to provide optimum coal characteristics for the coal it produces. For example, the coal mine may be mining a low grade coal with a high moisture content. The coal mine may be able to mine the coal and treat the coal at the same location and therefore be able to provide the highest grade of that particular grade of coal. Another example may be a coal mine 102 with varying grades of coal, where the coal mine 102 may be able to treat the various grades of coal to have similar properties by treating the coal in a solid fuel treatment facility 132. This may allow the coal mine 102 to have a simplified storage system by being able to store a single grade of coal instead of storing various grades of the coal in a number of locations. This single coal grade storage may also allow the coal mine 102 to provide its customers with a consistent high quality single grade of coal. This may also simplify the customer's coal burning requirements by only managing the use of a single coal grade quality. Consistency of coal supply may enhance the efficiency of coal usage, as described below in conjunction with Fig. 2.

[0066] In embodiments, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be a standalone facility that may receive raw coal from a plurality of individual coal mines 102 and coal storage facilities 112 and process the coal to a higher quality grade of coal for resale.

The stand-alone solid luel treatment facility 132 may store a plurality ot ditterent raw and treated coals on-site. For example, based on a customer request, the solid fuel treatment facility may be able to select a grade of raw coal and treat the coal to a certain specification for delivery to that customer. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may also treat and store coal types and grades that customers may regularly request.

[0067] A solid fuel treatment facility 132 associated with a coal use enterprise may receive raw coal from a plurality of coal mines 102 and coal storage facilities 112 for treatment of the raw coal for its own purposes, as described below in more detail in connection with Fig. 2. In this manner, the coal use enterprise may be able to treat the coal to the specifications it requires. The coal use enterprise may also have a dedicated solid fuel treatment facility 132, for example if the enterprise requires a high volume of treated coal.

[0068] As depicted in Fig. 1, raw coal may be obtained directly from a coal mine 102. The coal mine 102 may be a surface mine or an underground mine. A coal mine 102 may have varying grades of the same type of coal or may have various types of coal within the single coal mine 102. After mining, the coal the coal mine 102 may store the raw mined coal at an on-site coal storage facility 104 that may store different coal types and/or may store various grades of coal. After mining, the raw coal may be tested to determine the characteristics 110 of the raw coal. The coal mine 102 may use a standard coal testing facility to determine the characteristics 110 of the coal. The coal characteristics may include percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed- carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like. The raw coal may be tested using standard test such as the ASTM Standards D 388 (Classification of Coals by Rank), the ASTM Standards D 2013 (Method of Preparing Coal Samples for Analysis), the ASTM Standards D 3180 (Standard Practice for Calculating Coal and Coke Analyses from As-Determined to Different Bases), the US Geological Survey Bulletin 1823 (Methods for Sampling and Inorganic Analysis of Coal), and the like.

[0069] The coal storage facility 104 may also sort or resize the coal that is received from the coal mine 102. The as-mined raw coal may not be in a required size or

shape lor resale to a coal use enterprise. 11 resizing is desirable, the coal storage lacility 104 may resize the raw coal by using a pulverizer, a coal crusher, a ball mill, a grinder, or the like. After the raw coal has been resized, the coal may be sorted by size for storage or may be stored as received from the resizing process. Different coal use enterprises may find different coal sizes advantageous for their coal burning processes; fixed bed coal combustion 220 may require larger coal that will have a long burn time, pulverized coal combustion 222 may require very small coal sizes for rapid burning.

[0070] Using the raw coal characteristics 110, the coal mine 102 storage facility 104 may be able to store the raw coal by raw coal classifications for shipment to coal treatment facilities or coal use enterprises. A shipping facility 108 may be associated with the coal storage facility 108 for shipping the raw coal to customers. The shipping facility 108 may be by rail, ship, barge, or the like; these may be used separately or in combination to deliver the coal to a customer. The coal storage facility 104 may use a transportation system that may include conveyor belts 300, carts, rail car, truck, tractor, or the like to move the classified coal to the shipping facility 108. In an embodiment, there may at least one coal transportation system to transport the raw coal to the shipping facility 108.

[0071] A coal storage facility 112 may be a stand alone coal storage enterprise that may receive raw coal from a plurality of coal mines 102 for storage and resale. The received raw coal from the coal mine 102 may be as-mined coal, resized coal, sorted coal, or the like. The coal mine 102 may have previously tested the coal for characteristics 110 and may provide the coal characteristics to the coal storage facility 112. The coal storage facility 112 may be an enterprise that purchases coal from coal mines 102 for distribution and resale to a plurality of customers or may be associated with the coal mine 102 that may be a remote location storage facility 112.

[0072] As part of the coal storage facility 112, the raw coal may be tested to determine its characteristics. The coal storage facility 112 may use a standard coal testing facility to determine the characteristics of the coal. The coal characteristics may include percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic

absorption/rellection, dielectric properties, and the like, lhe raw coal may be tested using standard test such as the ASTM Standards D 388 (Classification of Coals by Rank), the ASTM Standards D 2013 (Method of Preparing Coal Samples for Analysis), the ASTM Standards D 3180 (Standard Practice for Calculating Coal and Coke Analyses from As-Determined to Different Bases), the US Geological Survey Bulletin 1823 (Methods for Sampling and Inorganic Analysis of Coal), and the like.

[0073] The coal storage facility 112 may also sort or resize the coal that is received from the coal mine 102 if, for example, the as-mined coal is not suitably sized or shaped for resale to a coal use enterprise. The coal storage facility 112 may resize the raw coal by using a pulverizer, a coal crusher, a ball mill, a grinder, or the like. After the raw coal has been resized, the coal may be sorted by size for storage or may be stored as received from the resizing process. Different coal use enterprises may find different coal sizes advantageous. For example, in coal combustion, certain fixed bed coal combustion 220 systems may require larger coal that will have a long burn time, while others may require very small coal sizes for rapid burning.

[0074] Using the raw coal characteristics, the storage facility 104 may be able to store the raw coal by raw coal classifications for shipment to coal treatment facilities or coal use enterprises. A shipping facility 118 may be associated with a coal storage facility 114 for shipping the raw coal to customers. The shipping facility 118 may be by rail, ship, barge, or the like; these may be used separately or in combination to deliver the coal to a customer. The coal storage facility 114 may use a transportation system that may include conveyor belts 300, carts, rail car, truck, tractor, or the like to move the classified coal to the shipping facility 118. In an embodiment, there may at least one coal transportation system to transport the raw coal to the shipping facility 118.

[0075] Coal characteristics 110 from both the coal mines 102 and coal storage facilities 112 may be stored in a coal sample data facility 120. The coal sample data facility 120 may contain all the data for a particular coal lot, batch, grade, type, shipment, or the like that may have been characterized with parameters that may include the percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion

temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/retlection, dielectric properties, and the like.

[0076] In embodiments, the coal sample data facility 120 may be an individual computer device or a set of computer devices to store and track the coal characteristics 110. The computer devices may be a desktop computer, server, web server, laptop computer, CD device, DVD device, hard drive system, or the like. The computer devices may all be located locally to each other or may be distributed over a number of computer devices in remote locations. The computer devices may be connected by a LAN, WAN, Internet, intranet, P2P, or other network type using wired or wireless technology. The coal sample data facility 120 may include a collection of data that may be a database, relational database, XML, RSS, ASCII file, flat file, text file, or the like. In an embodiment, the coal sample data facility 120 may be searchable for the retrieval of needed data characteristics for a coal.

[0077] The coal sample data facility 120 may be located at the coal mine 102, coal storage facility 112, the solid fuel treatment facility 132, or may be remotely located from any of these facilities. In an embodiment, any of these facilities may have access to the coal characteristic data using a network connection. Updating and modification access may be granted to any of the connected facilities. In an embodiment, the coal sample data facility 120 may be an independent enterprise for the storage and distribution of coal characteristic data.

[0078] The coal sample data facility 120 may provide baseline information to a parameter generation facility 128, coal desired characteristics facility 122, and/or a pricing/transactional facility 178. In embodiments, the baseline information may not be modified by these facilities, but may be used, for example, to determine operational parameters for the solid fuel treatment facility 132, to memorialize the initial coal characteristics, or to calculate the cost of a coal batch.

[0079] Desired characteristics for coal are determined in the coal desired- characteristics facility 122. The coal desired-characteristics facility 122 may be an individual computer device or a set of computer devices to store the final desired coal characteristics for an identified coal. The computer devices may be a desktop computer, server, web server, laptop computer, CD device, DVD device, hard drive system, or the

like. 1 he computer devices may all be located locally to each other or may be distributed over a number of computer devices in remote locations. The computer devices may be connected by a LAN, WAN, Internet, intranet, P2P, or other network type using wired or wireless technology.

[0080] The coal desired-characteristics facility 122 may include a collection of data that may be a database, relational database, XML, RSS, ASCII file, flat file, text file, or the like. In an embodiment, the coal desired-characteristics facility 122 may be searchable for the retrieval of the desired data characteristics for a coal.

[0081] In an embodiment, the coal desired characteristics 122 may be determined and maintained by the solid fuel treatment facility 132, for example, the desired characteristics of the final treated coal for each type and grade of coal that the facility may treat. These characteristics may be stored in the coal desired-characteristics facility 122 and may be use in conjunction with the information from the coal sample data facility 120 by a parameter generation facility 128 to create the operational parameters for the solid fuel treatment facility 132.

[0082] In an embodiment, there may be a plurality of coal desired- characteristics 122 data records; there may be a data record for each coal type and coal grade that the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may treat.

[0083] In an embodiment, there may be a coal desired-characteristics 122 data record for each shipment of coal received by a solid fuel treatment facility. There may be coal desired characteristics 122 developed by the solid fuel treatment facility 132 based on the quality of the received coal and the changes effected by the solid fuel treatment facility 132. For example, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may only be able to reduce the amount of sulfur or ash by certain percentages, therefore a coal desired characteristic 122 may be developed based on the starting sulfur and ash percentages in view of the changes that the solid fuel treatment facility 132 is capable of effectuating.

[0084] In an embodiment, the coal desired characteristics 122 may be developed based on the requirements of a customer. The coal desired characteristics 122 may be developed to provide improved burn characteristics, reduction of certain emissions, or the like.

[UU85J Based on the characteristics ot the coal sample and the data trom the desired-characteristics facility 122, operational parameters may be determined for processing the coal in the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The operational parameters may be provided to the belt facility 130 controller 144 and the monitoring facility 134. The operational parameters may be used to control the belt facility 130 gas environment, intake of coal volume, preheat temperatures, required sensor settings, microwave frequency, microwave power, microwave duty cycle (e.g. pulse or continuous), out-take volume, cooling rates, and the like.

[0086] In embodiments, a parameter generation facility 128 may generate the base operational parameters for the various facilities and systems of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The parameter generation facility 128 may be an individual computer device or a set of computer devices to store the final desired coal characteristics for an identified coal. The computer devices may be a desktop computer, server, web server, laptop computer, or the like. The computer devices may all be located locally to each other or may be distributed over a number of computer devices in remote locations. The computer devices may be connected by a LAN, WAN, Internet, intranet, P2P, or other network type using wired or wireless technology. The parameter generation facility 128 may be capable of storing the base operational parameters as a database, relational database, XML, RSS, ASCII file, flat file, text file, or the like. In an embodiment, the stored base operational parameters may be searchable for the retrieval of the desired data characteristics for a coal.

[0087] To begin the parameter generation process, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may identify a certain coal shipment that may be processed and request the parameter generation facility 128 to generate operational parameters for this coal shipment. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may further indicate the required final treated coal parameters. The parameter generation facility 128 may query both coal sample data facility 120 and the coal desired-characteristics facility 122 to retrieve the required data to generate the operational parameters.

[0088] From the coal sample data facility 120, the data for the raw coal characteristics 110 may be requested to determine the beginning characteristics of the coal. In an embodiment, there may be more than one data record for a particular coal

shipment. 1 he parameter generation facility 128 may select the latest characteristics, average the characteristics, select the earliest characteristics, or the like. There may be an algorithm to determine the proper data to use for the beginning coal characteristics from the coal sample data 120.

[0089] From the coal desired characteristics 122, the data for the final treated coal may be selected. In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may have selected a particular coal desired characteristic 122. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may select a coal desired-characteristic 122 record based on the characteristics that may best match the final treated coal parameters requested by the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The parameter generation facility 128 may provide the solid fuel treatment facility 132 with an indication of the selected coal desired characteristics 122 for approval before proceeding with the operational parameter generation.

[0090] In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may use a computer application that may apply rules for treating the raw coal to create the final treated coal. The rules may be part of the application or may be stored as data. The rules applied by the application may determine the operation parameters that may be required by the solid fuel treatment facility 132 to process the coal. A resulting data set may be created that may contain the baseline operational parameters of the solid fuel treatment facility 132.

[0091] In an embodiment, there may be a set of predetermined baseline operational parameters for the treatment of certain coals. The parameter generation facility 128 may perform a best match between the coal sample data 120, coal desired characteristics 122, and the preset parameters for the determination the baseline operational parameters.

[0092] The parameter generation facility 128 may also determine the operational parameter tolerances that may be maintained to treat coal to the required final treated coal characteristics.

[0093] Once the baseline operational parameters are determined, the parameter generation facility 128 may provide the operational parameters to the

controller 144 and the monitoring facility 134 tor the control ot the solid tuel treatment facility 132.

[0094] As shown in Fig. 1, coal that is to be processed by the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be subjected to a set of processes from raw coal to final treated coal such as intake 124, processing in the belt facility 130, processing in the cooling facility 164, and out-take to and external location. Within the belt facility 130, there may be a number of coal treatment processes such as preheating the coal, microwaving the coal, collecting the non-coal products (e.g. water, sulfur, hygrogen, hydroxyls), and the like. In an embodiment, the coal to be treated may be processed by some or all of the available processes, some processes may be repeated a number of times while others may be skipped for a particular type of coal. All of the process steps and process parameters may be determined by the parameter generation facility 128 and provided to the controller 144 for the control of the processes and the monitor facility 134 for revisions to the operational parameters based on sensor 142 feedback. The monitoring facility 134 may also be transmitted a set of sensor parameters that may be used to determine if the coal treatment processes are treating the coal as required.

[0095] As indicated herein, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may utilize a conveyor belt 300 (e.g., elements 300A, 300B, 300C, and 300D, as described in connection with Figs. 3-6 herein) to transport solid fuel through the belt facility 130. Processing steps within the belt facility 130 may include RF microwave heating, washing, gasification, burning, steaming, recapture, and the like. These solid fuel processing steps may be performed while the solid fuel is on the conveyor belt 300. Processing steps may expose the conveyor belt 300 to conditions such as RF microwave emissions, high temperatures, abrasion, and the like, and may have to withstand these conditions under extended operating time frames. The conveyor belt 300 may be a continuous flexible structure, a hinged plated structure or other conveyor structure, and, in embodiments, require a unique design to survive the environmental conditions of the belt facility 130. Such a conveyor belt may be faced with environmental conditions such as RF microwave emissions, high temperature, abrasion, and the like, In the case of a hinged plated structure there may be issues with environmental conditions such as material becoming jammed in the hinged spaces, microwave absorption, and the like, that

may be related to hmged structures. The ettect ot these conditions on the conveyor belt 300 may be minimized with proper selection of materials and structure for the conveyor belt 300.

[0096] The environmental conditions of the belt facility 130 may require the conveyor belt 300 to be associated with a plurality of characteristics, such as low microwave loss, high structural integrity, high strength, abrasion resistance, constant high temperature resistance, localized elevated high temperature resistance, temperature isolation, burn-through resistance, high melting point, non-porousness to particulates and moisture, resistance to thermal run-away, capable of fluid transport, and the like.

[0097] The conveyor belt 300 may be required to have low microwave loss. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may utilize microwaves to heat the solid fuel. The conveyor belt 300 may absorb microwave energy and heat up. If the materials comprising the conveyor belt 300 do not have low microwave loss, the conveyor belt 300 may heat up and break down with use. The RF microwave frequencies that the microwave system 148 of the belt facility 130 may use may be in the range from 300 MHz to 1 GHz, and may represent the RF frequencies the conveyor may have low microwave loss for. Certain operational conditions within the belt facility 130 may cause the amount of microwave energy absorbed by the conveyor belt 300 to be greater. For example, when the solid fuel is dry, or when there is a reduced amount of solid fuel on the conveyor belt 300, there may be little material for the microwave energy to be absorbed into. As a result, the conveyor belt 300 may absorb more microwave energy.

[0098] The conveyor belt 300 may be required to sustain constant high temperatures as a result of the operational temperatures of the belt facility 130. These constant temperatures may reach 150° F, 200° F, 250° F, or the like. The conveyor belt 300 may have to withstand these high temperatures over extended operational time frames. In addition, the conveyor belt 300 may be required to sustain localized high temperatures in excess of the constant operational temperatures of the belt facility 130. These localized high temperatures may be due to individual pieces of solid fuel developing temperatures of 500° F, 600° F, 700° F, or the like. These localized hot spots could burn through the conveyor belt 300, which may lead to interruptions of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 operations.

[UU99J 1 he conveyor belt 3UU may be required to sustain constant abrasions from the processing of the solid fuel. For instance, the solid fuel may be dropped onto the conveyor belt 3ϋϋ from heights of one foot, two feet, three feet, or the like. Another example may be solid fuel abrading the conveyor belt 3 UU as the solid fuel slides off the conveyor belt 3 UU. The conveyor belt 3 UU may be required to sustain constant abrasion over extended operational time frames.

[00100] The conveyor belt 3 UU may be required to be non-porous to particulates, moisture, and the like. If particulates of the solid fuel where to fall through the conveyor belt 3ϋϋ, the particulates may degrade the performance of the conveyor belt 3 UU. For instance, if solid fuel where to constantly drop through the conveyor belt 3 UU into the mechanical portions of the belt system 130, the mechanical portions of the belt system 130 may clog or jam, which may lead to interruptions of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 operations. In addition, moisture absorbed into the conveyor belt 3ϋϋ may increase the amount of microwave energy that may be absorbed by the conveyor belt 3 UU. The absorption of microwave energy may lead to heating of the conveyor belt 3ϋϋ, and a resulting decrease in the life of the conveyor belt 3ϋϋ.

[00101] The conveyor belt 3 UU configuration may utilize a plurality of materials in order to satisfy the requirements created by the environmental conditions of the belt facility 130. In embodiments, these materials may be used in bulk, in a mixture, in a composite, in layers, in a foam, as a coating, as an additive, or in any other combinations known to the art, in order for the conveyor belt 3 UU to withstand the environmental conditions of the belt facility 130. Materials may include white butyl rubber, woven polyester, alumina, polyester, fiberglass, Kevlar, Nomex, silicone, polyurethane, multi-ply materials, ceramic, high-temperature plastics, combinations thereof, and the like. In embodiments, the conveyor belt 300 may be constructed in layers, such as a top layer, a structural layer, a middle layer, a ply layer, a woven layer, a mat layer, a bottom layer, a heat resistive layer, a low microwave loss layer, a non-porous layer, or the like. In further embodiments, the layer may be removable in order to facilitate replacement, repair, replenishment, or the like.

[00102] In embodiments, the conveyor belt 300A may withstand environmental conditions of the belt facility 130 with a multiple layer configuration such

as shown in Fig. 3. In this embodiment, the lower layer is a structural layer 3 IU, made up of a matrix material 302 reinforced with structural cords 304 in a ply like structure. This structural layer 310 may satisfy requirements such as high structural integrity, high strength, and the like. An example of a combination of materials that may be combined to make up the structural layer 310 may be a white butyl rubber matrix 302 with woven polyester as the structural cords 304. Other materials that may be used as the matrix 302 material may be natural rubber, synthetic rubber, hydrocarbon polymer, or the like. Other materials that may be used as structural cords 304 may be Kevlar, Nomex, metal, plastic, polycarbonate, polyethylene terephthalate, nylon, and the like. In this embodiment, the upper layer is a cover layer 308 that can withstand very high temperatures. The cover layer 308 may also have thermal insulating properties in order to insolate hot solid fuel from the lower layer. The cover layer 308 may not require strength properties, but may require abrasion resistant properties, have a low microwave loss factor, have thermal properties that prevent thermal runway, or the like. Examples of this upper cover layer 308 may be fiberglass, low loss ceramic such as alumina, optical fiber, corundum, organic fibers, carbon fiber, composite materials, or the like. In embodiments, the cover layer 308 may be implemented as a tightly woven product, or in the form of foam. Another example of a cover layer 308 material may be silicone. Silicone may be able to handle high temperatures, but may not be as abrasion resistant. In this instance, a coating on top of the silicone, such as polyurethane, or an additive into the silicone, may be added to increase abrasion resistance.

[00103] In embodiments, the cover layer 308 may be designed so that it is easily removable, which may enable replacement, repair, replenishment, or the like, of the cover layer 308. In this case the requirements for being abrasion resistant and non- porous may be relaxed. In one embodiment, the cover layer 308 may be applied in roll form with a feeding roller on one side of the conveyer belt 300 system, and a take up roller on the exit side.

[00104] In embodiments, the conveyor belt 300B, as shown in Fig. 4, may withstand environmental conditions of the belt facility 130 without a cover layer 308. This may be done by introducing high temperature material components into the matrix 302 material that will make the matrix 302 material, such as the white butyl rubber, more

resistant to the belt facility's 130 high temperature environmental conditions. In embodiments, the structural layer 310 may prevent high temperature solid fuel from burning through the conveyor belt 300C by inserting a middle layer 502 of temperature resistant material, as shown in Fig. 5. An example of such a middle layer 502 may be Kevlar, Nomex, metal, ceramic, fiberglass, or the like. In this configuration, the upper portion of the structural layer 310 may melt, but the conveyor belt 300C may still be usable until repairs to the upper portion of the structural layer 310 can be made.

[00105] In embodiments, the conveyor belt 300D may withstand environmental conditions of the belt facility 130 with the multiple layer configuration as shown in Fig. 6, where a combination of layers, as previously discussed herein, are repeated. The additional layers may add further strength to the conveyor belt 300D, as well as further reducing the possibility of high temperature solid fuel from burning through. There may be a top cover layer 308 that may be heat resistant, abrasive resistant, removable, and the like. There may be a structural layer 31OA with a middle layer 502. This composite layer is shown as an intermediate layer in the belt, but may in embodiments be a top layer, an intermediate layer, a bottom layer, and the like. There may be a structural layer 31OB. The structural layer 31OB is shown as a bottom layer, but may in embodiments be an intermediate layer or a top layer. Other embodiments, consisting of multiple layers, are not limited to the combinations illustrated in Fig. 6. For instance, an embodiment may consist of a combination of layers where the middle layer 502, within structural layer 310A, is absent, or there are a different number of layers in composite layers, or a composite layer is made up of a plurality of sub-layers, and the like. While Fig. 6 illustrates a structure with multiple layers and composite layers, other multiple layer structures will become obvious to anyone skilled in the art, and is incorporated into the invention.

[00106] In embodiments, other methods of preventing high temperature solid fuel from burning through may be employed. An example of an alternate method may be utilizing a thermographic camera to image the location of high temperature pieces of solid fuel. After determining the location of the high temperature piece of solid fuel, a cooling spray may be used to lower its temperature, or a sweeper may be employed for removing the piece before it has time to damage the conveyor belt 300. Another example

ol an alternate method may be to measure the dielectric properties ol all the pieces ol solid fuel as they enter the belt system 130, and remove them if they are determined to be high temperature. Another example of an alternate method may be to transport the solid fuel on a conveyor belt 300 that incorporates a fluidized bed in its configuration, thereby equalizing the temperature of all pieces, and eliminating isolated high temperature pieces of solid fuel from the conveyor belt 300.

[00107] In embodiments, the controller 144 and monitor facility 134 may have a feedback loop system with the controller providing operational parameters to the solid fuel treatment facility 132 and belt facility 130 and the monitoring facility 134 receiving data from the belt facility 130 sensors 142 to determine if the operational parameters require adjustment to produce the required treated coal. During the treatment of the coal, there may be a continual application and adjustment to the operational parameters of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 and the belt facility 130.

[00108] The controller 144 may be a computer device that may be a desktop computer, server, web server, laptop computer, or the like. The computer devices may all be located locally to each other or may be distributed over a number of computer devices in remote locations. The computer devices may be connected by a LAN, WAN, Internet, intranet, P2P, or other network type using wired or wireless technology. The controller 144 may be a commercially available machine control that is designed for the controlling of various devices or may be a custom designed controller 144. The controller 144 may be fully automatic, may have operational parameter override, may be manually controllable, may be locally controlled, may be remotely controlled, or the like. The controller 144 is shown as part of the belt facility 130 but may not have a required location relative to the belt facility 130; the controller 144 may be located at the beginning or end of the belt facility 130 or anywhere in between. The controller 144 may be located remotely from the belt facility 130. The controller 144 may have a user interface; the user interface may be viewable at the controller 144 and may be viewable remotely to a computer device connected to the controller 144 network.

[00109] The controller 144 may provide the operational parameters to the belt facility 130 and solid fuel treatment facility 132 systems that may include the intake 124, preheat 138, parameter control 140, sensor control 142, removal system 150, microwave

system 148, cooling facility 164, out-take facility 168, and the like. There may be a duplex communication system with the controller 144 transmitting operational parameters and the various systems and facilities transmitting actual operation values. The controller 144 may provide a user interface to display both the operational parameters and the actual operational values. The controller 144 may not be able to provided automated adjustments to the operational parameters, operational parameter adjustment may be provided by the monitoring facility 134.

[00110] The monitoring facility 134 may be a computer device that may be a desktop computer, server, web server, laptop computer, or the like. The computer devices may all be located locally to each other or may be distributed over a number of computer devices in remote locations. The computer devices may be connected by a LAN, WAN, Internet, intranet, P2P, or other network type using wired or wireless technology. The monitoring facility 134 may have the same operational parameters as the controller 144 and may receive the same actual operational parameters from the various facilities and systems. The monitoring facility 134 may have algorithms to compare the required sensor parameters provided by the parameter generation facility 128 and the actual operational values provided by the sensors 142 and determine if a change in the operational parameters are required. For example, the monitoring facility 134 may compare the actual vapor sensor values at a particular location of the belt facility 130 with the required sensor values and determine if the microwave power needs to be increased or decreased. If a change in an operational parameter requires adjustment, the adjusted parameter may be transmitted to the controller 144 to be applied to the appropriate device or devices. The monitoring facility 134 may continually monitor the solid fuel treatment facility 132 and belt facility 130 systems for parameter adjustments.

[00111] As a more complete example, the controller 144 may provide operational parameters to the belt facility parameter control 140 for the operation of the various belt facility 130 systems. As the coal treatment progresses, the monitor facility 134 may monitor the sensors 142 to determine if the treated coal is meeting the sensor requirements for the desired treated coal. If there is a delta between the required sensor readings and the actual sensor readings beyond the acceptable limits, the monitoring

facility 134 may adjust one or more ot the operational parameters and transmit the new operational parameters to the controller 144. The controller 144 may receive the new operational parameters and transmit new parameters to parameter control 140 to control the various belt facility 130 systems.

[00112] The monitoring facility 134 may also receive feedback information from the end of the coal treatment process from the feedback facility 174 and the coal output parameters facility 172. These two facilities may receive the final characteristics of the process coal and transmit the information to the monitoring facility 134. The monitoring facility 134 may compare the final treated coal characteristics to the coal desired characteristics 122 to determine if an operational parameter requires adjustment. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may use an algorithm to combine the actual operational values and the final treated coal characteristics for the determination of adjustments to the operational parameters. The adjustments may then be transmitted to the controller 144 for the revised operation of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 systems.

[00113] The functions and interactions of the various coal treatment facilities 132 systems and facilities shown in Fig. 1 may be illustrated through an example of coal being treated by the solid fuel treatment facility 132.

[00114] In this example, the operators of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may select a raw coal to process within the solid fuel treatment facility 132 for the delivery of a particular treated coal to a customer. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may select the starting coal and the coal desired characteristics 122 for the final treated coal. As described previously, the parameter generation facility 128 may generate the operations parameters for the treatment of the selected coal. The parameters may include the volume rate of coal to treat, air environment, belt speed, coal temperatures, microwave power, microwave frequency, inert gases required, required sensor readings, preheat temperatures, cool down temperatures, and the like. The parameter generation facility 128 may transmit the operational and sensor parameters to the monitoring facility 134 and the controller 144; the controller 144 may transmit the operational and sensor parameters to the parameter control 140 and sensor system 142.

[UU115J Continuing with this example, the intake facility 124 may receive raw coal from one of the coal mines 102 or coal storage facilities 112 that may supply coal to the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The raw coal may be supplied from a stored area located at the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The intake facility 124 may have an input section, a transition section, and adapter section that may receive and control the flow and volume of coal that may enter the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The intake facility 124 may have an intake system such as a conveyor belt 300, auger, or the like that may feed the raw coal to the belt facility 130.

[00116] In the exemplary embodiment, the intake facility may control the volume rate of raw coal input into the belt facility based on the operational parameters provided by the controller 144. The intake facility may be capable of varying the speed of the intake system based on the controller 144 supplied parameters. In an embodiment, the intake facility 124 may be able to supply raw coal to the belt facility 130 at a continuous rate or may be able to supply the raw coal at a variable or pulsed rate that may apply the raw coal to the belt facility 130 in coal batches; the coal batches may have a predefined gap between the coal batches.

[00117] In this example, the belt facility 130 may receive the raw coal from the intake facility 124 for transporting the raw coal through the coal treatment processes. The coal treatment processes may include a preheat 138 process, microwave system 148 process, cooling process 164, and the like. The belt facility 130 may have a transportation system that may be enclosed to create a chamber where the coal may be treated and the process may be preformed.

[00118] In embodiments, the transportation system may be a conveyor belt 300, a series of individual containers, or other transportation method that may be used to move the coal through the treatment process. The transportation system may be made of materials that may be capable of holding high temperature treated coal (e.g. metal or high temperature plastics). The transportation system may allow the non-coal products to release from the coal either as a gas or as a liquid; the released non-coal products may need to be collected by the belt facility 130. The transportation system speed may be variably controlled by the controller 144 operational parameters. The belt facility 130

transportation system may run at the same speeds as the intake facility 124 to keep the coal input volumes balanced.

[00119] Within the belt facility 130 chamber, an air environment may be maintained that may be used to aid in the release of the non-coal products, prevent premature coal ignition, provide a flow of gases to move the non-coal product gases to the proper removal system 150. The air environment may be dry air (low or no humidity) to aid in the removal of moisture from the coal or may be used to direct any condensed moisture that forms on the chamber walls to a liquid collection area.

[00120] The belt facility 130 chamber may have an inert or partially inert atmosphere; the inert atmospheres may prevent the ignition of the coal during high temperatures that may be needed to remove some of the non-coal product (e.g. sulfur).

[00121] The inert gases may be supplied by an anti ignition facility 154 that may store inert gases for supply to the belt facility 130 chamber. Inert gases include nitrogen, argon, helium, neon, krypton, xenon, and radon. Nitrogen and argon may be the most common inert gases used for providing non-combustion gas atmospheres. The anti-ignition facility 154 may have gas supply tanks that may hold the inert gases for the chamber. The input of the inert gas to create the proper gas environment may be controlled by the controller 144 operational parameters. The controller 144 may adjust the inert gas flow using feedback from sensors within the chamber that may measure the actual inert gas mixtures. Based on the sensors 142, the controller 144 may increase or decrease the inert gas flow to maintain the atmosphere operational parameters provided by the controller 144 and the parameter generation facility 128.

[00122] If the belt facility 130 chamber uses nitrogen as the inert gas, the nitrogen may be generated on-site at a gas generation facility 152. For example, the gas generation facility 152 may use a pressure swing absorption (PSA) process to supply the nitrogen required by the belt facility 130 chamber. The gas generation facility 152 may supply the nitrogen to the anti-ignition facility for insertion into the chamber. The flow of the nitrogen into the chamber may be controlled by the controller 144 as previously discussed.

[00123] Any of the supplied gas environments may be applied using positive or negative pressures to provide flow of the atmosphere within the chamber. The gases

may be input to the chamber with a positive pressure to tlow over the belt facility 130 coal and flow out exit areas with in the chamber. In a similar fashion, a negative pressure may be supplied to draw the gases into the chamber and over the coal. Either process may be used for the collection of non-coal product released gases into the removal system 150.

[00124] In the exemplary embodiment, the controller 144 may control the flow of the gases in the chamber by measuring gas velocity, gas direction, input pressures, output pressures, and the like. The controller 144 may provide the control and adjustment to the flow of the gases by varying fans and blowers within the belt facility.

[00125] Within the belt facility 130 chamber a vacuum or partial vacuum may be maintained for the processing of coal. A vacuum environment may provide an additional aid in removing non-coal products out of the coal and may also prevent the ignition of the coal by removing an environment that is favorable to coal ignition.

[00126] Continuing with the processing of coal within the belt facility 130, the coal may first enter a preheat facility 138. The preheat facility 138 may be heat the coal to a temperature specified by the operational parameters; the operational parameters may be provided by the controller 144. The coal may be preheated to remove surface moisture and moisture that may be just below the surface from the coal. The removal of this excess moisture may allow the microwave systems 148 that will be used later, to be more effective because there may be a minimum of surface moisture to absorb the microwave energy.

[00127] The preheat facility 138 may contain the same atmosphere as the rest of the belt facility 130 or may maintain a different atmosphere.

[00128] The preheat facility 138 may use the same transportation facility as the rest of the belt facility 130 or may have its own transportation facility. If the preheat facility has its own transportation facility, it may be controlled by the controller 144 and vary its speed to assure that the proper moisture is removed during the preheat. The moisture removal may be sensed by a water vapor sensor or may use a before and after weight of the coal to determine the volume of moisture that has been removed by the preheat facility 138. In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may measure the coal weight with in-process scales before the preheat and after the preheat process. There may be a

feedback to the controller 144 as to the ettective amount ot moisture removed trom the coal and the controller 144 may adjust the preheat facility 138 transportation system speed to compensate as needed.

[00129] After the preheat facility 138 the coal may continue on into the belt facility 130 coal treatment process with at least one microwave/radio wave system (microwave system) 148 used to treat the coal. The microwave system 148 electromagnetic energy may be created by devices such as a magnetron, klystron, gyrotron, or the like. The microwave system 148 may input microwave energy into the coal to heat the non-coal products and release the non-coal products from the coal. Because of the heating of the non-coal products in the coal, the coal may be heated. The release of the non-coal products may occur when there is a material phase change from a solid to a liquid, liquid to a gas, solid to gas, or other phase change that may allow the non-coal product to be released from the coal.

[00130] In belt facilities 130, where there may be more than one microwave system 148, the microwave systems 148 may be in a parallel orientation, a serial orientation, or a parallel and serial combination orientation to the transportation system.

[00131] As discussed in more detail below, the microwave systems 148 may be in parallel where there may be more than one microwave system 148 grouped together to form a single microwave systems 148 process station. This single station may allow the use of several smaller microwave systems 148, allow different frequencies to be used at a single station, allow different power to be used at different stations, allow different duty cycles to be used at a single station, or the like.

[00132] The microwave systems 148 may also be setup in serial where there may be more than one microwave system 148 station set up along the belt facility 130. The serial microwave system 148 stations either may be individual microwave systems 148 or may be a group of parallel microwave systems 148. The serial microwave system 148 stations may allow the coal to be treated differently at the different serial microwave system 148 stations along the belt facility 130. For example, at a first station the microwave system 148 may attempt to remove water moisture from the coal that may require certain power, frequency, and duty cycles. At a second station, the microwave

system 148 may attempt to remove sulfur trom the coal that may require ditterent power, frequency, and duty cycles.

[00133] Using a series of microwave systems may also allow other process stations between the microwave systems 148 such as wait stations to allow the complete release of a non-coal product, non-coal product removal system 150 station, a sensor system 142 to record non-coal product release, or the like.

[00134] The series of microwave system 148 stations may allow different non- coal products to be released and removed at different stages of the belt facility 130. This may make it easier to keep the removed non-coal products separated and collected by the appropriate removal system 150. This may also allow mapping one microwave system 148 to a process step or set of process steps, so that a particular microwave system 148 may be used to carry out a particular process step or set of process steps. Thus, for example, microwave systems 148 are activated only for those process steps that need to be carried out. In this example, if a process step need not be performed, the correlative microwave system 148 need not be activated; if a process step needs to be repeated, the correlative microwave system 148 can be activated again, for example to remove a non- coal product that was not completely removed after the first activation.

[00135] In the exemplary embodiment, the control of the microwave system 148 may include a series of control steps, such as sensing, monitoring the state of the coal treatment process, adjusting the operational parameters, and applying the new operational parameters to at least one microwave system 148. As will be discussed further, the control, adjustment, and feedback process for providing operational parameters to the microwave system 148 may be applicable to one or more microwave systems at substantially the same time.

[00136] At least one of the microwave systems 148 may be controlled by the controller 144. In embodiments the controller 144 may provide operational parameters that control the microwave frequency, microwave power, microwave duty cycle (e.g. pulsed or continuous). The controller 144 may have received the initial operational parameters from the parameter generation facility 128. The control of the microwave system 148 may take place in real time, with, for example, operational parameters being applied to the microwave system 148, with the sensors 142 providing process values,

with the monitoring facility 134 receiving and adjusting the operational parameters, with feedback of the operational parameters being provided to the controller 144, and then with the control cycle being repeated as necessary.

[00137] The controller 144 may apply operational parameters to one or more microwave systems 148. The microwave systems 148 may respond by applying the power, frequency, and duty cycle that the controller 144 commands, thereby treating the coal in accordance with the controller 144 commands at a particular station.

[00138] The microwave systems may require a significant amount of power to treat the coal. For certain embodiments of microwave systems 148 of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 the microwave power required may be at least 15 kW at a frequency of 928 MHz or lower; in other embodiments, the microwave power required may be at least 75 kW at a frequency of 902 MHz. The power for the microwave systems 148 may be supplied by a high voltage input transmission facility 182. This facility 182 may be able to step up or down the voltage from a source to meet the requirements of the microwave system 148. In embodiments, the microwave system 148 may have more than one microwave generator. A power-in system 180 may provide the connection for the high voltage input transmission facility 182 for the voltage requirements. If the solid fuel treatment facility 132 is located at a power generation facility 204 the power-in 180 may be taken directly from the power supplied from the power generation facility 204. In other embodiments, the power-in 180 may be taken from a local power grid.

[00139] As indicated herein, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may utilize magnetrons 700 to generate microwaves to treat the solid fuel (e.g. coal). Fig. 7 illustrates a magnetron that may be used as a part of the microwave system 148 of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In embodiments, the magnetron 700 may be a high- powered vacuum tube that generates coherent microwaves. A cavity magnetron 700 may consist of a hot filament that acts as the cathode 714, kept at a high negative potential by a high-voltage direct-current (DC) 802 power source. The cathode 714 may be built into the center of an evacuated, lobed, circular chamber. The outer, lobed portion of the chamber may act as the anode 710, attracting the electrons that are emitted form the cathode. A magnetic field may be imposed by a magnet or electromagnet in such a way

as to cause the electrons emitted trom the cathode 714 to spiral outward in a circular path. The lobed cavities 708 are open along their length and so connect to the common cavity 712 space. As electrons sweep past these openings they may induce a resonant high frequency radio field in the common cavity 712, which in turn may cause the electrons to bunch into groups. A portion of this field may be extracted with a short antenna 702 that is connected to a wave-guide. The wave-guide may direct the extracted RF energy out of the magnetron to the solid fuel, thereby heating and treatment the solid fuel as indicated elsewhere herein. Alternatively, the energy from the magnetron may be delivered directly to the solid fuel from the antenna, without the use of a wave-guide.

[00140] Fig. 8 illustrates a high voltage supply facility for the magnetron 700. High-voltage DC 802 supplied through leads 718 to the cavity magnetron 700 for treatment of the solid fuel may be a high voltage such as 5,000 VDC, 10,000 VDC, 20,000 VDC, 50,000 VDC, or the like. In embodiments, a typical range for the high voltage may be 20,000 - 30,000 VDC. This high-voltage DC 802 may be derived from an electric power utility in the form of a voltage that is single or multi-phase alternating current (AC) power in 180, and converted to high voltage DC 802 through the high voltage input transmission 182 facility. The electric power utility supplying the AC voltage power in 180 may be a publicly operated facility or a privately operated facility for example. The AC voltage power in 180 supplied by the electric power utility may be 120 VAC, 240 VAC, 480 VAC, 1000 VAC, 14,600 VAC, 25,000 VAC, or the like. In embodiments, a typical voltage used on site may be 160 kV AC, and may be typically three-phase. Since it may be necessary to convert the utility AC voltage power in 180 to the high voltage DC 802 used by the magnetron, some electrical power losses may result from the electrical inefficiencies of the high voltage input transmission 182 facility. It may be desirable to reduce these electrical power losses associated with the high voltage input transmission 182 facility in order to minimize the operational costs of the facility associated with the solid fuel treatment facility 132. A number of embodiments may be utilized in the configuration of the high voltage input transmission 182 facility.

[00141] Fig. 9 illustrates a transformerless high voltage input transmission facility 900, which is one embodiment of the high voltage input transmission 182 facility. The transfomerless high voltage input transmission facility 900 may convert high voltage

AC power in 180, in embodiments this may be 14,6UU VAC, directly into the high voltage DC 8U2 required by the magnetron 7ϋϋ, in embodiments this may be 2ϋ,ϋϋϋ VDC. By converting directly from high-voltage AC power in 180 to high-voltage DC 802, some intermediate steps may be eliminated which may allow for improved power efficiency and thus reduced operating costs of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In embodiments, the eliminated steps may include the process of stepping down the utility high voltage AC power in 180 to a low-voltage AC, with say a transformer, rectifying to create low-voltage DC, and then stepping the DC back up again with a boost converter to the high voltage DC 8U2A required by the magnetron. By eliminating these intermediate stages within the high voltage input transmission 182 facility both efficiency and reliability may be improved, as well as reducing capital and maintenance costs.

[00142] The first stage of the transformerless high voltage input transmission facility 9ϋϋ takes the high voltage AC power in 180 and passes it through a high-speed, high-current circuit breaker 902, sometimes referred to as an interrupter. A circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical switch that is designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short-circuit. There is one highspeed, high-current circuit breaker 902 for each phase of the input high-voltage AC power in 180 from the utility. The high-speed, high-current circuit breaker 902 should be fast enough to open circuit in the event of a short-circuit condition within the transformerless high voltage input transmission facility 900, to protect the utility's electrical distribution system. The high-speed, high current circuit breaker may provide electrical isolation and protection to the utility's electrical distribution system that would otherwise be provided by other components, such as a transformer 1002. The use of the high-speed, high-current circuit breaker 902 in place of a transformer 1002 may allow greater electrical power efficiency, as the transformer 1002 has electrical power losses due to inefficiency, and the high-speed, high current circuit breaker may not. The highspeed, high-current circuit breaker 902 may also serve to protect the magnetrons 700 in the system. A surge, or spike of voltage, may collapse the field of the magnetrons 700. This may cause the system to lose microwave power delivered to the solid fuel, and possibly cause damage to the magnetrons.

IUU143] The second stage ol the transtormerless high voltage input transmission facility 900 takes the high voltage AC 910 output from the high speed, high current circuit breaker and sends it through a rectifier stage 904, where it is converted to high-voltage DC 802. A rectifier 904 is an electrical device comprising one or more semiconductor devices, such as diodes, thyristors, SCRs, IGBTs, and the like, arranged for converting AC voltage to DC voltage. The output of a very simple rectifier 904 may be described as a half- AC current, which is then filtered into DC. Practical rectifiers 904 may be half-wave, full-wave, single-phase bridge, three-phase 3-pulse, three-phase 6- pulse, and the like, which when combined with filtering produce various reduced amounts of residual AC ripple. The resulting output high voltage DC 802 of a rectifier 904 may also be adjustable, for instance by changing the firing angle of the SCRs. This output high voltage DC 802 may be adjusted up to a theoretical maximum of the peak value of the input AC voltage power in 180. As an example, an input AC voltage power in 180 of 14,600 VAC may theoretically produce a DC voltage that meets the required 20,000 VDC. If the high voltage DC 802 meets the requirements of the input high voltage DC 802A to the magnetron 700, than the final DC-to-DC converter 908 stage, shown as dashed in Fig. 9, may not be needed. Since DC-to-DC converters 908 may have efficiencies of 80%, 85%, 95% and the like, by eliminating the need for them, further electrical power efficiencies for the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be gained.

[00144] The third stage, if needed, of the transformerless high voltage input transmission facility 900 is the DC-to-DC converter 908. In this embodiment, there may still be a need for a DC-to-DC converter 908 between the rectifier 904 stage and the magnetron 700 if the output high voltage DC 802 from the rectifier is not high enough to meet the requirements of the high voltage DC 802A inputs of the magnetron 700. A DC- to-DC converter 908 is a circuit, which converts a source of DC from one voltage to another. Generally, DC-to-DC converters perform the conversion by applying a DC voltage across an inductor or transformer for a period of time, for instance, in the 100 kHz to 5 MHz range, which causes current to flow through it and store energy magnetically. Then this voltage may be switched off, causing the stored energy to be transferred to the voltage output in a controlled manner. By adjusting the ratio of on-to-

oil time, the output voltage may be regulated even as the current demand changes. In this embodiment, the need for the DC-to-DC converter may be dependent upon the voltage level of the supplied high voltage AC power in 180. For example, in the case of a 12,740 VAC utility distribution voltage power in 180, the rectifier 904 may provide a maximum high voltage DC 802 that is less than 18,000 VDC. If the high voltage DC 802A required by the magnetron 700 is 20,000 VDC, then, in this case, the DC-to-DC converter 908 stage may be required to boost the voltage to a higher voltage DC 802A in order to meet the requirements of the magnetron 700.

[00145] The Inclusion of a high-speed, high-current circuit breaker in the transformerless power conversion facility 900 may also protect the power utility's electrical system from a non-electrical fault within the solid fuel treatment facility 132. Aside from electrical shorts due to equipment failure, the magnetron 700 could arc-off due to a collapse of the field within the magnetron 700. This arc-off condition may cause a large in-rush of current from the utility's electrical system. In embodiments, the highspeed, high current circuit breaker may protect the utility's electrical system from these high fault currents. An example of a condition that could lead to the magnetron 700 arcing-off is excessive reflected power back into the magnetron 700. There may typically be reflections back into the magnetron 700 during operations, and the magnetron's 700 circulator (isolator) is designed to protect the magnetron 700 from damage due to this reflected power. However, failure of the circulator may result in the magnetron 700 arcing-off. So although the system is designed to tolerate reflected power, failures within the system may still produce the large rush of current associated with the magnetron 700 arcing-off. This is only one example of a condition that could lead to high in-rush currents from the utility's electrical system. Under any high current condition that lasts more than a couple of cycles of 60 Hz, the power distribution system feeding the facility may experience a failure that could potentially cause the tripping of breakers back through the utility's distribution and transmission system, possibly all the way back to the utility's generation faculty. Even variations in the product stream within the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may cause large reflections and lead to arc-off. Other fault conditions that could result in high in-rush currents will be obvious to one skilled in the art. This, and all other high current fault conditions, may be eliminated by the presence

ol the high-speed, high-current circuit breaker. The transformerless high voltage input transmission facility 900 may provide the greatest electrical power efficiency and fault protection due to the elimination or reduction of inefficiencies within the high voltage input transmission 182 facility.

[00146] Fig. 10 illustrates a high voltage input transmission facility with a transformer 1000, which is one embodiment of the high voltage input transmission 182 facility. This power conversion configuration for delivering high voltage DC to the magnetron is performed in three steps. In the first step, high voltage AC power in 180 is transformed into low voltage AC 910 with a transformer 1002. A transformer 1002 may be an electrical device that transfers energy from one electrical circuit to another by magnetic coupling. A transformer 1002 comprises two or more coupled windings, and may also have a magnetic core to concentrate the magnetic flux. In Fig. 10, the input AC voltage power in 180 applied to one winding, referred to as the primary, creates a time- varying magnetic flux in the core, which induces an AC voltage 910 in the other winding, referred to as the secondary. Transformers 1002 are used to convert between voltages, to change impedance, and to provide electrical isolation between circuits. For example, the high voltage AC power in 180 input in Fig. 10 may be 14,600 VAC, and the low voltage AC 910 output may be 480 VAC. In addition to these AC voltages being different, they may also be electrically isolated from one another. The transformer 1002 may be a single-phase transformer, multiple single-phase transformers, a banked set of transformers, a multi-phase transformer, or the like. Further, the transformer may be provided by the electric power utility. The transformer may have electrical power inefficiency associated with the conversion from one voltage to another, and this inefficiency may be associated with voltage and current of the input and output of the transformer 1002.

[00147] In the second step of the high voltage input transmission facility with a transformer 1000 configuration, the low voltage AC 204A is passed through a rectifier 904 stage to produce an equivalent low voltage DC 802. As an example, an input AC voltage 910 of 480 VAC may theoretically produce an output DC voltage 802 as high as 677 VDC. The voltage of 677 VDC may not be sufficient to supply the high voltage DC 104 needs of the magnetron. In this event a third DC-to-DC converter 708 stage may be

required, where the low voltage DC 802 trom the rectitier 904 is stepped up to the required high voltage DC 802A, say 20,000 VDC, using a DC-to-DC converter 908.

[00148] The high voltage input transmission facility with a transformer 1000 embodiment may take advantage of standard three-phase, low voltage, transformer arrangements available from the utility. One example of such an arrangement is the three-phase, 4-wire, 480/277 V transformer that typically delivers power to large buildings and commercial centers. The 480 V is utilized to run motors, while the 277 V is used to operate the florescent lights of the facility. For 120 V convenience outlets, separate transformers may be required, which may fed from the 480V line. Other examples of standard three-phase voltages may utilize 575-600 V, rather than 480 V, which may reduce the need for the third DC-to-DC converter 708 stage. These examples are not meant to be limiting, and other configurations will be obvious to one skilled in the art. Utilization of a standard utility transformer may eliminate the need for special equipment from the utility, and may therefore reduce the initial cost of this embodiment. However, the operating power losses associated with transforming the AC voltages down, and then the converting the DC voltages back up again, may be undesirable, as it may increase the operational costs of the solid fuel processing facility.

[00149] Fig. 11 illustrates a transformerless high voltage input transmission facility with inductor 1100, which is a variation of the previously discussed transformerless power conversion facility 900, and is one embodiment of the high voltage input transmission 182 facility. This embodiment is similar to the transfomerless high voltage input transmission facility 900 in that it has no transformer 1002, but rather than feeding the high voltage AC power in 180 through a high speed, high current circuit breaker for protection, the high voltage AC power in 180 is fed directly into the rectifier 904. As was the case in the transformerless power conversion facility 900, the rectifier 904 output high voltage DC 802 may be sufficient so that a DC-to-DC converter 908 may not be required. A purpose of the high speed, high current circuit breaker 902 in the transformerless high voltage input transmission facility 900 was to provide protection to the utility's electrical distribution system in the event of a short-circuit within the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The high speed, high current circuit breaker 902 may have provided a faster response circuit breaker than the electric power utility normally

provides. This taster speed may be needed because ot the absence ot an isolating transformer. The transformerless high voltage input transmission facility with inductor 1100 provides an alternative short-circuit protection component, a high current inductor 1102 in series with the magnetron 700. The inductor 1102 slows the short-circuit response time, providing standard utility low speed utility circuit breakers enough time to respond, open, and protect the utility's electrical power distribution system. The inductor, under DC conditions, doesn't affect the circuit, and acts as a virtual short in the line. But if a short-circuit condition occurred within the solid fuel treatment facility 132, the inductor would react to slow the current response, delaying the effect of the short- circuit. This delay may allow enough time so that standard utility circuit breakers may be utilized, which may eliminate the need for the high-speed, circuit breaker 902.

[00150] Fig. 12 illustrates a direct DC high voltage input transmission facility with a transformer 1200, which is one embodiment of the high voltage input transmission 182 facility. This power conversion configuration for delivering high voltage DC 802 to the magnetron is performed in two steps. In the first step, high voltage AC power in 180 may be stepped up or down, as required, using a transformer 1002. The transformer's input-to-output voltage ratio may be determined by the available input high voltage AC power in 180 and the required output high voltage DC 802 used by the magnetron 700. In the second step, the high voltage AC 910 from the output of the transformer 1002 is sent through a rectifier 904 stage. The rectifier 904 converts the input high voltage AC 910 into the high voltage DC 802 required by the magnetron 700. The voltage ratio of the transformer 1002, and the output adjustment of the rectifier 904, may both be selected based on the input high voltage AC power in 180 and the requirements for the output high voltage DC 802 to the magnetron 700. For example, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be located in a geographic region where a utility-supplied high voltage AC power in 180 distribution voltage of 80,000 VAC is available. If the magnetron 700 required a high voltage DC 802 of 20,000 VDC, then the high voltage DC 910 input to the rectifier 904 may be selected to be a voltage level that would, say, produce the smallest output voltage ripple, or greatest conversion efficiency for the rectifier 904. This selected input high voltage DC 910 may be for example 16,000 VDC. In this case, the voltage ratio for the transformer may be 5:1, which represents the ratio of the primary

windings to secondary windings ol the transformer 1UU2. The 80,000 VAC high voltage AC power in 180 input would then be stepped down to a high voltage AC 910 of 16,000 VAC. The 16,000 VAC high voltage AC 910 would then be converted to the high voltage DC 802 by the rectifier 904, and supplied to the magnetron 700 of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. This embodiment may allow for a higher efficiency associated with a high voltage input transmission 182 facility that keeps high voltage throughout, while maintaining the fault isolation afforded to by the transformer 1002. These are several illustrative embodiments, but that one skilled in the art would appreciate variations, and such variations are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

[00151] Fig. 13 illustrates a high voltage input transmission facility with transformer isolation, which is one embodiment of the high voltage input transmission 182 facility. This power conversion configuration for delivering high voltage DC 802A to the magnetron 700 utilizes the transformer 1002 to electrically isolate the high voltage input transmission 182 facility from the utility's high voltage AC power in 180 distribution system. In this configuration the transformer 1002 may only be acting as an electrical isolator, and not performing a change in voltage function. The input high voltage AC power in 180 to the transformer 1002 may be the same voltage as the output high voltage AC 1002A output from the transformer. With the high voltage AC 910 unchanged as a result of the transformer 1002, the function of changing the voltage level to the high voltage DC 802A required by the magnetron 700 may be accomplished primarily by the DC-to-DC Converter 908. The high voltage AC 910 at the output of the transformer is sent through the rectifier 904, where the high voltage AC 910 is converted to high voltage DC 802. As a result of rectification, the voltage level of the high voltage DC 802 may be somewhat higher than the high voltage AC 910 at the input of the rectifier, but may be limited to a small percentage increase. If the high voltage DC 802 does not meet the high voltage DC 802A required by the magnetron 700, than the DC-to- DC converter 908 may act as the component in the high voltage input transmission 182 facility that provides most of the voltage changing function. In embodiments, this configuration may provide a way for the high voltage input transmission 182 facility to provide high voltage DC 802A to the magnetron 700 with electrical isolation to the

utility's high voltage AC power in 180. A decrease in the electrical power metticiencies due to the transformer may be realized with this configuration.

[00152] In embodiments, the power requirements for the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be high, and may require high voltage lines, for example, 160 kV power transmission lines. The power requirements may be high enough to justify the design and construction of power substations on site with the solid fuel treatment facility 132. These power substations may be uniquely designed for the solid fuel treatment facility 132, and as such, may allow for the selection of high voltage levels that are best suited to the voltage requirements of the magnetrons. In this case, the requirement for a DC-to-DC converter 908 may be eliminated.

[00153] As the microwave systems 148 apply power, frequency, and duty cycles to a particular coal process station, non-coal products may be released from the coal. A sensor system may be used to determine the rate of non-coal product removal, complete non-coal product removal, environmental settings, actual microwave system 148 output, and the like. The sensor system 142 may include sensors for water vapor, ash, sulfur, volatile matter or other substances released from the coal. In addition, the sensor system 142 may include sensors for microwave power, microwave frequency, gas environment, coal temperature, chamber temperature, belt speed, inert gas, and the like. The sensors may be grouped together or may be spaced along the belt facility 130 as required to properly sense the processes of the coal treatment. There may be multiple sensors for the same measurement value. For example, a water moisture sensor may be positioned at a microwave system 148 station and another water moisture sensor may be positioned after the microwave system 148 station. In this example, the sensor arrangement may allow the sensing of the amount of water vapor being removed at the microwave station 148 itself and the amount of residual water vapor removed as the coal leaves the microwave system station 148. In a setup such as this, the first sensor may be used to determine if the proper power level, frequency, and duty cycle is being used and the second sensor may determine if a redundant microwave system 148 process should be executed to remove water adequately from the coal. Similar methods may be used with any of the other sensors of the sensor system 142.

IUU 154] 1 he sensor readings may be received by a parameter control facility 140 that may have a sensor interface for each type of sensor used by the sensor system 142. The parameter control facility 140 may be able to read both digital and analog sensor readings. The parameter control facility 140 may use an analog to digital converter (ADC) to convert any analog readings to a digital format. After receiving the sensor data, the parameter control facility 140 may transmit the sensor readings to both the controller 144 and the monitoring facility 134. The controller 144 may use the sensor readings to display the actual coal process data on its user interface where a user may be able view the data verses the actual settings and carry out manual overrides to the operational parameters as appropriate.

[UU155] In the exemplary embodiment, the monitor facility 134 may receive the actual coal process data and compare them to the required coal process parameters to determine if the coal treatment process is producing the coal desired characteristics 122. The monitoring facility 134 may maintain at least two sets of coal treatment parameters, the target parameters that may have been provided by the parameter generation facility 128, and the actual coal process data provided by the parameter control 140. The monitoring facility 134 may compare the required parameters and the actual parameters to determine if the coal treatment operational parameters are producing the coal desired characteristics 122. The parameter generation facility 128 may have also provided the monitoring facility 134 with a set of tolerances that must be maintained by the coal treatment process in order to produce the coal desired characteristics 122. The monitoring facility 134 may use a set of algorithms to determine if any operational parameter adjustments need to be made. The algorithms may compare the actual sensor 142 data with the basic operational parameters and operational parameter tolerances in determining any adjustments to the operational parameters.

[UU156] Additionally, the monitoring facility 134 may receive final treated coal data from a feedback facility 174 that may contain data from a coal output parameters 172 facility and a testing facility 170. The monitoring facility 134 algorithms may use the data received from the feedback facility 174 along with the in-process data received from the sensor system 142 to adjust the coal treatment operational parameters.

[UU157J The monitoring facility 134 may be able to adjust one or all ot the operational parameters of the belt facility 130 in real time.

[00158] After the monitoring facility 134 adjusts the operational parameters, the monitoring facility 134 may store the adjusted operational parameters as the new operational parameters and then transmit the new operational parameters to the controller 144.

[00159] The controller 144 may determine that at least one new operational parameter has been received from the monitoring facility 134 and may transmit the new operational parameters to the various belt facility 130 devices that may include the microwave system 148.

[00160] Using the above described process of providing operational parameters, sensing the actual process values, interpreting the actual process values, adjusting the operational parameters as required, and transmitting the adjusted operational parameters to the belt facility 130, certain embodiments may provide a real time feedback system that may continually adjust for changing conditions within the coal treatment process.

[00161] It would be understood by someone knowledgeable in the art that the above feedback system may be applied to any of the systems and facilities of the belt facility 130.

[00162] In the exemplary coal treatment process, non-coal products may be released from the coal in the form of gas or liquids. The removal system 150 may be responsible for removing the non-coal products from the belt facility 130; the removal system 150 may remove non-coal products such as water, ash, sulfur, hygrogen, hydroxyls volatile matter and the like. The removal system 150 and the controller 144 may receive sensor information from the sensor system 142 as to the volume of non-coal products that may be released from the coal treatment process.

[00163] There may be more than one removal system 150 in the belt facility 130 to remove gas and/or liquids. For example, there may be a water vapor removal system 150 at a microwave system 148 station with another removal system 150 after the microwave system 148 station to collect the residual water vapor that may continue to be released after the microwave system 148 station. Or, as another example, one removal

system 15U may remove water vapor while another removal system 15U may remove ash, sulfur, or other materials.

[00164] The controller 144 may provide operational parameters to the removal system 150 to control fan speeds, pump speeds, and the like. The removal system 150 may utilize a feedback system similar to the microwave system 148 feedback system previously described. In such a feedback system, sensors may provide information to the parameter control 140 and the monitoring facility 134 to provide real time feedback to the removal system 150 for efficient removal of non-coal products.

[00165] The removal system 150 may collect the coal treatment released gases and liquids from the belt facility 130 and transfer the collected non-coal products to a containment facility 162. The containment facility 162 may collect the non-coal products from the belt facility 130 in at least one containment tank or container. The monitoring facility 134 may monitor the containment facility 162 to determine the level of non-coal product and may provide this information to a user interface viewable by a computer device accessing the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The monitoring facility 134 may also determine when the containment facility 162 is sufficiently full that the contents of the tank or container should be transferred to a treatment facility 160.

[00166] The treatment facility 160 may be responsible for the separation of the various collected non-coal products that may coexist within the containment facility 162 tanks and containers. In an embodiment, more than one non-coal product may be collected in a containment facility tank or container during the coal treatment process. For example, ash may be released with both water and sulfur during one of the microwave system 148 processes, so that the collected product would comprise ash mixed with water and/or sulfur.

[00167] The treatment facility 160 may receive non-coal product from the containment facility 162 for separation into single products. The treatment facility 160 may use a plurality of filtering and separation processes that may include sedimentation, fiocculation, centrifugation, filtration, distillation, chromatography, electrophoresis, extraction, liquid-liquid extraction, precipitation, fractional freezing, sieving, winnowing, or the like.

[UU168J The monitoring facility 134 may monitor the treatment facility 16U processes for proper operation and separation. The treatment facility 160 may have its own sensors for sending data to the monitoring facility 134 or the treatment facility 160 may use the sensor system 142 to monitor the treatment processes.

[00169] Once the treatment facility 160 has separated the non-coal products into individual products they may be transferred to a disposal facility 158 for removal from the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The monitoring facility 132 may monitor the disposal facility 158 product levels to determine when the products should be disposed. The monitoring facility 134 may provide the information from the disposal facility to a user interface within the solid fuel treatment facility 132. Disposal from the disposal facility 158 may include releasing non-harmful products (e.g. water and water vapor), land file transfer (e.g. ash), sale of products, or commercial fee-based disposal. In an embodiment, a non-coal product collected at the disposal facility 158 may be useful to other enterprises (e.g. sulfur).

[00170] After the coal has finished being treated in the belt facility 130 it may proceed to a cooling facility 164 where the cooling of the coal from the treatment temperatures to ambient temperatures may be controlled. Similar to the belt facility 130, the cooling facility 164 may use a control atmosphere, a transport system, sensors, and the like to control the cooling of the coal. The cooling of the coal may be controlled, for example, to prevent re-absorption of moisture and/or to prevent other chemical reactions that may occur during the cooling process. The controller 144 may be used to maintain the cooling facility 164 systems and facilities such as transportation speed, atmosphere, cooling rate, air flow, and the like. The cooling facility 164 may use the same previously described real time feedback system used by the belt facility 130 to control the operational parameters.

[00171] An out-take facility 168 may receive final treated coal from cooling facility 164 and belt facility 130. The out-take facility 168 may have an input section, a transition section, and adapter section that may receive and control the flow and volume of coal that may exit the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The final treated coal may exit the solid fuel treatment facility 132 to a coal combustion facility 200, coal conversion facility 210, coal byproduct facility 212, shipping facility 214, coal storage facility 218,

or the like. 1 he out-take facility 168 may have an intake system such as a conveyor belt 300, auger, or the like that may feed the finished treated coal to an external location from the solid fuel treatment facility 132.

[00172] Based on the operational parameters provided by the controller 144 the out-take facility 168 may control the volume rate of the finished treated coal output from the belt facility 130. The out-take facility 168 may be capable of varying the speed of the out-take facility based on controller 144 supplied parameters.

[00173] Additionally, the out-take facility 168 may provide test samples to a testing facility 170 for testing the final treated coal. The selection of coal samples may automatically or manually selected; the coal selection may be made a predetermined times, randomly selected, statistically selected, or the like.

[00174] The coal testing facility 170 may test the final treated coal characteristics to be compared to the coal desired characteristics 122 as a final quality test of the treated coal. The test facility may be local to the solid fuel treatment facility 132, remotely located, or may be a standard commercial coal testing lab. In Fig. 1 the testing facility is shown as local to the solid fuel treatment facility. The test of the final treated coal may provide coal characteristics that may include percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like. The final treated coal may be tested using standard test such as the ASTM Standards D 388 (Classification of Coals by Rank), the ASTM Standards D 2013 (Method of Preparing Coal Samples for Analysis), the ASTM Standards D 3180 (Standard Practice for Calculating Coal and Coke Analyses from As-Determined to Different Bases), the US Geological Survey Bulletin 1823 (Methods for Sampling and Inorganic Analysis of Coal), and the like.

[00175] Once the final treated coal characteristics have been determined by the testing facility 170, the characteristics may be transmitted to a coal output parameters facility 172 and/or may be supplied with the shipments of the final treated coal. Supplying the test characteristics with the shipment may allow the coal use facility to

know the coal characteristics and adjust the coal use characteristics to match the tmal treated coal characteristics.

[00176] Similar to the coal desired-characteristics facility 122, the coal output parameters facility 170 may store characteristic data coal, in this case the final treated coal characteristics. The coal output parameters facility 172 may be an individual computer device or a set of computer devices to store the final desired coal characteristics for an identified coal. The computer devices may be a desktop computer, server, web server, laptop computer, CD device, DVD device, hard drive system, or the like. The computer devices may all be located locally to each other or may be distributed over a number of computer devices in remote locations. The computer devices may be connected by a LAN, WAN, Internet, intranet, P2P, or other network type using wired or wireless technology.

[00177] The coal output parameters facility 172 may include a collection of data that may be a database, relational database, XML, RSS, ASCII file, flat file, text file, or the like. In an embodiment, the coal output parameter facility 172 may be searchable for the retrieval of the desired data characteristics for a coal.

[00178] There may be a plurality of coal output parameter records stored in the coal output parameter facility 172, based on the number of test samples supplied by the out-take facility 168 and the testing facility 170.

[00179] With every coal characteristic data record received from the testing facility 170, the coal output parameters facility 172 may store the received data and/or transmit the received coal characteristic data record to the feedback facility 174. The coal output parameters facility 172 may transmit only the new received coal characteristics data record, transmit all of the data records for the identified coal (e.g. multiple test results), transmit an average of all the data records for the identified coal, transmit statistical data of the identified coal, or the like. The coal output parameters facility 172 may transfer any combination of the data records to the feedback facility 174.

[00180] The feedback facility 174 may receive coal output parameter data from the coal output parameter facility 172. The feedback facility 174 may be an individual computer device or a set of computer devices to store the final desired coal characteristics for an identified coal. The computer devices may be a desktop computer, server, web

server, laptop computer, CD device, DWD device, hard drive system, or the like, lhe computer devices may all be located locally to each other or may be distributed over a number of computer devices in remote locations. The computer devices may be connected by a LAN, WAN, Internet, intranet, P2P, or other network type using wired or wireless technology.

[00181] The feedback facility 174 may query the coal output parameters facility 172 for data on an identified coal that is being treated in the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In embodiments, the feedback facility 174 may query the coal output parameters facility 172 periodically at set time periods, when data is requested by the monitoring facility 134, when the coal output parameters facility 172 sends a new record, or the like.

[00182] The feedback facility 174 may receive only the new received coal characteristics data record, receive all of the data records for the identified coal (e.g. multiple test results), receive an average of all the data records for the identified coal, receive statistical data of the identified coal, or the like. The feedback facility 174 may have algorithms for aggregating the received final treated coal characteristics as a feed forward to the monitoring facility 134. The feedback facility 174 may feed forward to the monitoring facility 134 the last coal characteristics data record, all of the data records for the identified coal (e.g. multiple test results), an average of all the data records for the identified coal, statistical data of the identified coal, or the like.

[00183] The coal output parameter facility 172 may transfer the coal characteristics to a pricing transactional facility 178. The pricing transactional facility 178 may determine the price and cost of the coal treatment from the as-received raw coal to the final treated coal. The pricing transactional facility 178 may retrieve as-received coal data from the coal sample data facility 120; this facility may store the cost of the received coal (e.g. cost/ton of coal). The pricing transactional facility 178 may retrieve data from the coal output parameters facility 172 that may contain data related to the cost of treating the coal. The pricing transactional facility 178 may have application software that may determine the final price of the treated coal based on the cost data retrieved and derived from the coal sample data facility 120 and the coal output parameters facility 172.

[00184] As depicted in Fig. 2, certain aspects ot coal usage are consistent with treatment of coal in the solid fuel treatment facility 132. As described above, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may improve coal quality to render the coal more suitable for a variety of uses. In embodiments, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may include an outtake facility 168 through which coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be transferred to usage facilities such as those illustrated in Fig. 2. In embodiments, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may include a testing facility 170 as described in more detail above. As described previously, results of coal tested in the testing facility 170 may be transferred to usage facilities such as those illustrated in Fig. 2, so that the usage facility may better take advantage of the particular properties of coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein.

[00185] Fig. 2 illustrates exemplary facilities that may use coal treated by the systems and methods described herein, including but not limited to a coal combustion facility 200 and coal storage facility 202 for combustible coal, a coal conversion facility 210, a coal byproduct facility 212, a coal shipping facility 214 and a coal storage facility 218 for coal shipments in transit. In embodiments, coal is shipped or transported from the out-take facility 168 to a facility for coal use. It is understood that the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be in proximity to the coal use facility, or the two may be remote from each other.

[00186] Referring to Fig. 2, combustion of coal treated by the systems and methods described herein may take place in a coal combustion facility 200. Coal combustion 200 involves burning coal at high temperatures in the presence of oxygen to produce light and heat. Coal must be heated to its ignition temperature before combustion occurs. The ignition temperature of coal is that of its fixed carbon content. The ignition temperatures of the volatile constituents of coal are higher than the ignition temperature of the fixed carbon. Gaseous products thus are distilled off during combustion. When combustion starts, the heat produced by the oxidation of the combustible carbon may, under proper conditions, maintain a high enough temperature to sustain the combustion. Coal to be used in a coal combustion 200 facility may be transported directly to the facility for usage, or it may be stored in a storage facility 202 related to the coal combustion 200 facility.

[UU187J As depicted in Fig. 2, coal combustion 2UU may provide tor power generation 2U4. Systems for power generation include fixed bed combustion systems 22U, pulverized coal combustion systems 222, fluidized bed combustion systems 224 and combination combustion systems 228 that use renewable energy sources in combination with coal combustion.

[00188] In embodiments, fixed bed 22U systems may be used with coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein. Fixed bed 22U systems may use a lump-coal feed, with particle size ranging from about 1-5 cm. In a fixed bed 22U system, the coal is heated as it enters the furnace, so that moisture and volatile material are driven off. As the coal moves into the region where it will be ignited, the temperature rises in the coal bed. There are a number of different types of fixed bed 22U systems, including static grates, underfeed stokers, chain grates, traveling grates and spreader stoker systems. Chain and traveling grate furnaces have similar characteristics. Coal lumps are fed onto a moving grate or chain, while air is drawn through the grate and through the bed of coal on top of it. In a spreader stoker, a high-speed rotor throws the coal into the furnace over a moving grate to distribute the fuel more evenly. Stoker furnaces are generally characterized by a flame temperature between 12UU-13UU degrees C and a fairly long residence time.

[00189] Combustion in a fixed bed 22U system is relatively uneven, so that there can be intermittent emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides ("NOx") and volatiles during the combustion process. Combustion chemistry and temperatures may vary substantially across the combustion grate. The emission of SO 2 will depend on the sulfur content of the feed coal. Residual ash may have a high carbon content (4-5%) because of the relatively inefficient combustion and because of the restricted access of oxygen to the carbon content of the coal. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be burned advantageously in a fixed bed 22U system. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for combustion in a fixed bed 22U system.

[00190] In embodiments, pulverized coal combustion ("PCC") 222 may be used as a combustion 2ϋϋ method for power generation 2U4. As depicted in Fig. 2, PCC 222 may be used with coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described

herein, tor PCC, the coal may be ground (pulverized) to a line powder. 1 he pulverized coal is blown with part of the air for combustion into the boiler through a series of burner nozzles. Secondary or tertiary air may also be added. Units operate at close to atmospheric pressure. Combustion takes place at temperatures between 1300-1700 degrees C, depending on coal rank. For bituminous coal, combustion temperatures are held between 1500-1700 degrees C. For lower rank coals, the range is 1300-1600 degrees C. The particle size of coal used in pulverized coal processes ranges from about 10-100 microns. Particle residence time is typically 1-5 seconds, and the particles must be sized so that they are completely burned during this time. Steam is generated by the process that may drive a steam generator and turbine for power generation 204.

[00191] Pulverized coal combustors 222 may be supplied with wall-fired or tangentially fired burners. Wall-fired burners are mounted on the walls of the combustor, while the tangentially fired burners are mounted on the corner, with the flame directed towards the center of the boiler, thereby imparting a swirling motion to the gases during combustion so that the air and fuel is mixed more effectively. Boilers may be termed either wet-bottom or dry-bottom, depending on whether the ash falls to the bottom as molten slag or is removed as a dry solid. Advantageously, PCC 222 produces a fine fly ash. In general, PCC 222 may result in 65%-85% fly ash, with the remainder of the ash taking the form of coarser bottom ash (in dry bottom boilers) or boiler slag (wet bottom boilers).

[00192] In embodiments, PCC 222 boilers using anthracite coal as a fuel may employ a downshot burner arrangement, whereby the coal-air mixture is sent down into a cone at the base of the boiler. This arrangement allows longer residence time that ensures more complete carbon burn. Another arrangement is called the cell burner, involving two or three circular burners combined into a single, vertical assembly that yields a compact, intense flame. The high temperature flame from this burner may result in more NOx formation, though, rendering this arrangement less advantageous.

[00193] In embodiments, cyclone-fired boilers may be employed for coals with a low ash fusion temperature that would be otherwise difficult to use with PCC 222. A cyclone furnace has combustion chambers mounted outside the tapered main boiler. Primary combustion air carries the coal particles into the furnace, while secondary air is

injected tangentially into the cyclone, creating a strong swirl that throws the larger coal particles towards the furnace walls. Tertiary air enters directly into the central vortex of the cyclone to control the central vacuum and the position of the combustion zone within the furnace. Larger coal particles are trapped in the molten layer that covers the cyclone interior surface and then are recirculated for more complete burning. The smaller coal particles pass into the center of the vortex for burning. This system results in intense heat formation within the furnace, so that the coal is burned at extremely high temperatures. Combustion gases, residual char and fly ash pass into a boiler chamber for more complete burning. Molten ash flows by gravity to the bottom of the furnace for removal.

[00194] In a cyclone boiler, 80-90% of the ash leaves the bottom of the boiler as a molten slag, so that less fly ash passes through the heat transfer sections of the boiler to be emitted. These boilers run at high temperatures (from 1650 to over 2000 degrees C), and employ near-atmospheric pressure. The high temperatures result in high production of NOx, a major disadvantage to this boiler type. Cyclone-fired boilers may use coals with certain key characteristics: volatile matter greater than 15% (dry basis), ash contents between 6-25% for bituminous coals or 4-25% for subbituminous coals, and a moisture content of less than 20% for bituminous and 30% for subbituminous coals. The ash must have particular slag viscosity characteristics; ash slag behavior is especially important to the functioning of this boiler type. High moisture fuels may be burned in this type of boiler, but design variations are required.

[00195] It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be burned advantageously in a PCC 222 system. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for combustion in a PCC 222 system.

[00196] PCC may be used in combination with subcritical or supercritical steam cycling. A supercritical steam cycle is one that operates above the water critical temperature (374 degrees F) and critical pressure (22.1 mPa), where the gas and liquid phases of water cease to exist. Subcritical systems typically achieve thermal efficiencies of 33-34%. Supercritical systems may achieve thermal efficiencies 3 to 5 percent higher than subcritical systems.

IUU 197] It will be appreciated by skilled artisans that increasing the thermal efficiency of coal combustion 200 results in lower costs for power generation 204 because less fuel is needed. Increased thermal efficiency also reduces other emissions generated during combustion, such as those of SO 2 and NOx. Older, smaller units burning lower rank coals have thermal efficiencies that may be as low as 30%. For larger plants, with subcritical steam boilers that burn higher quality coals, thermal efficiencies may be in the region of 35-36%. Facilities using supercritical steam may achieve overall thermal efficiencies in the 43-45% range. Maximum efficiencies achievable with lower grade coals and lower rank coals may be less than what would be achieved with higher grade and higher rank coals. For example, maximum efficiencies expected in new lignite-fired plants (found, for example, in Europe) may be around 42%, while equivalent new bituminous coal plants may achieve about 45% maximum thermal efficiency. Supercritical steam plants using bituminous coals and other optimal construction materials may yield net thermal efficiencies of 45-47%. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be advantageously designed for optimizing thermal efficiencies.

[UU198] In embodiments, fluidized bed combustion ("FBC") 224 systems may be used with coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein. FBC 224 systems operate on the principle of fluidization, a condition in which solid materials are given free-flowing fluid-like behavior. As a gas is passed upward through a bed of solid particles, the flow of gas produces forces that tend to separate the particles from one another. In a FBC 224 system, coal is burned in a bed of hot incombustible particles suspended by an upward flow of fluidizing gas. The coal in a FBC 224 system may be mixed with a sorbent such as limestone, with the mixture being fluidized during the combustion process to allow complete combustion and removal of sulfur gases. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be burned advantageously in a FBC 224 system. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for combustion in a FBC 224 system. Exemplary embodiments of FBC 224 systems are described below in more detail.

[00199] tor power generation 204, FBC 224 systems are used mamly with subcritical steam turbines. Atmospheric pressure FBC 224 systems may be bubbling or circulating. Pressurized FBC 224 systems, presently in earlier stages of development, mainly use bubbling beds and may produce power in a combined cycle with a gas and steam turbine. Relatively coarse coal particles, around 3 mm in size, may be used. FBC 224 at atmospheric pressures may be useful with high-ash coals and/or those with variable characteristics. Combustion takes place at temperatures between 800-900 degrees C, substantially below the threshold for forming NOx, so that these systems result in lower NOx emissions than PCC 222 systems.

[00200] Bubbling beds have a low fluidizing velocity, so that the coal particles are held in a bed that is about 1 mm deep with an identifiable surface. As the coal particles are burned away and become smaller, they ultimately are carried off with the coal gases to be removed as fly ash. Circulating beds use a higher fluidizing velocity, so that coal particles are suspended in the flue gases and pass through the main combustion chamber into a cyclone. The larger coal particles are extracted from the gases and are recycled into the combustion chamber. Individual particles may recycle between 10-50 times, depending on their combustion characteristics. Combustion conditions are relatively uniform throughout the combustor and there is a great deal of particle mixing. Even though the coal solids are distributed throughout the unit, a dense bed is required in the lower furnace to mix the fuel during combustion. For a bed burning bituminous coal, the carbon content of the bed is around 1%, with the rest made of ash and other minerals.

[00201] Circulating FBC 224 systems may be designed for a particular type of coal. In embodiments, these systems are particularly useful for low grade, high ash coals which are difficult to pulverize finely and which may have variable combustion characteristics. In embodiments, these systems are also useful for co-firing coal with other fuels such as biomass or waste in a combination combustion 228 system. Once a FBC 224 unit is built, it may operate most efficiently with the fuel for which it has been designed. A variety of designs may be employed. Thermal efficiency for a circulating FBC 224 is generally somewhat lower than for equivalent PCC systems. Use of a low grade coal with variable characteristics may lower the thermal efficiency even more.

IUU2U2] FBC 224 in pressurized systems may be useful lor low grade coals and for those with variable combustion characteristics. In a pressurized system, the combustor and the gas cyclones are all enclosed in a pressure vessel, with the coal and sorbent fed into the system across the pressure boundary and the ash removed across the pressure boundary. When hard coal is used, the coal and the limestone may be mixed together with 25% water and fed into the system as a paste. The system may operate at pressures of 1-1.5 MPa with combustion temperatures between 800-900 degrees C. The combustion heats steam, like a conventional boiler, and also may produce hot gas to drive a gas turbine. Pressurized units are designed to have a thermal efficiency of over 40%, with low emissions. Future generations of pressurized FBC systems may include improvements that would produce thermal efficiencies greater than 50%.

[00203] As depicted in Fig. 2, coal combustion 200 may be employed for metallurgical purposes 208 such as smelting iron and steel. In certain embodiments, bituminous coals with certain properties may be suitable for smelting without prior coking. As an example, those coals having properties such as fusibility, and a combination of other factors including a high fixed carbon content, low ash (<5%), low sulfur, and low calcite (CaCCβ) content may be suitable for metallurgical purposes 208. Coals having properties suitable for metallurgical purposes 208 may be worth 15-50% more than coal used for power generation 204. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be burned advantageously in a metallurgical 208 system. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for combustion in a metallurgical 208 system.

[00204] Referring to Fig. 2, coal treated by the systems and methods described herein may be used in a coal conversion facility 210. As depicted in Fig. 2, a coal conversion facility 210 may convert the complex hydrocarbons of coal into other products, using, for example, systems for gasification 230, syngas production and conversion 234, coke and purified carbon formation 238 and hydrocarbon formation 240. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be used advantageously in a coal conversion facility 210. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for use in a coal conversion facility 210.

IUU2U5] In embodiments, coal treated by the systems and methods described herein may be used for gasification 230. Gasification 230 involves the conversion of coal to a combustible gas, volatile materials, char and mineral residues (ash/slag). A gasification 230 system converts a hydrocarbon fuel material like coal into its gaseous components by applying heat under pressure, generally in the presence of steam. The device that carries out this process is called a gasifier. Gasification 230 differs from combustion because it takes place with limited air or oxygen available. Thus, only a small portion of the fuel burns completely. The fuel that burns provides the heat for the rest of the gasification 230 process.

[00206] During gasification 230, most of the hydrocarbon feedstock (e.g., coal) is chemically broken down into a variety of other substances collectively termed "syngas." Syngas is primarily hydrogen, carbon monoxide and other gaseous compounds. The components of syngas vary, however, based on the type of feedstock used and the gasification conditions employed. Leftover minerals in the feedstock do not gasify like the carbonaceous materials, so that they may be separated out and removed. Sulfur impurities in the coal may form hydrogen sulfide, from which sulfur or sulfuric acid may be produced. Because gasification takes place under reducing conditions, NOx typically does not form and ammonia forms instead. If oxygen is used instead of air during gasification 230, carbon dioxide is produced in a concentrated gas stream that may be sequestered and prevented from entering the atmosphere as a pollutant.

[00207] Gasification 230 may be able to use coals that would be difficult to use in combustion 200 facilities, such as coals with high sulfur content or high ash content. Ash characteristics of coal used in a gasifier affect the efficiency of the process, both because they affect the formation of slag and they affect the deposition of solids within the syngas cooler or heat exchanger. At lower temperatures, such as those found in fixed-bed and fiuidized gasifiers, tar formation may cause problems. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be used advantageously in a gasification 230 facility. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for use in a gasification 230 facility.

[00208] In embodiments, three types ot gasitier systems may be available: fixed beds, fluidized beds, and entrained flow. Fixed bed units, not normally used for power generation, use lump coal. Fluidized beds use 3-6mm size coal. Entrained flow units use pulverized coal. Entrained flow units run at higher operating temperatures (around 1600 degrees C) than fluidized bed systems (around 900 degrees C).

[00209] In embodiments, gasifiers may run at atmospheric pressure or may be pressurized. With pressurized gasification, the feedstock coal may be inserted across a pressure barrier. Bulky and expensive lock hopper systems may be used to insert the coal, or the coal may be fed in as a water-based slurry. Byproduct streams then are depressurized to be removed across the pressure barrier. Internally, the heat exchangers and gas-cleaning units for the syngas are also pressurized.

[00210] Although it is understood that gasification 230 facilities may not involve combustion, gasification 230 may nonetheless be used for power generation in certain embodiments. For example, a gasification 230 facility in which power is generated may utilize an integrated gasification combined cycle ("IGCC") 232 system. In an IGCC system 232, the syngas produced during gasification may be cleaned of impurities (hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, particulate matter, and the like) and burned to drive a gas turbine. In an IGCC system 232, the exhaust gases from gasification may also be heat-exchanged with water to generate superheated steam that drives a steam turbine. Because an IGCC system 232 uses two turbines in combination (a gas combustion turbine and a steam turbine), such a system is called "combined cycle." Generally, the majority of the power (60-70%) comes from the gas turbine in this system. IGCC systems 232 generate power at greater thermal efficiency than coal combustion systems. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be used advantageously in an IGCC 232 facility. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for use in a, IGCC 232 facility.

[00211] In embodiments, coal treated by the systems and methods described herein may be used for the production of syngas 234 or its conversion into a variety of other products. For example, its components like carbon monoxide and hydrogen may be used to produce a broad range of liquid or gaseous fuels or chemicals, using processes

lamiliar to practitioners in the art. As another example, the hydrogen produced during gasification may be used as fuel for fuel cells, or potentially for hydrogen turbines or hybrid fuel cell-turbine systems. The hydrogen that is separated from the gas stream may be also be used as a feedstock for refineries that use the hydrogen for producing upgraded petroleum products.

[00212] Syngas 234 may also be converted into a variety of hydrocarbons that may be used for fuels or for further processing. Syngas 234 may be condensed into light hydrocarbons using, for example, Fischer-Tropsch catalysts. The light hydrocarbons may then be further converted into gasoline or diesel fuel. Syngas 234 may also be converted into methanol, which may be used as a fuel, a fuel additive, or a building block for gasoline production. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be used advantageously in a syngas production or conversion 234 facility. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for use in a syngas production or conversion 234 facility.

[00213] In embodiments, coal treated by the systems and methods described herein may be converted 238 into coke or purified carbon. Coke 238 is a solid carbonaceous residue derived from coal whose volatile components have been driven off by baking in an oven at high temperatures (as high as 1000 degrees C). At these temperatures, the fixed carbon and residual ash are fused together. Feedstock for forming coke is typically low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal. Coke may be used as a fuel during, for example, smelting iron in a blast furnace. Coke is also useful as a reducing agent during such processes. Converting coal to coke may also yield byproducts such as coal tar, ammonia, light oils and coal gas. Since the volatile components of coal are driven off during the coking process 238, coke is a desirable fuel for furnaces where conditions may not be suitable for burning coal itself. For example, coke may be burned with little or no smoke under combustion conditions that would cause a large amount of emissions if bituminous coal itself were used.

[00214] Coal must desirably meet certain stringent criteria regarding moisture content, ash content, sulfur content, volatile content, tar and plasticity before it can be used as coking coal. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be used advantageously in a coke production facility 238. Hence, coal

treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for use for producing coke 238.

[00215] In embodiments, amorphous pure carbon 238 may be obtained by heating coal to a temperature of about 650-980 degrees C in a limited-air environment so that complete combustion does not occur. Amorphous carbon 238 is a form of the carbon allotrope graphite consisting of microscopic carbon crystals. Amorphous carbon 238 thus obtained has a number of industrial uses. For example, graphite may be used for electrochemistry components, activated carbons are used for water and air purification, and carbon black may be used to reinforce tires. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be used advantageously in a purified carbon production facility 238. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for use for producing purified carbon 238.

[00216] In embodiments, the basic process of coke production 238 may be used to manufacture a hydrocarbon-containing 240 gas mixture that may be used as fuel ("town gas"). Town gas may include, for example, about 51% hydrogen, 15% carbon monoxide, 21% methane, 10% carbon dioxide and nitrogen, and about 3% other alkanes. Other processes, for example the Lurgi process and the Sabatier synthesis use lower quality coal to produce methane.

[00217] In embodiments, coal treated with the systems and methods described herein may be converted to hydrocarbon products 240. For example, liquefaction converts coal into liquid hydrocarbon 240 products that can be used as fuel. Coal may be liquefied using direct or indirect processes. Any process that converts coal to a hydrocarbon 240 fuel must add hydrogen to the hydrocarbons comprising coal. Four types of liquefaction methods are available: (1) pyro lysis and hydrocarbonization, wherein coal is heated in the absence of air or in the presence of hydrogen; (2) solvent extraction, wherein coal hydrocarbons are selectively dissolved from the coal mass and hydrogen is added; (3) catalytic liquefaction, wherein a catalyst effects the hydrogenation of the coal hydrocarbons; and (4) indirect liquefaction, wherein carbon monoxide and hydrogen are combined in the presence of a catalyst. As an example, the Fischer-Tropsch process is a catalyzed chemical reaction in which carbon monoxide and

hydrogen are converted to various torms ot liquid hydrocarbons 240. Substances produced by this process may include synthetic petroleum substitutes usable as lubrication oils or fuels.

[00218] As another example, low temperature carbonization may be used for manufacturing liquid hydrocarbons 240 from coal. In this process, coal is coked 238 at temperatures between 450 and 700 0 C (compared to 800 to 1000 0 C for metallurgical coke). These temperatures optimize the production of coal tars richer in lighter hydrocarbons 240 than normal coal tar. The coal tar is then further processed into fuels.

[00219] It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be used advantageously in the formation 240 of hydrocarbon products. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for use for producing hydrocarbons 240.

[00220] Referring to Fig. 2, coal treated by the systems and methods described herein may be used in a coal byproduct facility 212. As depicted in Fig. 2, a coal byproduct facility 210 may convert coal into coal combustion byproducts 242 and coal distillation byproducts 244.

[00221] In embodiments, a variety of coal combustion byproducts 242 may be obtained. As examples, coal combustion byproducts 242 may include volatile hydrocarbons, ash, sulfur, carbon dioxide, water and the like. Further processing of these byproducts may be carried out, with economic benefit. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be used advantageously to produce economically beneficial combustion byproducts. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for use in producing useful combustion byproducts.

[00222] As an example, volatile matter is a coal combustion byproduct 242. Volatile matter includes those products, exclusive of moisture, that are given off as a gas or a vapor during heating. For coal, the percent volatile matter is determined by first heating the coal to 105 C degrees to drive off the moisture, then heating the coal to 950 degrees C and measuring the weight loss. Volatile matter may include a mixture of short and long chain hydrocarbons plus other gases, including sulfur. Volatile matter thus may be comprised of a mixture of gases, low boiling point organic compounds that condense

into oils upon cooling, and tars. Volatile matter in coal increases with decreasing rank. Moreover, coals with high volatile matter content are highly reactive during combustion and ignite easily.

[00223] As another example, coal ash is a coal combustion byproduct 242. Coal ash is made of fly ash (the waste removed from smoke stacks) and bottom ash (from boilers and combustion chambers). Coarse particles (bottom ash and/or boiler slag) settle to the bottom of the combustion chamber, and the fine portion (fly ash) escapes through the flue and is reclaimed and recycled. Coal ash may contain concentrations of many trace elements and heavy metals, including Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Se, Sr, V, and Zn. Ash that is retrieved after coal combustion may be useful as an additive to cement products, as a fill for excavation or civil engineering projects, as a soil ameliorization agent, and as a component of other products, including paints, plastics, coatings and adhesives.

[00224] As another example, sulfur is a coal combustion byproduct 242. Sulfur in coal may be released during combustion as a sulfur oxide, or it may be retained in the coal ash by reacting with base oxides contained in the mineral impurities (a process known as sulfur self-retention). The most important base oxide for sulfur self-retention is CaO, formed as a result of CaCCβ decomposition and combustion of calcium-containing organic groups. Coal combustion takes place in two successive steps: devolatilization and char combustion. During devolatilization, combustible sulfur is converted to SO2. During char combustion, the process of SO2 formation, sulfation and CaSO4 decomposition take place simultaneously.

[00225] In embodiments, a variety of coal distillation products 244 may be obtained. Destructive distillation 244 of coal yields coal tar and coal gas, in addition to metallurgical coke. Uses for metallurgical coke and coal gas have been discussed previously, as products of coal transformation. Coal tar, the third byproduct, has a variety of other commercial uses. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be used advantageously to produce economically beneficial distillation byproducts 244. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed for use in producing useful distillation byproducts 244.

[UU226J Coal tar is an example ol a coal distillation byproduct 244. Coal tar is a complex mixture of hydrocarbon substances. The majority of its components are aromatic hydrocarbons of differing compositions and volatilities, from the simplest and most volatile (benzene) to multiple-ringed non-volatile substances of large molecular weights. The hydrocarbons in coal tar are in large part benzene-based, naphthalene- based, or anthracene- or phenanthrene-based. There may also be variable quantities of aliphatic hydrocarbons, paraffins and olefins. In addition, coal tar contains a small amount of simple phenols, such as carbolic acid and cumarone. Sulfur compounds and nitrogenated organic compounds may also be found. Most of the nitrogen compounds in coal tar are basic in character and belong to the pyridine and the quinoline families, for example, aniline.

[00227] In embodiments, coal tar may be further subjected to fractional distillation to yield a number of useful organic chemicals, including benzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene, anthracene and phenanthrene. These substances may be termed coal-tar crudes. They form the basis for synthesis of a number of products, such as dyes, drugs, flavorings, perfumes, synthetic resins, paints, preservatives, and explosives. Following the fractional distillation of coal-tar crudes, a residue of pitch is left over. This substance may be used for purposes like roofing, paving, insulation, and waterproofing.

[00228] In embodiments, coal tar may also be used in its native state without submitting it to fractional distillation. For example, it may be heated to a certain extent to remove its volatile components before using it. Coal tar in its native state may be employed as a paint, a weatherproofing agent, or as a protection against corrosion. Coal tar has also been used as a roofing material. Coal tar may be combusted as a fuel, though it yields noxious gases during combustion. Burning tar creates a large quantity of soot called lampblack. If the soot is collected, it may be used for the manufacture of carbon for electrochemistry, printing, dyes, etc.

[00229] Referring to Fig. 2, coal treated by the systems and methods described herein may be transported in a shipping facility 214 or stored in a storage facility 218. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties allow coal to be safely and efficiently transported and stored. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems

and methods described herein may be advantageously designed to facilitate its shipping and storage.

[00230] In embodiments, coal may be transported from where it is mined to where it is used. Coal transportation may be effected in a shipping facility 214. Before it is transported, coal may be cleaned, sorted and/or crushed to a particular size. In certain cases, power plants may be located on-site or close to the mine that provides the coal to the plant. For these facilities, coal may be transported by conveyors and the like. In most cases, though, power plants and other facilities using coal are located remotely. The main transportation method from mine to remote facility is the railway. Barges and other seagoing vessels may also be used. Highway transportation in trucks is feasible, but may not be cost-effective, especially for trips over fifty miles. Coal slurry pipelines transport powdered coal suspended in water. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular handling properties facilitate coal transportation in a shipping facility 214. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed to facilitate its transport.

[00231] In embodiments, coal may be stored in a storage facility 218, either at the site where it will be used or at a remote site from which it may be transported to the point of use. In embodiments such as coal combustion facilities 200 and other coal utilization plants, coal may be stored on-site. As an example, for a power generation plant 204, 10% or more of the annual coal requirement may be stored. Overstocking of stored coal may cause problems, however, related to risks of spontaneous combustion, losses of volatile material and losses of calorific value. Anthracite coal may present fewer risks than other coal ranks. Anthracite, for example, may not be subject to spontaneous ignition, so may be stored in unlimited amounts per coal pile. A bituminous coal, by contrast, may ignite spontaneously if placed in a large enough pile, and it may suffer disintegration.

[00232] Two types of changes may occur in stored coal. Inorganic material such as pyrites may oxidize, and organic material in the coal itself may oxidize. When the inorganic material oxidizes, the volume and/or weight of the coal may increase, and it may disintegrate. If the coal substances themselves oxidize, the changes may not be immediately appreciable. Oxidation of organic material in coal involves oxidation of the

carbon and hydrogen in the coal, and the absorption ot oxygen by unsaturated hydrocarbons, changes that may cause a loss of calorific value. These changes may also cause spontaneous combustion. It will be understood by skilled artisans that particular properties of coal minimize the deleterious changes that may occur in coal stored in a storage facility 218. Hence, coal treated in accordance with the systems and methods described herein may be more particularly designed to permit its safe storage in a storage facility 218.

[00233] Now a more detailed description is presented for the individual components of the solid fuel treatment facility, its inputs, outputs, and related methods and systems.

[00234] Coal is formed from plant matter that decomposes without access to air under the influence of moisture, elevated pressure and elevated temperature. There are two steps to the formation of coal. The first step is a biological one, wherein cellulose is turned into peat. The second step is a physicochemical one, wherein peat is turned into coal. The geological process that forms coal is termed coalification. As coalification progresses, the chemical composition of the coal gradually changes to compounds of higher carbon content and lower hydrogen content, as may be found in aromatic ring structures.

[00235] The type of coal, or coal rank, indicates the degree of coalification that has occurred. The ranks of coal, ranging from highest to lowest, include anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous, and brown coal/lignite. With an increase in degree of coalification, the percentage of volatile matter decreases and the calorific value increases. Thus, higher-ranked coals have less volatile matter and more calorific value. In general, too, with increasing rank, a coal has less moisture, less oxygen, and more fixed carbon, more sulfur and more ash. The term "grade" distinguishes between two coals with respect to ash and sulfur content.

[00236] All coal contains minerals. These minerals are inorganic substances found in the coal. A mineral constituent that is integrated into the coal substance itself is termed an included mineral. A mineral constituent that is separate from the coal matrix is termed an excluded mineral. Excluded minerals may be dispersed among the coal particles, or may be present inadvertently because of mining techniques that draw from adjacent mineral strata. The inorganic material in coal becomes ash following coal combustion or coal transformation.

[UU237J The uncombmed carbon of coal is termed its fixed carbon content. A certain amount of the total carbon is combined with hydrogen so that it burns as a hydrocarbon. This, together with other gases that form when coal is heated, forms the volatile matter in the coal. Fixed carbon and volatile matter form the combustible. The oxygen and nitrogen contained in the volatile matter are included as part of the combustible, which is understood to be the amount of coal free from moisture and ash. In addition to the combustible, coal contains moisture and a variety of minerals that form the ash. The ash content of U.S. coal may vary from approximately 3% to 30%. The moisture may vary from 0.75% to 45% of the total weight of coal.

[00238] A large ash content is undesirable in coal because it reduces the calorific value of the coal and because it interferes with combustion by choking the air passages in the furnace. If the coal also has a high sulfur content, the sulfur may combine with the ash to form a fusible slag that can further impede effective combustion in a furnace. Moisture in coal may cause difficulties during combustion because it absorbs heat when it evaporates, thus reducing furnace temperatures.

[00239] While the technologies discussed herein are applied for illustrative purposes to using coal as a single fuel, it is understood that they may also be applied to using coal in combination with other fuels, for example with biomass or waste products, using techniques familiar to those of ordinary skill in the art.

[00240] There may be two basic methods of mining coal 102, surface mining and underground mining. Surface mining methods may include surface mining, contour mining, and open pit mining.

[00241] Surface coal mines may be covered by non-coal materials called overburden, the overburden may be removed before mining the coal. Surface mining may be found on flat terrain, contour mining may follow a coal seam along a hill or mountain, and open pit mining may be where a coal seam is thick and may be several hundred feet deep. Equipment used in surface mines may include draglines, shovels, bulldozers, front-end loaders, bucket wheel excavators and trucks.

[00242] There three basic methods of extracting coal from underground coal mines 102, room-and-pillar, long wall, and standard blasting and removal of coal. Room- and-pillar mining may consist of a continuous breaking up of the coal by a mining machine and shuttling the coal to a belt for removal. After a specified distance, the ceiling is supported and the process is repeated. Long wall mining may consist of

moving a mining machine over a long continuous wall ol coal with the coal being removed by a belt system. The roof may be supported by steel beams that are part of the long wall mining machine. A standard blasting and removal mining method may blast the coal with explosives and then removing the coal using standard equipment (e.g. belt system, rail, tractor).

[00243] A coal mine 102 may consist of more that one coal seam, the coal seam may be a continuous line of coal. A coal mine 102 may contain a plurality of different coal types with known characteristics 110 within a coal mine and/or a coal seam. Some of the defined coal types may include peat, brown coal, lignite, subbituminous, bituminous, and anthracite coal. A coal mine 102 may test the characteristics 110 of the coal within a mine and/or seam. The characteristic 110 testing may be by sampling, periodic, continuous, or the like. A coal mine may test the coal on site for the coal characteristic 110 determination or may send samples of the coal to an external testing facility. A mining operation may survey a mine to classify the types of coal contain in the mine to determine where and what types of coal are within a mine. The different coal types may have standard classifications 110 by the moisture content, minerals, and materials such as sulfur, ash, metals, and the like. The percentage of moisture and other materials within a type of coal may affect the burning characteristics and the heating capability (BTU/lb) of the coal. A coal mine 102 operator may selectively mine coal from the coal mine in order to maintain a consistent type of coal for supply to customers, to mine a type of coal that is better accepted on a market, to provide the most common coal to a market or customers, or the like. In an embodiment, coals with less moisture, such as bituminous and anthracite, may provide better burning and heating characteristics.

[00244] In an embodiment, coal mining 102 facilities may contain coal sizing, storage 104 and shipping 108 facilities for the handling of the mined coal.

[00245] The coal sizing facility may be used to make the raw mined coal into a more desirable shaped and sized coal. The coal may be sized within a facility on the surface of the mine by a pulverizer, coal crusher, ball mill, grinder, or the like. The coal may be provided to the coal sizing facility by the belt system from the mine, by truck, or

the like, lhe coal sizing may be on a continuous teed process or may use a batch process to resize the coal.

[00246] The storage facility 104 may be used to temporarily store the raw or resized coal from the coal sizing facility prior to shipping the coal to a customer. The storage facility 104 may contain additional sorting facilities where the raw or resized coal may be further classified by coal size. The storage facility 104 may be a building, shed, rail cars, open area, or the like.

[00247] The storage facility 104 may be associated with the shipping facility 108 by being close to a coal transportation method. The shipping facility 108 may use rail, truck, or the like to move the coal from the coal mine 102 to customers. The shipping facility 108 may use conveyor belts 300, trucks, loaders, or the like, either individually or in combination, to move the coal to the coal transportation method. Depending on the coal mine volume, the shipping facility 108 may be a continuous loading operation or may ship coal on an on-demand process.

[00248] A coal storage facility 112 may be a coal reseller for at least one remotely located coal source and may purchase, store and resell different coal types to various customers. A coal source for the coal storage facility 112 may be a coal mine 102 or another coal storage facility 112. The coal storage facility 112 may receive and store a plurality of coal types from a plurality remotely located coal sources. In an embodiment, the coal storage facility 112 may store the coal by coal type. Coal types may include, but are not limited to, peat, brown coal, lignite, subbituminous, bituminous, and anthracite coal. The coal storage facility may include a storage facility 114, a shipping facility 118, or other facilities for handling, storing, and shipping coal. In an embodiment, the coal storage facility 112 may purchase coal on spec from remotely located mines for later resale.

[00249] The coal storage facility 112 may receive coal from remotely located coal sources; coal type and characteristics 110 may be provided by the coal source. The storage facility 112 may also perform additional coal testing to either verify the received coal characteristics or to further classify the coal; the coal storage facility 112 may store sub-coal types for different coal customers. Sub-coal types may be a further

classification ol the coal by the coal characteristics 1 IU. The storage facility 112 may have on-site coal testing facilities or may use a standard coal testing lab.

[00250] The storage facility 114 may be used to store the coal from the remotely located coal source prior to shipping the coal to a customer. The storage facility 114 may contain additional sorting facilities where the coal may be further classified by coal size or coal characteristic 110. The additional sorting facility may further size the coal by using a pulverizer, a coal crusher, a ball mill, a grinder, or the like. The storage facility 114 may be a building, shed, rail cars, open area, or the like.

[00251] The storage facility 114 may be associated with the shipping facility 118 by being close to a coal transportation method. The shipping facility 118 may use rail, truck, or the like to move the coal from the storage facility 114 to coal customers. The shipping facility 118 may use conveyor belts 300, trucks, loaders, or the like, either individually or in combination, to move the coal to the coal transportation method. Depending on the storage facility 112 volume, the shipping facility 118 may be a continuous loading operation or may ship coal on an on-demand process.

[00252] The coal sample data 120 may be a storage location for the classification 110 data of coal. The coal sample data 120 may be a database, relational database, table, text file, XML file, RSS, flat file, or the like that may store the characteristics 110 of the coal. The data may be stored on a computer device that may include a server, web server, desktop computer, laptop computer, handheld computer, PDA, flash memory, or the like. In an embodiment, the coal characteristics 110 data may be shipped with the coal shipment on a paper hardcopy, electronic format, database, or the like. If the coal characteristics are shipped with paper hardcopy, the characteristic data may be input into the appropriate coal sample data format on the computer device. In an embodiment, the coal characteristics 110 data may be sent by email, FTP, Internet connection, WAN, LAN, P2P, or the like from a coal mine 102, coal storage facility 112, or the like. The coal sample data 120 may be maintained by the coal mine 102, coal storage facility 112, the receiving facility, or the like. The coal sample data 120 may be accessible over a network that may include the Internet.

[00253] The coal sample data 120 may include the sending coal mine name, storage facility name, final use for the coal, desired properties, possible final properties,

coal characteristics (e.g. moisture), the coal testing facility used, coal test date, tested as received or dry, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, verification test facility, verification test date, and the like. In an embodiment, there may be at least one coal characteristic test data and test date per coal sample.

[00254] In an embodiment, coal characteristics stored in the coal sample data 120 may be provided by a standard laboratory such as Standard Laboratories of South Charleston, West Virginia, USA. The standard laboratory may provide coal characteristics that may include percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like. In an embodiment, the standard laboratory may test the coal as received or dry. In an embodiment, as received test may be as the raw coal is received without any treatment. In an embodiment, dry test may be the coal after processing to remove residual water. The standard laboratory may classify the coal using standards such as the ASTM Standards D 388 (Classification of Coals by Rank), the ASTM Standards D 2013 (Method of Preparing Coal Samples for Analysis), the ASTM Standards D 3180 (Standard Practice for Calculating Coal and Coke Analyses from As-Determined to Different Bases), the US Geological Survey Bulletin 1823 (Methods for Sampling and Inorganic Analysis of Coal), and the like.

[00255] In an embodiment, there may be at least one data record stored in the coal sample data for each coal shipment. There may be more than one data record if the coal shipment was subject to random or periodic checks during the mining, storage, or shipping process. In an embodiment, each test performed on a coal shipment may have the coal characteristics stored in the coal sample data 120. The coal characteristic test may be performed at the request of the coal mine 102, storage facility 112, the receiving facility, or the like.

[00256] The coal desired characteristics 122 may be a database of treated coal burn characteristics required by a certain coal use facility. The coal desired characteristics 122 may be a database, relational database, table, text file, XML file, RSS, flat file, or the like that may store the required burn characteristics of the coal for a

particular coal use facility, lhe coal desired characteristic 122 data may be stored on a computer device that may include a server, web server, desktop computer, laptop computer, handheld computer, PDA, flash memory, or the like.

[00257] In an embodiment, there may be at least one coal desired characteristic 122 data for a particular coal use facility. There may be coal desired characteristic 122 data for each type of coal received or stored by the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may receive or store a plurality of coal types that may include peat, brown coal, lignite, subbituminous, bituminous, and anthracite coal. Each type of coal may have different desired characteristics 122 for the coal use facility and the desired characteristics 122 may be based on the ability to modify the received or stored coal characteristics 110. In an embodiment, the received or stored coal characteristics may be stored in the coal sample data 120.

[00258] The coal desired characteristics 122 may be based on the capability parameters of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 such as system capacity, coal size, type of process chamber, conveyor system size, conveyor system flow rate, electromagnetic frequency, electromagnetic power level, electromagnetic power duration, power penetration depth into coal, and the like. These parameters types and values may vary depending on the input coal characteristics. In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may know which coal type may be used by the coal use facility and the proper parameters may be selected from the coal desired characteristics 122 to produce a treated coal for the coal use facility.

[00259] In an embodiment, a coal use facility, in order to meet efficiency or environmental requirements, may require certain coal operational parameters such as BTU/lb, sulfur percent, ash percent, metals percent, and the like. The coal desired characteristics 112 may be based on these parameters; maintaining these parameters may allow the coal use facility to meet the coal burning emission requirements.

[00260] In an embodiment, the coal desired characteristics 122 may target specific coal combustion properties such as BTU/lb, moisture, sulfur, ash, and the like. In an embodiment, the specific coal combustion properties may only be limited by the coal treatment facilities ability to measure the coal treatment properties. For example, if the solid fuel treatment facility 132 is only able to measure the moisture and sulfur

emissions then the target specific coal combustion properties may only contain moisture and sulfur targets.

[00261] A solid fuel treatment facility 132 (facility) may be used to modify the grade of coal by removing non-coal products such as moisture, sulfur, ash, water, hygrogen, hydroxyls, and the like that may be part of the coal. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may use microwave energy and/or other means to remove the non-coal products from the coal. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may include a plurality of devices, modules, facilities, computer devices, and the like for the handling, movement, treatment of the coal. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be modular, scalable, portable, fixed, or the like.

[00262] In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be a modular facility with devices, modules, facilities, computer devices, and the like designed to be complete individual units that may be associated to each other in a predetermined manner or non-predetermined manner.

[00263] In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be scalable for both continuous flow and batch processes. For continuous flow, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may scale inputs, treatment chambers, outputs, and the like to match the volume required for a particular installation. For example, an electric generation facility may require a higher volume of treated coal than a metallurgic facility and therefore the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be scaled to process the required volume of coal. The continuous flow processing of coal may include a chamber with a belt for moving the coal through certain processes. The chamber and belt systems may be scaled to provide the required volume per time for the installation.

[00264] In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may use a batch process and the batch treatment chamber, inputs, outputs, and the like may be scaled for the volume of coal that is required to be treated. The batch processing of coal may include an enclosed chamber that may treat a certain amount of coal in each cycle.

[00265] The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be portable with the ability to be moved between a plurality of installations or to a plurality of locations within an installation. For example, a single enterprise may have a plurality of installations that may need treated coal and may own a single solid fuel treatment facility 132 to treat the

coal. The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may spend a certain amount ot time at each enterprise installation to provide a stockpile of treated coal before moving to the next enterprise installation. In another example, a storage facility 112 may have a single solid fuel treatment facility 132 that is moved between a plurality of locations within a storage facility 112 to treat a plurality of coal types that may be stored at the storage facility 112. In an embodiment, by being portable, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may also be modular to allow for the facility 132 to be easily relocated.

[00266] The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be a fixed structure that remains in place at a certain installation. In an embodiment, the installation may require a volume of treated coal that requires the solid fuel treatment facility 132 to produce a continuous flow of treated coal. For example, a power generation facility may require a continuous volume of treated coal that may require a dedicated solid fuel treatment facility 132.

[00267] In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be in-line or off-line to an installation. A solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be in-line with an installation to provide a continuous flow of treated coal to a process within the coal use facility. For example, a power generation installation may have a solid fuel treatment facility 132 directly feeding the boilers to produce steam. A solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be off-line from an installation by treating coal with the output to at least one storage location. For example, a power generation installation may have a solid fuel treatment facility 132 stockpiling different types of coal as it is treated. The treated coal may then be fed onto a conveyor belt 300 system to the power generation installation as needed.

[00268] The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may include a plurality of devices, modules, facilities, computer devices, and the like such as a parameter generation facility 128, an intake facility 124, a monitoring facility 134, a gas generation facility 152, an anti ignition facility 154, a disposal facility 158, a treatment facility 160, a containment facility 162, a belt facility 130, a cooling facility 164, an out-take facility 168, and a testing facility 170.

[00269] The parameter generation facility 128 may be a computer device such as a server, web server, desktop computer, laptop computer, handheld computer, PDA,

Hash memory, or the like, lhe parameter generation facility 128 may generate and provide the operational parameters to the solid fuel treatment facility 132 for the treatment of the received or stored coal. The parameter generation facility 128 may be able to calculate and store the operational parameters for the facility. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may use data from both the coal sample data 120 and coal desired characteristics 122 to generate the operational parameters. In an embodiment, the coal sample data 120 and coal desired characteristic 122 information may be available by a LAN, WAN, P2P, CD, DVD, flash memory, or the like.

[00270] In an embodiment, the coal to be treated by the facility 132 may be identified by the solid fuel treatment facility 132 operator. In an embodiment, the coal may be identified by type, batch number, test number, identification number, or the like. The parameter generation facility 128 may have access to the coal test information stored in the coal sample data 120 and the coal desired characteristics 122 data for the identified coal. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may retrieve the received or stored test data of the coal from the coal sample data 120. In an embodiment, parameter generation facility 128 may retrieve the desired treated coal characteristics from the coal desired characteristics 122. In an embodiment, there may be at least one set of desired treated coal characteristics for each received or stored coal test data. In a case where there may be more than one set of data available for the coal test data and the desired coal characteristics, the parameter generation facility may average the data, use the latest data, use the first data, use a statistical value of the data, or the like.

[00271] In an embodiment, based on the coal test information and the desired treated coal characteristics, the parameter generation facility may determine the starting operational parameters for the facility. The operational parameters may be used to set the parameters of the various devices and facilities of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 to produce the desired coal characteristics. The parameter generation facility 128 determined parameters may include belt speed, volume of coal per time period, microwave frequency, microwave power, coal surface temperature, sensor basic readings, air flow rates, inert gas use, intake rates, outtake rates, preheat temperatures, preheat time, cool down rates, and the like. In an embodiment, all parameters that may be

required by the facility to treat the desired coal may be determined by the parameter generation facility.

[00272] In an embodiment, the microwave frequency parameters may have a plurality of settings that may include a single frequency, a phased frequency (e.g. transitioning from one frequency to a second frequency), frequencies for a plurality of microwaves, continuous frequency, pulsed frequency, pulsed frequency duty cycle, and the like.

[00273] In an embodiment, the microwave power parameters may have a plurality of settings that may include continuous power, pulsed power, phased power (e.g. transitioning from one power to a second power), power for a plurality of microwaves, and the like.

[00274] In an embodiment, depending on the coal type and the non-coal products to be removed from the coal, the coal surface temperature may be monitored. The parameter generation facility 128 may determine the coal surface temperature that is to be monitored during the coal treatment. In an embodiment, different coal surface temperatures may be required at different times in the coal treatment process to remove the non-coal products. For example, one temperature may be required to remove moisture from the coal where a second temperature may be required to remove the sulfur from the coal. Therefore, the parameter generation facility may determine a plurality of coal surface temperatures to be monitored during the coal treatment process. In an embodiment, the various coal surface temperature parameters may be provided to a sensor facility, the sensed temperatures may range from ambient to 250 degrees C. In an embodiment, the coal may be heated to certain interior and surface temperatures because of the heating of the non-coal products by the microwave energy of the microwave system 148.

[00275] The intake facility 124 may receive coal into the solid fuel treatment facility 132 from a coal mine 102 or coal storage facility 112, the coal storage facility 112 may be on the same site as the solid fuel treatment facility 132 or may be a remote coal storage facility 112. The intake facility 124 may include a dust collection facility, a sizing and sorting facility, an input section, a transition section, and adapter section, and the like. In an embodiment, the intake facility may control the coal volume that enters

the belt 130 tor treatment, tor example, the intake tacility may be able to control the volume of coal passing through it by restricting or opening a door, the speed of an input auger, or the like.

[00276] Coal may be provided to the intake facility 124 by a conveyor belt 300 system, truck, front loader, back loader, and the like.

[00277] In an embodiment, the action of inputting the coal into the intake facility 124 may create an unacceptable amount of coal dust, therefore a dust collection facility may be provided. In an embodiment, the coal dust may be collected into containers and removed from the intake facility.

[00278] The solid fuel treatment facility 132 may treat coal more efficiently if a consistent sized coal is provided to the belt 130; a consistent coal size may optimize the microwave heating of the coal. The intake facility 124 may sort or size the incoming coal into a plurality of sizes. In an embodiment, there may a plurality of belts to process coal of different sizes. The coal may be sorted using a sorting grate, different height doors to divert coal to another belt, or the like.

[00279] In an embodiment, the intake facility 124 may move coal from the input source to the belt 130 using a plurality of sections that may include an input section, a transition section, an adapter section, and the like. In an embodiment, the input section may receive the raw coal into the intake facility; this section may be large enough to provide a buffer of coal to prevent coal overflow or running out of coal. In an embodiment, the transition section may be a channel or duct to move the coal from the input section to the adapter section; this section may be tapered to properly fit differing sizes of the input and adapter sections. In an embodiment, the adapter section may move the coal from the transition section to the processing belt 130; the exit of this section may be the same size as the belt.

[00280] In an embodiment, if there is coal sorting or sizing, there may be more than one input section, transition section, and adapter section.

[00281] The monitoring facility 134 may monitor a plurality of facilities, systems, and sensors of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The monitoring facility 134 may receive and provide information to sensors, controllers, treatment facilities, and the like. In an embodiment, the monitor facility may make in-process adjustments to the coal

treatment process based on the input trom various sensors and facilities, tor example, the monitor may receive information from a moisture sensor and a weight sensor to determine if the correct amount of moisture is being removed from the coal; an operation parameter may be adjusted based on the information.

[00282] In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may change the facility operational parameters to adjust the treating of the coal in the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, the changes to the operational parameters may be provided to other facilities that may include a belt controller 144, a treatment facility 160, a containment facility 162, a feedback facility 174, a anti ignition facility 154, or the like.

[00283] In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may contain a computer device such as a server, web server, desktop computer, laptop computer, handheld computer, PDA, flash memory, or the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may communicate with the various facilities and sensors using a LAN, WAN, P2P, CD, DVD, flash memory, or the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility may use an algorithm to determine the changes in the operational parameters of the solid fuel treatment facility 132.

[00284] An anti-ignition facility 154 may be a source of gases to prevent the ignition of the coal during the coal treatment process. Because of the heating of the non- coal products, the coal treatment process may heat the coal to temperatures close to the coal ignition temperatures in order to remove non-coal products. To prevent the premature ignition of the coal during the coal treatment process, inert gases may be used to supply an inert gas atmosphere into the coal treatment chamber. Inert gases include nitrogen, argon, helium, neon, krypton, xenon, and radon. Nitrogen and argon may be the most common inert gases used for providing non-combustion gas atmospheres.

[00285] The inert gases may be supplied to the anti-ignition facility 154 by pipeline, truck/tanker, on-site gas generation, or the like. In and embodiment, if a truck/tanker supply system is used, the gas supply may be provided by the truck/tanker into an on-site gas storage tank or the truck may leave the tanker trailer to be used as a temporary gas storage tank.

[00286] In an embodiment, the inert gas trom the anti-ignition facility 154 may be used in conjunction with an air atmosphere or may be the entire atmosphere in the coal treatment chamber.

[00287] To supply the anti-ignition facility 154 with nitrogen, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may use an on-site nitrogen generation facility 152 to generate the required nitrogen for the coal treatment chamber. In an embodiment, nitrogen may be generated using a commercially available pressure swing absorption (PSA) process. The gas generation facility may be properly sized to generate the required volume of nitrogen for the solid fuel treatment facility 132.

[00288] The power-in 180 may be an electrical power connection to a power grid that may be used to power the solid fuel treatment facility 132; the solid fuel treatment facility 132 power requirements may include the microwave system 148. The power-in may be from a power grid that is external to the installation or may be from a power grid internal to the installation if the installation is a power generation facility.

[00289] A high voltage input transmission facility 182 may provide the proper power stepping to supply the proper power levels required by the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The high voltage input transmission facility may receive power in 180 at a very high voltage that needs to be stepped down to be used in the facility 182. In an embodiment, the high voltage input transmission facility 182 may include the required components and devices to step the supplied power to the proper power level for the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The high voltage input transmission facility may provide the transmission lines into the solid fuel treatment facility 132 to connect the solid fuel treatment facility 132 to the power-in 180.

[00290] A belt facility 130 may transport the coal through the coal treatment process for the removal of non-coal products; the transport of the coal may be a continuous feed. The belt facility 130 may receive the coal from the intake facility 124, transport the coal through at least one coal treatment process, and deliver the treated coal to a cooling facility 164. In an embodiment, the belt facility 130 may include a transportation facility such as a conveyor, a plurality of individual coal holding buckets, or other holding device to move coal through the at least one coal treatment process. The

transportation facility may be made ot a material that is designed tor the temperatures ot the treated coal such as metal, high temperature plastic, or the like.

[00291] The belt facility 130 may contain a plurality of facilities and systems that may include a preheat facility 138, parameter control system 140, sensor system 142, removal system 150, controller 144, microwave/radio wave system 148, and the like. All of the individual facilities and systems may be coordinated to process the coal during the treatment process by using the operational parameters of the parameter generation facility 128 and/or monitoring facility 134. The belt facility 130 may be able to adjust operational parameters during the coal treatment process; the adjustment of operational parameters may be done manually by an operator that is monitoring the process or automatically in real time by a controller 144.

[00292] In an embodiment, the belt facility 130 may be an enclosure around the transportation facility; the enclosure may be considered a chamber. In an embodiment, the chamber may contain the coal treatment processes, chamber gas environment, sensors, non-coal product removal systems 150, dust containment, and the like. The chamber may support all of the inputs and outputs of the coal treatment process such as gas environment inputs, non-coal product outputs, coal dust output, coal input, coal output, and the like.

[00293] In an embodiment, the transportation facility may be capable of variable speeds in response to operational parameters. For example, the transportation facility may run at a slower speed if a large volume of coal is processed at once or if the coal is a lesser type of coal (e.g. peat) that contains large percentages of non-coal products. The transportation facility may run slower to allow more time under the microwave generators. The transportation facility may move at a constant speed or may vary the speed at different locations of the process. For example, the transportation facility may move slowly at the microwave generators but quickly between the microwave generators. Coal may be place on the transportation facility such that there are spaces between the coal, this may allow for the transportation facility to move the coal through the coal treatment processes in coordinated stages. For example, the coal may be spaced at the same distance as the microwave generators, this may allow the coal to be staged under each of the microwave generators during the process.

[00294] In an embodiment, the transportation facility movement and speed may be coordinated to the operation of the microwave generators. The transportation facility may speed up or slow down depending on the operation of the microwave generators.

[00295] In an embodiment, the transportation facility operation may be controlled by the operational parameters determined by the parameter generation facility 128 and the monitored or revised operational parameters of the monitoring facility 134.

[00296] A controller 144 may be a computer device that may apply the operational parameters from the parameter generation facility 128 and monitoring facility 134 to the coal treatment processes. In an embodiment, the controller 144 may contain a computer device such as a server, web server, desktop computer, laptop computer, handheld computer, PDA, flash memory, or the like. In an embodiment, the controller 144 may communicate with the various facilities and sensors using a LAN, WAN, P2P, CD, DVD, flash memory, or the like. In an embodiment, the location of the controller 144 in relation to the coal treatment chamber may not be important; the controller 144 may be placed at the input, output, or anywhere along the coal treatment chamber. If the controller 144 is to be supervised or controlled by an operator, the controller may be placed at a location to allow the operator to view a critical part of the coal treatment process or the coal treatment process sensors.

[00297] In an embodiment, the controller 144 may apply the operational parameters to at least the transportation facility, airflow control, inert gas, microwave frequency, microwave power, preheat temperatures, and the like.

[00298] In an embodiment, the controller 144 may control the frequency of at least one microwave system 148. The microwave system 148 may be controlled to provide a single frequency or a pulsed frequency. If there are more than one microwave systems 148 in the belt facility 130, the controller 144 may provide operational parameters to the more than one microwave facility 148; the more than one microwave facility may operate at different frequencies.

[00299] In an embodiment, the controller 144 may control the power of at least one microwave system 148. The microwave system 148 may be controlled to provide a single power or a pulsed power. If there are more than one microwave systems

148 in the belt facility 130, the controller 144 may provide operational parameters to the more than one microwave facility 148; the more than one microwave facility may operate at different power.

[00300] In an embodiment, the controller 144 may control the belt facility 130 processing environment that may include airflow, inert gas flow, hydrogen flow, positive pressure, negative pressure, vacuum levels, and the like. The air flow in the belt facility 130 may include providing drying air, inert gases, hydrogen, and pressure changes to control released gases from the coal. In an embodiment, dry air may be used to aid in the moisture reduction of the coal in the belt facility. In an embodiment, inert gas may be used to inhibit coal ignition during high coal temperatures; inert gases may also be used to prevent other oxidation processes. In an embodiment, hydrogen may be used during the sulfur reduction process. In an embodiment, pressures in the belt facility 130 may be used to remove non-coal products as they are released as gases from the coal.

[00301] In an embodiment, the controller 144 may be a commercially available machine controller or may be a custom designed controller for the belt facility 130. In an embodiment, the controller may receive operational status feedback from the systems and facilities of the belt facility 130. The feedback may be the current settings, the actual running parameters, percentage of capacity, and the like; the feedback may be viewable on the controller 144 or any computer device associated with the controller 144.

[00302] In an embodiment, the controller may have override controls that may allow an operator to manually change the operational parameters of at least one coal treatment process. The manual changing of the operational parameters may be considered an override or complete manual control of the coal treatment processes.

[00303] In embodiments, the processing time (over the course of which the coal may be subject to the microwaves) is typically between 5 seconds to 45 minutes, depending on the size and configuration of the belt facility 130, the microwave system 148 power available, and the volume of coal to be treated. Small volumes may require shorter processing times.

[00304] A preheat facility 138 may heat the coal prior to the coal reaching the microwave system 148. The preheat may be to heat the coal to remove external moisture from the coal. The removal of excess external moisture may make it easier for the

microwave systems 148 to remove the internal non-coal products by removing moisture that may absorb microwave energy.

[00305] In an embodiment, the coal may be preheated using thermal radiation, infrared radiation, or the like that may be powered by electricity, gas, oil, or the like.

[00306] In an embodiment, the preheat facility 138 may be internal to the belt facility 130 or may be external and prior to the belt facility 130.

[00307] In an embodiment, the preheat facility may use an air environment that may aid in the removal of moisture such as dry air. The air environment may flow through the preheat facility to aid in the drying of the coal.

[00308] In an embodiment, the preheat facility 138 may have a collection facility to collect the removed moisture.

[00309] A microwave/radio wave system (microwave system) 148 may provide electromagnetic wave energy to the coal in the belt facility 130 for the removal of non-coal products. Non-coal products may be water moisture, sulfur, ash, metals, water, hygrogen, hydroxyls, and the like. The non-coal products may be removed from the coal by heating the non-coal products using microwave energy to temperatures that release the non-coal products from the coal. The release may occur when there is a material phase change from a solid to a liquid, liquid to a gas, solid to gas, or other phase change that may allow the non-coal product to be released from the coal.

[00310] In an embodiment, different non-coal products may be released from the coal at different temperatures; the coal temperatures surface temperatures may range between 70 and 250 degrees C. In an embodiment, water moisture may release at the lower end of this scale while sulfur may release between 130 and 240 degrees C; ash may release between the water and sulfur temperatures and may be released with the water and/or the sulfur. In an embodiment, the coal may be heated to certain interior and surface temperatures because of the heating of the non-coal products by the microwave energy of the microwave system 148.

[00311] In an embodiment, the microwave system 148 electromagnetic energy may be created by devices such as a magnetron, klystron, gyrotron, or the like. In an embodiment, there may be at least one microwave system 148 in the belt facility 130. In

an embodiment, there may be more than one microwave systems 148 in the belt facility 130.

[00312] In belt facilities 130 where there are more than one microwave system 148, the microwave systems 148 may be in a parallel orientation, a serial orientation, or a parallel and serial combination orientation to the transportation system.

[00313] The parallel microwave system 148 orientation may have more than one microwave system 148 setup side-by-side on one side or both sides of the belt facility 130. In an embodiment, the more than one microwave system 148 may be grouped together and setup on both sides of the belt facility 130. For example, at a certain location along the belt facility 130 there may be N microwave systems 148 with N/2 on either side of the belt facility 130. This configuration may allow for more microwave power to be applied at a certain location on the belt facility, allow for applying microwave power at different levels within the certain location, allow the use of more than one smaller microwave systems to create the required power, allow the ramping up or down of microwave power at a certain location, allow for pulse microwave power, allow for continuous microwave power, allow for a combination of pulse and continuous microwave power, or the like. In an embodiment, the more than one parallel microwave systems 148 may be controlled independently or as a single unit.

[00314] It would be obvious to one skilled in the art that the parallel microwave systems 148 may be controlled to provide microwave energy in a number of powers, frequencies, combination of powers, or combinations of frequencies to meet the requirement of treating coal.

[00315] The serial microwave system 148 orientation may have more than one microwave system 148 set up along the length of the belt facility 130. In an embodiment, each individual microwave system 148 setup may be considered a station or process element of the total coal treatment process. In an embodiment, there may be more than one single or group of microwave systems 148 at more than one location along the length of the belt facility 130. There may be a distance between the serial microwave systems 148 that may allow other processes to be performed between the serial microwave systems 148. The serial microwave systems 148 may allow for different microwave frequencies to be applied at different locations, different microwave power to be applied

at different locations, ditterent microwave duty cycles (pulsed or continuous) to be applied at different locations, or the like.

[00316] In an embodiment, the distance between microwave systems 148 may allow other processes to be preformed such as non-coal product removal, coal cooling, a location for non-coal products to complete the release process, coal treatment, coal weighting, non-coal product release sensing, or the like.

[00317] In an embodiment, the more than one serial microwave system 148 may have redundant single or group microwave systems that may be able to repeat a particular treatment process if required. For example, one microwave station may apply microwave power to remove water moisture from the coal followed by a coal weigh station to determine the amount of water moisture removed. Depending on the coal weight, it may be determined that there is still water moisture remaining in the coal, a redundant microwave system 148 may be the next location to reapply microwave power to remove the remaining water moisture. In an embodiment, the redundant microwave system 148 may or may not be used to further process the coal. In an embodiment, the redundant microwave system 148 may repeat the same process as the previous microwave system 148 or may be used for a different process then the previous microwave system 148.

[00318] In another example, water moisture sensors may determine that water moisture is still being released from the coal and a second redundant microwave process may be applied to the coal. In an embodiment, the controller may make the determination if the microwave process is to be repeated.

[00319] In an embodiment, the microwave system 148 power may be pulsed or continuous. To regulate the microwave energy applied to the coal, the microwave energy output may be pulsed at a regular time interval at a constant frequency. In an embodiment, the microwave power per source may be at least 15 kW at a frequency of 928 MHz or lower and in other embodiments may be at least 75 kW at a frequency of 902 MHz or more.

[00320] In an embodiment, lower frequencies of microwave energy may penetrate deeper into the coal than do higher frequencies. A microwave system 148 may

generate a frequency output between IUU MHz and 2U UHz. Other frequencies ot wave energy may be used in accordance with embodiments of the invention.

[00321] As previously discussed, the microwave systems 148 may be setup as coordinated stages. For example, the coal on the belt facility 130 may be spaced at the same distance as the microwave systems 148, this may allow the coal to be staged under each of the microwave generators during the coal treatment process. In an embodiment, there may be coal treatment processing advantages to varying the speed of the belt at each microwave system 148 station for the processing of the coal. In an embodiment, this may be a method of batch processing on a continuous belt facility 130.

[00322] In embodiments, the processing time (over the course of which the coal may be subject to the microwaves) is typically between 5 seconds to 45 minutes, depending on the size and configuration of the belt facility 130, the microwave system 148 power available, and the volume of coal to be treated. Small volumes may require shorter processing times.

[00323] In an embodiment, at 100% efficiency, 1 kW of electromagnetic energy can evaporate 3.05 lbs of water per hour at ambient temperature. For well-designed electromagnetic- radiation systems, 98% of that energy may be absorbed and converted to heat. For example, 1 kW of applied electromagnetic energy requires approximately 1.15 kW of electricity and evaporates 2.989 lbs of water; this may require 61.6 kW of electricity per 160 pounds of moisture removed.

[00324] A parameter control facility 140 may receive sensor information and provide the sensor information as a feedback to the controller 144. In an embodiment, the parameter control facility 140 may contain a computer device such as a server, web server, desktop computer, laptop computer, handheld computer, PDA, flash memory, or the like. In an embodiment, the parameter control facility 140 may communicate with the various facilities and sensors using a LAN, WAN, P2P, CD, DVD, flash memory, or the like. In an embodiment, the parameter control facility 140 may contain an interface to receive the signals from the various solid fuel treatment facility 132 sensors. The interface may be able to receive either analog or digital signal data from the sensors. For analog data, the parameter control facility 140 interface may use an analog to digital converter (ADC) to convert the analog signal to digital data for data storage.

[00325] In an embodiment, the parameter control facility 140 may interface with sensors that may include belt facility 130 air flow, belt speed, temperature, microwave power, microwave frequency, inert gas levels, moisture levels, ash levels, sulfur levels, or the like. The

temperatures measured may be both coal temperatures during processing or the chamber temperature; the chamber temperature may be an indication if there is a fire in the chamber.

[00326] In an embodiment, the parameter control facility 140 may contain internal memory such as RAM, CD, DVD, flash memory, and the like that may store the sensor readings. The parameter control facility 140 may store the sensor information, provide real time feedback to the controller 144, store sensor information and provide real time feedback to the controller, or other storing/feedback method. In an embodiment, the parameter control facility 140 may collect sensor readings and provide stored data feedback to the controller 144. The collected sensor readings may be used to provide the controller 144 historic average sensor readings, time period sensor readings, histograms of sensor readings over time, real time sensor readings, and the like.

[00327] In an embodiment, sensor data collected by the parameter control facility 140 may be viewable on the parameter control facility 140 or any computer device associated with the parameter control facility 144.

[00328] The belt facility 130 sensors 142 may provide coal treatment process data to the parameter control facility 140 and the controller 144. The data for the coal treatment process from sensors may include water vapor, ash, sulfur, microwave power, microwave frequency, coal surface temperature, coal weight, microwave emissions, airflow measurement, belt facility temperature, and the like. In an embodiment, the sensors may be analog or digital measurement devices.

[00329] In an embodiment, the water vapor of the belt facility 130 may be measured by a moisture analyzer. The moisture analyzer may be placed in relation to the microwave system 148 to measure the water vapor being released from the process coal. In an embodiment, the coal processing may continue until the measured level of water vapor has reached a predefined level. The water vapor levels may be measured as percent moisture, parts per million, parts per billion, or other vapor measuring scale.

[00330] In an embodiment, both ash and sulfur may be measured by a chemical signature level analyzer. There may be separate chemical signature level analyzers for the ash and the sulfur. In an embodiment, the coal processing may continue until the measured level of ash and sulfur have reached a predetermined level.

[00331] In an embodiment, the microwave system 148 power and frequency output may be measured as an actual level to be compared to the set levels.

IUU332] In an embodiment, the coal surface temperature may be measured by sensors such as infrared temperature sensors or thermometers. The temperature sensors may be place in relation to a coal treatment process to measure the coal surface temperature during and after coal treatment: the coal treatment process may be either heating or cooling. In an embodiment, the coal processing may continue until the measured coal surface temperature has reached a predefined level. In an embodiment, the coal may be heated to certain interior and surface temperatures because of the heating of the non-coal products by the microwave energy of the microwave system 148.

[00333] In an embodiment, the coal weight may be measured using commercially available scales. The coal weight may be used to determine the removal of non-coal products from the coal. In an embodiment, the coal may be measured before and after a treatment station to determine the reduced weight of the coal. The coal weight delta may be an indicator of the percentage of non-coal products that have been released from the coal. In an embodiment, the weights may be made in real time as the coal passes over the weight scale.

[00334] In an embodiment, microwave emissions from the belt facility 130 may be measured as a safety indicator. The microwave emissions sensor may be a standard available sensor. In an embodiment, there may be a safety or environmental reason to assure that microwave emissions beyond a predetermined level are not measured outside of the belt facility 130.

[00335] In an embodiment, the belt facility 130 actual air flow may be measured for comparison to the required air flow. Air flow may be measured as velocity, direction, pressure in, pressure out, and the like.

[00336] In an embodiment, the belt facility 130 chamber temperature may be measured with a standard temperature sensor. The chamber temperature may be measured as a safety feature to detect for a chamber file.

[00337] The removal system 150 may remove non-coal products from the belt facility 130 as the non-coal products are released from the treated coal. The non-coal products may be released from the coal as a gas or as a liquid. The removal system 150 may remove gases by air movement toward a collection duct where the gases may be collected and processed. The removal system 150 may use positive or negative air

pressures to remove gases lrom the belt facility 130. The positive pressure system may blow the gases to a collection area where the negative pressure system may pull the gases into a collection area. The removal system 150 may collect liquids at the bottom of the belt facility 130 in collecting areas.

[00338] In an embodiment, some non-coal products may be collected as both a gas and a liquid (e.g. water). In an embodiment, as the water vapor is released from the coal, some of the vapor may be captured by a gas removal system. Depending on the amount and rate of the water vapor removal from the coal, the water vapor may condense as liquid water on the walls of the belt facility 130. In an embodiment, the condensed water may be forced down the walls with a flow of air into the liquid collection areas.

[00339] In an embodiment, depending on the coal temperatures, sulfur may act similar to water moisture by being released as a gas or as a liquid.

[00340] In an embodiment, ash may be removed with either the water moisture or the sulfur.

[00341] In an embodiment, the gas collection may collect a single type gas or may collect a plurality of gases being released from the treated coal. Depending on the location within the belt facility and the process temperature of the coal, at least one gas may be released from the coal. Depending on the coal temperatures, the gases release in a certain location of the belt facility may be a particular type of gas. For example, at a location where the coal has a temperature between 70 and 100 degrees C the gases may be substantially water vapor where coal temperatures between 160 and 240 degrees C the gases may be substantially sulfur vapor.

[00342] In an embodiment, the liquid collection may collect a single type liquid or may collect a plurality of liquids being released from the treated coal. Depending on the location within the belt facility and the process temperature of the coal, at least one liquid may be released from the coal.

[00343] The containment facility 162 may receive the gas and liquid non-coal products from the belt facility 130 removal system 150. The removed non-coal products may include water, sulfur, coal dust, ash, hygrogen, hydroxyls, and the like.

[00344] In an embodiment, the containment facility 162 may have liquid containment tanks for holding liquids removed from the belt facility 130; there may be a

plurality ol liquid containment tanks. In an embodiment, a liquid containment tank may contain more than one type of liquid depending on where the liquid was removed from the belt facility. In an embodiment, there may be different liquid containment tanks located at different locations of the belt facility 130 for collection of liquids.

[00345] In an embodiment, the containment facility 162 may have gas containment tanks for holding gases removed from the belt facility 130; there may be a plurality of gas containment tanks. In an embodiment, a gas containment tank may contain more than one type of gas depending on where the gas was removed from the belt facility. In an embodiment, there may be different gas containment tanks located at different locations of the belt facility 130 for collection of gases.

[00346] In an embodiment, the containment facility may also include the shielding to contain the microwave energy in the belt facility 130.

[00347] The treatment facility 160 may receive the gas and liquids of the containment facility 162 to separate the gases and liquids into individual gases and liquids for disposal.

[00348] In an embodiment, the non-coal products may be separated using process that may include sedimentation, flocculation, centrifugation, filtration, distillation, chromatography, electrophoresis, extraction, liquid-liquid extraction, precipitation, fractional freezing, sieving, winnowing, or the like.

[00349] In an embodiment, after the gases and liquids have been separated, the gases and liquids may be stored in individual containers or tanks.

[00350] The disposal facility 158 may receive individualized gases and liquids from the treatment facility 160 for disposal. In an embodiment, disposal of the gases and liquids may include disposing in a landfill, selling gases and liquids to other enterprises, release of non-harmful gases (e.g. water vapor), or the like. In an embodiment, the other enterprises may be companies that may use the individualized gases or liquids directly or may be an enterprise that may further refine the gases or liquids for resale.

[00351] The disposal facility 158 may be associated with a shipping facility for removal of the individualized gases and liquids by rail, truck, pipeline, or the like.

[00352] The disposal facility 158 may include temporary storage tanks that may permit the temporary storage of gases and liquids until there is a volume that is

commercially economical to ship. In an embodiment, the temporary storage tanks may be local or remotely located.

[00353] A cooling facility 164 may be located after the belt facility 130 and may provide a controlled atmosphere for the controlled cooling of the treated coal. In an embodiment, the cooling facility may be incorporated into the belt facility 130 or may be a separate facility at the exit of the belt facility; Fig. 1 shows the cooling facility as a separate facility.

[00354] In an embodiment, the cooling facility 164 may control the cooling rate of the coal and to control the atmosphere to prevent re-absorption of moisture as the coal cools from the treatment process. In an embodiment, the cooling facility 164 may have a transportation system that may consist of a conveyor belt 300, a plurality of individual containers, or the like surrounded by an enclosure that may create a cooling chamber.

[00355] In an embodiment the controlled cooling process may include progressive cooler air to ambient temperature, natural cooling in a controlled atmosphere, cooling with forced dry air, cooling with forced inert gases, or the like. In an embodiment, the transportation system may be able to vary speed to maintain the proper cooling rate. In an embodiment, there may be a sensor system to monitor the gases, coal temperature, belt speed, and the like. The sensor data may be received at a cooling facility 164 controller or may use the belt 130 controller 144; the controller may provide the operational parameters of the cooling facility 164.

[00356] In an embodiment, the controlled atmosphere may be dry air or an inert gas.

[00357] An out-take facility 168 may move the final cooled treated coal to a location away from the belt facility 130. In an embodiment, the out-take facility 168 may include a transportation system, a dust collection facility, an input section, a transition section, and adapter section, and the like. In an embodiment, the out-take facility may provide finished coal to a bin, rail car, storage location, directly to a processing facility, or the like.

[00358] In an embodiment, the input section may receive the treated coal trom the cooling facility and the input end may be sized to fit the incoming cooling facility 164 transportation system and the exit end may be sized to fit the transition section.

[00359] In an embodiment, the transition section may be a channel to guide the treated coal to the adapter; the transition section may contain a transportation system.

[00360] In an embodiment, the adapter section may be sized to fit the transition section and the required shape for the output location (e.g. rail car, storage, direct to a facility).

[00361] In an embodiment, the out-take facility 168 may output to at least one location. In an embodiment, there may be more than one out-take facility 168 per belt facility 130 to feed more than one output location.

[00362] A testing facility 170 may take samples of the final treated coal and perform standard test on the coal sample to determine if the final treated coal characteristics match the coal desired characteristics 122. In an embodiment, the testing facility may be local or remote to the facility 132.

[00363] In an embodiment, the standard test may be standards such as the ASTM Standards D 388 (Classification of Coals by Rank), the ASTM Standards D 2013 (Method of Preparing Coal Samples for Analysis), the ASTM Standards D 3180 (Standard Practice for Calculating Coal and Coke Analyses from As-Determined to Different Bases), the US Geological Survey Bulletin 1823 (Methods for Sampling and Inorganic Analysis of Coal), and the like. The standard test may provide coal characteristics that may include percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like.

[00364] In an embodiment, there may be periodic samples taken from the final treated coal, there may be a first sample and a last sample, there may be one sample, or the like. In an embodiment, all of the selected samples may not be tested, a statistic sample rate may be used of all the samples from the final treated coal with additional tests based on the results of the statistic samples. A person knowledgeable in the art of

statistical sampling would understand the ditterent parameters ot how many samples to test and back tracking to other samples depending on the test outcome.

[00365] In an embodiment, the final treated coal may not be used until a coal sample test indicates acceptable properties of the final treated coal.

[00366] The coal output parameters 172 may be a storage location for the classification 110 information for the final treated coal. The coal output parameters 172 may be a database, relational database, table, text file, XML file, RSS, flat file, or the like that may store the characteristics of the final treated coal. The data may be stored on a computer device that may include a server, web server, desktop computer, laptop computer, handheld computer, PDA, flash memory, or the like. In an embodiment, the final treated coal characteristics data may be transmitted to the coal output parameters 172 on a paper hardcopy, electronic format, database, or the like. If the final treated coal characteristics are shipped with paper hardcopy, the characteristic data may be input into the appropriate coal output parameters 172 format on the computer device. In an embodiment, the final treated coal characteristics data may be sent by email, FTP, Internet connection, WAN, LAN, P2P, or the like from a testing facility 170. The coal output parameters 172 may be accessible over a network that may include the Internet.

[00367] The testing facility 170 may provide coal characteristics that may include percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like.

[00368] In an embodiment, there may be at least one data record stored in the coal output parameters 172 for each final treated coal. There may be more than one data record if the final treated coal was subject to random or periodic checks during the treatment process. In an embodiment, each test performed on a final treated coal may have the coal characteristics stored in the coal output parameters 172.

[00369] The feedback facility 174 may compare the final treated coal characteristics with the coal desired characteristics 122 to determine if the final treated coal is within tolerance of the desired characteristics. The feedback facility may be a

computer device that may include a server, web server, desktop computer, laptop computer, handheld computer, PDA, flash memory, or the like.

[00370] In an embodiment, the feedback facility 174 may maintain tolerances of coal characteristics that may be considered acceptable final treated coal. The tolerances may be stored a database, relational database, table, text file, XML file, RSS, flat file, or the like that may store the characteristics of the final treated coal. In an embodiment, the feedback facility 174 may be connected to a network that may include an Internet connection, a WAN, a LAN, a P2P, or the like. In an embodiment, the feedback facility 174 may compare the final treated coal characteristics with the desired coal characteristics 122 to determine acceptability of the final treated coal.

[00371] In an embodiment, if the final treated coal is outside of the acceptable tolerances a modification may be made to the operational parameters by the monitoring facility 134.

[00372] In an embodiment, if the final treated coal is outside of the acceptable tolerances a report may be generated; the report may be available to any computer device associated with the feedback facility network.

[00373] The pricing/transactional facility (transactional facility) 178 may determine the final price of the final treated coal. The transactional facility 178 may be a computer device that may include a server, web server, desktop computer, laptop computer, handheld computer, PDA, flash memory, or the like. In an embodiment, the transactional facility 178 may be connected to a network that may include an Internet connection, a WAN, a LAN, a P2P, or the like.

[00374] In an embodiment, the transactional facility may receive the income raw coal cost and operational cost of the facility 132 to determine the final coast of the treated coal. Operational cost of the facility 132 may be collected during the processing of the treated coal; the coal may be identified by type, batch number, test number, identification number, or the like. In an embodiment, the operational cost of the facility 132 may be recorded for all processing of the coal identification. The operational cost may include electricity cost, inert gases used, coal used, disposal fees, testing costs, and the like.

[00375] In an embodiment, a transactional report may be available to any computer device associated with the feedback facility network.

IUU376] Coal combustion 2UU involves burning coal at high temperatures in the presence of oxygen to produce light and heat. Coal must be heated to its ignition temperature before combustion occurs. The ignition temperature of coal is that of its fixed carbon content. The ignition temperatures of the volatile constituents of coal are higher than the ignition temperature of the fixed carbon. Gaseous products thus are distilled off during combustion. When combustion starts, the heat produced by the oxidation of the combustible carbon may, under proper conditions, maintain a high enough temperature to sustain the combustion. Direct coal combustion may be performed, for example, with fixed bed 22U or stoker combusters, pulverized coal combusters 222, fiuidized bed combusters 224 and the like.

[00377] Fixed bed 22U systems have been used on small coal combustion boilers for over a century. They use a lump-coal feed, with particle size ranging from about 1-5 cm. The coal is heated as it enters the furnace, so that moisture and volatile material are driven off. As the coal moves into the region where it will be ignited, the temperature rises in the coal bed. There are a number of different types, including static grates, underfeed stokers, chain grates, traveling grates and spreader stoker systems. Chain and traveling grate furnaces have similar characteristics. Coal lumps are fed onto a moving grate or chain, while air is drawn through the grate and through the bed of coal on top of it. In a spreader stoker, a high-speed rotor throws the coal into the furnace over a moving grate to distribute the fuel more evenly. Stoker furnaces are generally characterized by a flame temperature between 12UU-13UU degrees C and a fairly long residence time.

[00378] Combustion in a fixed bed 22U system is relatively uneven, so that there can be intermittent emissions of CO, NOx and volatiles during the combustion process. Combustion chemistry and temperatures may vary substantially across the combustion grate. The emission of SO2 will depend on the sulfur content of the feed coal. Residual ash may have a high carbon content (4-5%) because of the relatively inefficient combustion, and the restricted access of oxygen to the carbon content of the coal.

[00379] Pulverized coal combustion ("PCC") 222 is the most commonly used combustion method for coal- fired power plants 2U4. Before use, the coal is ground

(pulverized) to a line powder. The pulverized coal is blown with part ol the air lor combustion into the boiler through a series of burner nozzles. Secondary or tertiary air may also be added. Units operate at close to atmospheric pressure. Combustion takes place at temperatures between 1300-1700 degrees C, depending on coal rank. For bituminous coal, combustion temperatures are held between 1500-1700 degrees C. For lower rank coals, the range is 1300-1600 degrees C. The particle size of coal used in pulverized coal processes ranges from about 10-100 microns. Particle residence time is typically 1-5 seconds, and the particles must be sized so that they are completely burned during this time. Steam is generated by the process that may drive a steam generator and turbine for power generation 204.

[00380] Pulverized coal combustors 222 may be supplied with wall-fired or tangentially fired burners. Wall-fired burners are mounted on the walls of the combustor, while the tangentially fired burners are mounted on the corner, with the flame directed towards the center of the boiler, thereby imparting a swirling motion to the gases during combustion so that the air and fuel is mixed more effectively. Boilers may be termed either wet-bottom or dry-bottom, depending on whether the ash falls to the bottom as molten slag or is removed as a dry solid. A primary advantage of pulverized coal combustion 222 is the fine nature of the fly ash produced. In general, PCC 222 results in 65%-85% fly ash, with the remainder in coarser bottom ash (in dry bottom boilers) or boiler slag (wet bottom boilers).

[00381] Boilers using anthracite coal as a fuel may employ a downshot burner arrangement, whereby the coal-air mixture is sent down into a cone at the base of the boiler. This arrangement allows longer residence time that ensures more complete carbon burn. Another arrangement is called the cell burner, involving two or three circular burners combined into a single, vertical assembly that yields a compact, intense flame. The high temperature flame from this burner may result in more NOx formation, though, rendering this arrangement less advantageous.

[00382] Cyclone-fired boilers have been employed for coals with a low ash fusion temperature that would be otherwise difficult to use with PCC 222. A cyclone furnace has combustion chambers mounted outside the tapered main boiler. Primary combustion air carries the coal particles into the furnace, while secondary air is injected

tangentially into the cyclone, creating a strong swirl that throws the larger coal particles towards the furnace walls. Tertiary air enters directly into the central vortex of the cyclone to control the central vacuum and the position of the combustion zone within the furnace. Larger coal particles are trapped in the molten layer that covers the cyclone interior surface and then are recirculated for more complete burning. The smaller coal particles pass into the center of the vortex for burning. This system results in intense heat formation within the furnace, so that the coal is burned at extremely high temperatures. Combustion gases, residual char and fly ash pass into a boiler chamber for more complete burning. Molten ash flows by gravity to the bottom of the furnace for removal.

[00383] In a cyclone boiler, 80-90% of the ash leaves the bottom of the boiler as a molten slag, so that less fly ash passes through the heat transfer sections of the boiler to be emitted. These boilers run at high temperatures (from 1650 to over 2000 degrees C), and employ near-atmospheric pressure. The high temperatures result in high production of NOx, a major disadvantage to this boiler type. Cyclone-fired boilers use coals with certain key characteristics: volatile matter greater than 15% (dry basis), ash contents between 6-25% for bituminous coals or 4-25% for subbituminous coals, and a moisture content of less than 20% for bituminous and 30% for subbituminous coals. The ash must have particular slag viscosity characteristics; ash slag behavior is critical to the functioning of this boiler type. High moisture fuels may be burned in this type of boiler, but design variations are required.

[00384] Pulverized coal boilers 222 in the U.S. use subcritical or supercritical steam cycling. A supercritical steam cycle is one that operates above the water critical temperature (374 degrees F) and critical pressure (22.1 mPa), where the gas and liquid phases of water cease to exist. Subcritical systems typically achieve thermal efficiencies of 33-34%. Supercritical systems may achieve thermal efficiencies 3 to 5 percent higher than subcritical systems.

[00385] Increasing the thermal efficiency of coal combustion results in lower costs for power generation 204, because less fuel is needed. Increased thermal efficiency also reduces other emissions generated during combustion, such as those of SO2 and NOx. Older, smaller units burning lower rank coals have thermal efficiencies that may be as low as 30%. For larger plants, with subcritical steam boilers that burn higher

quality coals, thermal efficiencies may be in the region ot 35-36%. facilities using supercritical steam may achieve overall thermal efficiencies in the 43-45% range. Maximum efficiencies achievable with lower grade coals and lower rank coals may be less than what would be achieved with higher grade and higher rank coals. For example, maximum efficiencies expected in new lignite-fired plants (found, for example, in Europe) may be around 42%, while equivalent new bituminous coal plants may achieve about 45% maximum thermal efficiency. Supercritical steam plants using bituminous coals and other optimal construction materials may yield net thermal efficiencies of 45- 47%.

[00386] Fluidized bed combustion ("FBC") 224 mixes coal with a sorbent such as limestone and fluidizes the mixture during the combustion process to allow complete combustion and removal of sulfur gases. "Fluidization" refers to the condition in which solid materials are given free- flowing fluid- like behavior. As a gas is passed upward through a bed of solid particles, the flow of gas produces forces which tend to separate the particles from one another. In fluidized bed combustion, coal is burned in a bed of hot incombustible particles suspended by an upward flow of fluidizing gas.

[00387] FBC 224 systems are used mainly with subcritical steam turbines. Atmospheric pressure FBC 224 systems may be bubbling or circulating. Pressurized FBC 224 systems, presently in earlier stages of development, mainly use bubbling beds and may produce power in a combined cycle with a gas and steam turbine. FBC 224 at atmospheric pressures may be useful with high-ash coals and/or those with variable characteristics. Relatively coarse coal particles, around 3 mm in size, may be used. Combustion takes place at temperatures between 800-900 degrees C, substantially below the threshold for forming NOx, so that these systems result in lower NOx emissions than PCC 222 systems.

[00388] Bubbling beds have a low fluidizing velocity, so that the coal particles are held in a bed that is about 1 mm deep with an identifiable surface. As the coal particles are burned away and become smaller, they ultimately are carried off with the coal gases to be removed as fly ash. Circulating beds use a higher fluidizing velocity, so that coal particles are suspended in the flue gases and pass through the main combustion chamber into a cyclone. The larger coal particles are extracted from the gases and are

recycled into the combustion chamber. Individual particles may recycle between 1U-5U times, depending on their combustion characteristics. Combustion conditions are relatively uniform throughout the combustor and there is a great deal of particle mixing. Even though the coal solids are distributed throughout the unit, a dense bed is required in the lower furnace to mix the fuel during combustion. For a bed burning bituminous coal, the carbon content of the bed is around 1%, with the rest made of ash and other minerals.

[00389] Circulating FBC 224 systems may be designed for a particular type of coal. These systems are particularly useful for low grade, high ash coals which are difficult to pulverize finely and which may have variable combustion characteristics. These systems are also useful for co-firing coal with other fuels such as biomass or waste. Once a unit is built, it will operate most efficiently with the fuel it was designed for. A variety of designs may be employed. Thermal efficiency is generally somewhat lower than for equivalent PCC systems. Use of a low grade coal with variable characteristics may lower the thermal efficiency even more.

[00390] FBC 224 in pressurized systems may be useful for low grade coals and for those with variable characteristics. In a pressurized system, the combustor and the gas cyclones are all enclosed in a pressure vessel, with the coal and sorbent fed into the system across the pressure boundary and the ash removed across the pressure boundary. When hard coal is used, the coal and the limestone can be mixed together with 25% water and fed into the system as a paste. The system operates at pressures of 1-1.5 MPa with combustion temperatures between 800-900 degrees C. The combustion heats steam, like a conventional boiler, and also may produce hot gas to drive a gas turbine. Pressurized units are designed to have a thermal efficiency of over 40%, with low emissions. Future generations of pressurized FBC systems may include improvements that would produce thermal efficiencies greater than 50%.

[00391] Some bituminous coals are themselves suitable for smelting iron and steel without prior coking. Their suitability for this purpose depends on certain properties of the coal, including fusibility, and a combination of other factors including a high fixed carbon content, low ash (<5%), low sulfur, and low calcite (CaCCβ) content. Metallurgical coal may be worth 15-50% more than thermal coal.

[00392] Gasification 230 involves the conversion ol coal to a combustible gas, volatile materials, char and mineral residues (ash/slag). A gasification 230 system converts a hydrocarbon fuel material like coal into its gaseous components by applying heat under pressure, generally in the presence of steam. The device that carries out this process is called a gasifier. Gasification 230 differs from combustion because it takes place with limited air or oxygen available. Hence, only a small portion of the fuel burns completely. The fuel that burns provides the heat for the rest of the gasification 230 process. Instead of burning, most of the hydrocarbon feedstock (e.g., coal) is chemically broken down into a variety of other substances collectively termed "syngas." Syngas is primarily hydrogen, carbon monoxide and other gaseous compounds. The components of syngas vary, however, based on the type of feedstock used and the gasification conditions employed.

[00393] Leftover minerals in the feedstock do not gasify like the carbonaceous materials. The leftover minerals may be separated out and removed. Sulfur impurities in the coal may form hydrogen sulfide, from which sulfur or sulfuric acid may be produced. Because gasification takes place under reducing conditions, NOx typically does not form and ammonia forms instead. If oxygen is used instead of air during gasification 230, carbon dioxide is produced in a concentrated gas stream that may be sequestered and prevented from entering the atmosphere as a pollutant. Gasification 230 may be able to use coals that would be difficult to use in combustion facilities, such as those with high sulfur content or high ash content. Ash characteristics of coal used in a gasifier affect the efficiency of the process, both because they affect the formation of slag and they affect the deposition of solids within the syngas cooler or heat exchanger. At lower temperatures, such as those found in fixed-bed and fluidized gasifiers, tar formation can cause problems.

[00394] Three types of gasifier systems are available: fixed beds, fluidized beds and entrained flow. Fixed bed units, not normally used for power generation, use lump coal. Fluidized beds use 3-6mm size coal. Entrained flow units use pulverized coal. Entrained flow units run at higher operating temperatures (around 1600 degrees C) than fluidized bed systems (around 900 degrees C).

[00395] Gasiliers may run at atmospheric pressure or may be pressurized. With pressurized gasification, the feedstock coal must be inserted across a pressure barrier. Bulky and expensive lock hopper systems may be used to insert the coal, or the coal may be fed in as a water-based slurry. Byproduct streams must be depressurized to be removed across the pressure barrier. Internally, the heat exchangers and gas-cleaning units for the syngas must also be pressurized.

[00396] Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) 232 systems allow gasification processes to be used for power generation. In an IGCC system 232, the syngas produced during gasification is cleaned of impurities (hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, particulate matter, and the like) and is burned to drive a gas turbine. The exhaust gases from gasification are heat-exchanged with water to generate superheated steam that drives a steam turbine. Because two turbines are used in combination (a gas combustion turbine and a steam turbine), the system is called "combined cycle." Generally, the majority of the power (60-70%) comes from the gas turbine in this system. IGCC systems 232 generate power at greater thermal efficiency than coal combustion systems.

[00397] Syngas 234 may be transformed into a variety of other products. For example, its components like carbon monoxide and hydrogen may be used to produce a broad range of liquid or gaseous fuels or chemicals, using processes familiar in the art. As another example, the hydrogen produced during gasification may be used as fuel for fuel cells, or potentially for hydrogen turbines or hybrid fuel cell-turbine systems. The hydrogen that is separated from the gas stream may be also be used as a feedstock for refineries that use the hydrogen for producing upgraded petroleum products.

[00398] Syngas 234 may also be converted into a variety of hydrocarbons that may be used for fuels or for further processing. Syngas 234 may be condensed into light hydrocarbons using, for example, Fischer-Tropsch catalysts. The light hydrocarbons may then be further converted into gasoline or diesel fuel. Syngas 234 may also be converted into methanol, which may be used as a fuel, a fuel additive, or a building block for gasoline production.

[00399] Coke 238 is a solid carbonaceous residue derived from coal whose volatile components have been driven off by baking in an oven at high temperatures (as high as 1000 degrees C). At these temperatures, the fixed carbon and residual ash are

fused together, feedstock tor tormmg coke is typically low-ash, low-sultur bituminous coal. Coke may be used as a fuel during, for example, smelting iron in a blast furnace. Coke is also useful as a reducing agent during such processes. As byproducts of converting coal to coke, coal tar, ammonia, light oils and coal gas may be formed. Since the volatile components of coal are driven off during the coking process 238, coke is a desirable fuel for furnaces where conditions may not be suitable for burning coal itself. For example, coke may be burned with little or no smoke under combustion conditions that would cause a large amount of emissions if bituminous coal itself were used. The coal must meet certain stringent criteria regarding moisture content, ash content, sulfur content, volatile content, tar and plasticity, before it can be used as coking coal.

[00400] Amorphous pure carbon 238 may be obtained by heating coal to a temperature of about 650-980 degrees C in a limited-air environment so that complete combustion does not occur. Amorphous carbon 238 is a form of the carbon allotrope graphite consisting of microscopic carbon crystals. Amorphous carbon 238 thus obtained has a number of industrial uses. For example, graphite may be used for electrochemistry components, activated carbons are used for water and air purification, and carbon black may be used to reinforce tires.

[00401] The basic process of coke production 238 may be used to manufacture a hydrocarbon-containing 240 gas mixture that may be used as fuel ("town gas"). Town gas may include, for example, about 51% hydrogen, 15% carbon monoxide, 21% methane, 10% carbon dioxide and nitrogen, and about 3% other alkanes. Other processes, for example the Lurgi process and the Sabatier synthesis use lower quality coal to produce methane.

[00402] Liquefaction converts coal into liquid hydrocarbon 240 products that can be used as fuel. Coal may be liquefied using direct or indirect processes. Any process that converts coal to a hydrocarbon 240 fuel must add hydrogen to the hydrocarbons comprising coal. Four types of liquefaction methods are available: (1) pyro lysis and hydrocarbonization, wherein coal is heated in the absence of air or in the presence of hydrogen; (2) solvent extraction, wherein coal hydrocarbons are selectively dissolved from the coal mass and hydrogen is added; (3) catalytic liquefaction, wherein a catalyst effects the hydrogenation of the coal hydrocarbons; and (4) indirect liquefaction,

wherein carbon monoxide and hydrogen are combined in the presence ol a catalyst. As an example, the Fischer-Tropsch process is a catalyzed chemical reaction in which carbon monoxide and hydrogen are converted to various forms of liquid hydrocarbons 240. Substances produced by this process may include synthetic petroleum substitutes usable as lubrication oils or fuels.

[00403] As another example, low temperature carbonization may be used for manufacturing liquid hydrocarbons 240 from coal. In this process, coal is coked 238 at temperatures between 450 and 700 0 C (compared to 800 to 1000 0 C for metallurgical coke). These temperatures optimize the production of coal tars richer in lighter hydrocarbons 240 than normal coal tar. The coal tar is then further processed into fuels.

[00404] Coal combustion yields a variety of byproducts 242, including volatile hydrocarbons, ash, sulfur, carbon dioxide and water. Further processing of these byproducts may be carried out, with economic benefit.

[00405] Volatile matter includes those products, exclusive of moisture, that are given off as a gas or a vapor during heating. For coal, the percent volatile matter is determined by first heating the coal to 105 degrees to drive off the moisture, then heating the coal to 950 degrees C and measuring the weight loss. These substances include a mixture of short and long chain hydrocarbons plus other gases, including sulfur. Volatile matter thus is comprised of a mixture of gases, low boiling point organic compounds that condense into oils upon cooling, and tars. Volatile matter in coal increases with decreasing rank. Moreover, coals with high volatile matter content are highly reactive during combustion and ignite easily.

[00406] Coal ash, a waste product of coal combustion, is comprised of fly ash (the waste removed from smoke stacks) and bottom ash (from boilers and combustion chambers). Coarse particles (bottom ash and/or boiler slag) settle to the bottom of the combustion chamber, and the fine portion (fly ash) escapes through the flue and is reclaimed and recycled. Coal ash contains concentrations of many trace elements and heavy metals, including Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Se, Sr, V, and Zn. Ash that is retrieved after coal combustion may be useful as an additive to cement products, as a fill for excavation or civil engineering projects, as a soil ameliorization agent, and as a component of other products, including paints, plastics, coatings and adhesives.

IUU4U7] Sulfur in coal may be released during combustion as a sullur oxide, or it may be retained in the coal ash by reacting with base oxides contained in the mineral impurities (a process known as sulfur self-retention). The most important base oxide for sulfur self-retention is CaO, formed as a result of CaCCβ decomposition and combustion of calcium-containing organic groups. Coal combustion takes place in two successive steps: devolatilization and char combustion. During devolatilization, combustible sulfur is converted to S02. During char combustion, the process of S02 formation, sulfation and CaS04 decomposition take place simultaneously.

[00408] Destructive distillation 244 of coal yields coal tar and coal gas, in addition to metallurgical coke. Uses for metallurgical coke and coal gas have been discussed previously, as products of coal transformation. Coal tar, the third byproduct, has a variety of other commercial uses.

[00409] Coal tar is a complex mixture of hydrocarbon substances. The majority of its components are aromatic hydrocarbons of differing compositions and volatilities, from the simplest and most volatile (benzene) to multiple-ringed non-volatile substances of large molecular weights. The hydrocarbons in coal tar are in large part benzene-based, naphthalene-based, or anthracene- or phenanthrene-based. There may also be variable quantities of aliphatic hydrocarbons, paraffins and olefins. In addition, coal tar contains a small amount of simple phenols, such as carbolic acid and cumarone. Sulfur compounds and nitrogenated compounds may also be found. Most of the nitrogen compounds in coal tar are basic in character and belong to the pyridine and the quinoline families, for example, aniline.

[00410] Coal tar may be fractionally distilled 244 to yield a number of useful organic chemicals, including benzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene, anthracene and phenanthrene. These substances may be termed coal-tar crudes. They form the basis for synthesis of a number of products, such as dyes, drugs, flavorings, perfumes, synthetic resins, paints, preservatives and explosives. Following the fractional distillation of coal- tar crudes, a residue of pitch is left over. This substance may be used for purposes like roofing, paving, insulation and waterproofing.

[00411] Coal tar may also be used in its native state without submitting it to distillation 244. It may be heated to a certain extent to remove its volatile components

before using it. Coal tar is also employed as a pamt, a weatiierproolmg agent, or as a protection against corrosion. Coal tar has also been used as a roofing material. Coal tar may be combusted as a fuel, though it yields noxious gases during combustion. Burning tar creates a large quantity of soot called lampblack. If the soot is collected, it may be used for the manufacture of carbon for electrochemistry, printing, dyes, etc.

[00412] It is customary for coal combustion facilities 200 and other coal utilization plants to store coal on-site. For a power generation plant 204, 10% or more of the annual coal requirement may be stored. Overstocking of stored coal may present problems, however, related to risks of spontaneous combustion, losses of volatile material and losses of calorific value. Anthracite coal generally presents fewer risks than other coal ranks. Anthracite, for example, is not subject to spontaneous ignition, so may be stored in unlimited amounts per coal pile. A bituminous coal, by contrast, will ignite spontaneously if placed in a large enough pile, and it may suffer disintegration.

[00413] Two types of changes occur in stored coal. Inorganic material such as pyrites may oxidize, and organic material in the coal itself may oxidize. When the inorganic material oxidizes, the volume and/or weight of the coal may increase, and it may disintegrate. If the coal substances themselves oxidize, the changes may not be immediately appreciable. Oxidation of organic material in coal involves oxidation of the carbon and hydrogen in the coal, and the absorption of oxygen by unsaturated hydrocarbons, changes that may cause a loss of calorific value. These changes may also cause spontaneous combustion.

[00414] Coal must be transported from where it is mined to where it will be used. Before it is transported, coal may be cleaned, sorted and/or crushed to a particular size. In certain cases, power plants may be located on-site or close to the mine that provides the coal to the plant. For these facilities, coal may be transported by conveyors and the like. In most cases, though, power plants and other facilities using coal are located remotely. The main transportation method from mine to remote facility is the railway. Barges and other seagoing vessels may also be used. Highway transportation in trucks is feasible, but may not be cost-effective, especially for trips over fifty miles. Coal slurry pipelines transport powdered coal suspended in water.

[UU415J In an embodiment, solid fuel treatment parameters for the solid fuel continuous process, batch process, or other process may be generated by the parameter generation facility 128 based on the solid fuel desired characteristics and the solid fuel treatment facility 132 treatment capability. As inputs to the parameter generation facility 128, the coal sample data 120 may provide the starting characteristics of the solid fuel and the coal desired characteristics 122 may provide the desired final characteristics of the solid fuel.

[00416] In an embodiment, a first step in determining the solid fuel processing parameters may be to determine the characteristic delta between the actual raw solid fuel characteristics and the desired final processed characteristics.

[00417] As previously described, the solid fuel information stored in the coal sample data 120 may include information such as percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like. The solid fuel characteristics may be supplied by a solid fuel supplier such as a coal mine 102, a solid fuel storage facility 112, a solid fuel processing facility, or the like. In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may test and determine the solid fuel characteristics for storage in the coal sample data 120.

[00418] In an embodiment, as previously discussed, the coal desired characteristics 122 may store the final desired solid fuel characteristics for delivery to a customer, for use at the location of the solid fuel treatment facility 132, or the like. For example, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be part of a larger facility and may produce final treated solid fuel for the larger facility. In an embodiment, the coal desired characteristics 132 may store the desired characteristics of a customer requested solid fuel, a solid fuel that may be produced from the available received solid fuel, solid fuel characteristics that may have been produced using previously received solid fuel, or the like.

[00419] In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment parameters may be generated by the parameter generation facility 128 based on the desired final treated solid fuel characteristics. The desired final treated solid fuel characteristics may be related to the requirements of a customer for burning, further processing, storage and reselling, or the like.

[00420] In an embodiment, solid fuel treatment parameters may be generated based on the desired final solid fuel characteristics and the treatment capabilities of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, based on a request for the desired final solid fuel, the parameter generation facility 128 may search and retrieve the solid fuel characteristics from the coal desired characteristics 122 for the desired final treated solid fuel. In an embodiment, the

parameter generation tacility 128 may calculate the prelerred characteristics tor the received solid fuel required to produce the desired final treated solid fuel. After the calculation, the parameter generation facility 128 may search the coal sample data 120 to identify a raw solid fuel that may be treated by the solid fuel treatment facility 132 to produce the desired final treated solid fuel.

[00421] In an embodiment, the calculations performed by the parameter generation facility 128 may relate to the capabilities of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 capabilities. Depending on the configuration of the solid fuel treatment facility 132, the solid fuel treatment facility 128 may have certain capabilities to treat the solid fuel. For example, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be able to remove a certain percent of moisture from a solid fuel during a single course of solid fuel treatment. In determining the proper raw solid fuel to select from the coal sample data 120, the parameter generation facility 128 may consider the desired amount of final treated solid fuel moisture and calculated the amount of moisture that can be removed from the raw solid fuel to determine starting solid fuel moisture characteristic. For example, if the desired final moisture percentage is 5 percent moisture content, and the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be capable of removing 80 percent of the moisture from a raw solid fuel during a single treatment run, then the selected starting solid fuel may be selected from a group of raw solid fuels with 25 percent moisture content. Alternatively, the parameter generation facility 128 may select a raw solid fuel with a higher moisture percentage, and determine that multiple courses of treatment represent the most efficient or cost-effective treatment plan. It would be understood by those of skill in the art that the treatment capability of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may vary for different types of solid fuel, and may also vary depending upon the other characteristics of the solid fuel, the facility's previous experience with the solid fuels, or the like.

[00422] In an embodiment, calculations performed by the parameter generation facility 128 may be performed for each of the characteristics of the desired solid fuel. In an embodiment, the calculations performed on the set of desired final solid fuel characteristics may yield a set of raw solid fuel characteristics. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may attempt to match the set of raw solid fuel characteristics to a raw solid fuel for which data has been stored in the coal sample data 120. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may attempt to match the set of parameters using an exact match criterion, a best match criterion, a match based on certain characteristics having a higher matching priority, a combination of match criteria, a statistical match criterion, or the like.

[00423] In an embodiment, as a result of the matching process, the parameter generation facility 128 may find more than one raw solid fuel that meets the matching criteria.

tor example, a search oi the coal sample data 121) may yield more than one raw solid tuel it a best match criterion is used. In an embodiment, the best match criteria may call for the identification of a raw solid fuel that meet at least some of the desired solid fuel parameters; the best match may be a raw solid fuel that matches the most parameters. In an embodiment, the set of results from the parameter matching process may include a ranked listing of matching raw solid fuels; the solid fuels with the highest rank may be at the top and the lowest rank may be at the bottom of the list. In an embodiment, the ranked list may be sorted as desired by a user.

[00424] In an embodiment, the list of matched raw solid fuels may be presented to the operator of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 for the final selection of the solid fuel to use to produce the desired final treated solid fuel. In an embodiment, the operator may be presented the list of matching raw solid fuels; the list may contain a rating to indicate the raw solid fuels that are considered the best match. In an embodiment, where matches are performed for multiple characteristics, the parameter generation facility 128 may set a prioritization schedule reflecting the importance of particular parameter matches. In an embodiment, where matches are performed for multiple characteristics, the parameter generation facility 128 may calculate an aggregate match index that represents the degree of match among all the characteristics. In an embodiment, a prioritization schedule may be used to give more weight to certain characteristic matches for purposes of calculating an aggregate match index. In embodiments, the parameters for evaluating match closeness may be selected by a user so that prioritization, aggregation or other matching measures may be employed in keeping with the user's specifications.

[00425] In an embodiment, after a raw solid fuel is selected, the parameter generation facility 128 may generate a set of parameters for the treatment of the selected raw solid fuel.

[00426] In another embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may calculate solid fuel treatment parameters based on available solid fuel and the capabilities of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, there may be at least one received solid fuel available to a solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may select one of the available raw solid fuels, determine the characteristics of the raw solid fuel from the coal sample data 120, and determine a final treated solid fuel that may be produced based on the treatment capabilities of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The parameter generation facility 128 may also model the changes that would take place in a raw solid fuel during one cycle of treatment and during multiple cycles of treatment. In considering the capabilities of the solid fuel treatment facility, the parameter generation facility 128 may model the results of treating the raw solid fuel using several different sets of treatment parameters, so that the most efficient and cost-effective treatment schedule may be selected.

[UU427J In an embodiment, a single raw solid fuel may be able to produce more than one type of final treated solid fuel. For example, a selected raw solid fuel may have 30 percent moisture content and the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be capable of removing from one- third to two-thirds of the moisture on each treatment run. Therefore the solid fuel treatment facility may be capable of producing a final solid product with moisture content between 10 percent and 20 percent during a single run. If a second run also removes between one-third and two-thirds of the moisture, a final solid product with a moisture content between 3.3% and 13.3% may be attained. The second run and subsequent runs may not produce the same treatment efficiency as the initial run, so that these runs may not remove the same percentage of moisture as the initial run. In addition, treatment in a single run may be more efficient and/or cost-effective than treating with multiple runs, or vice versa. Using a single run, then, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be capable of producing a final solid fuel containing between 10 percent and 20 percent moisture. Using multiple runs, the solid fuel treatment facility may be capable of producing a final solid fuel containing between 3 percent and 13 percent moisture. A user desiring a final solid fuel containing 10 percent moisture may be able to produce this result using several different types of treatment protocols, depending at least in part on the economics of running the treatment using different parameters and different schedules.

[00428] In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may determine the final solid fuel characteristics for all the selected raw solid fuel characteristics based on the capability of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. It would be understood by those in the art that optimizing a particular characteristic of the final solid fuel may entail treatment parameters that would not be ideal for optimizing other characteristics. Hence, it is contemplated that multiple treatment runs may be selected, each with different parameters so that the multiplicity of final solid fuel characteristics may be optimized.

[00429] In an embodiment, when generating the solid fuel treatment facility 132 operating parameters, the parameter generation facility 128 may considerer final solid fuel characteristics for a desired solid fuel, a requested solid fuel, an historically produced solid fuel, or the like.

[00430] In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 operating parameters may be determined from the selected final desired solid fuel.

[00431] In another embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may calculate the operation parameters for the solid fuel treatment facility 132 based on previous solid fuels treated in the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may store historical information for previously received raw solid fuels and the final

treated solid tuels that were produced from the received raw solid fuels. Using this process, when a certain raw solid fuel is received, the parameter generation facility 128 may determine the treated solid fuel characteristics that can be produce with the raw solid fuel. In addition, the parameter generation facility 128 may match the determined final treated solid fuels with a required final treated solid fuel for the calculation of solid fuel treatment facility 132 operation parameters.

[00432] In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may maintain historical operational parameter data for the treatment of previously received raw solid fuels; the historical operational parameters may be used instead of calculating new parameters.

[00433] In an embodiment, solid fuel treatment facility 132 operational parameters may be calculated for a continuous process, a batch process, or other solid fuel treatment process.

[00434] In an embodiment, after the parameter generation facility 128 has determined the operation parameters for the treatment of the solid fuel, the operational parameters may be transmitted to the monitoring facility 134, the controller 144, the parameter control 140, or the like.

[00435] In an embodiment, the treatment of a solid fuel using a continuous treatment process, batch process, combination of the continuous and the batch process, or the like may be monitored using a feedback loop between the monitoring facility 134, controller 144, process sensors 142, and the like.

[00436] As previously discussed, the parameter generation facility 128 may calculate the solid fuel treatment parameters to be used by various components of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 to treat the solid fuel to meet particular specifications. The particular specifications may be based on a customer requirement, solid fuel treatment facility 132 capability, available raw solid fuel, or the like.

[00437] In an embodiment, during the treatment of the solid fuel in the solid fuel treatment facility 132, the monitor facility 134 may monitor the treatment process by receiving processing information from the process sensors 142. In an embodiment, the controller 144 may provide operational instructions to the various components (e.g. microwave system 148) for the treatment of the solid fuel. In an embodiment, the process sensors 142 may measure the operation of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. The sensors 142 may measure the input and output of the various components of the belt facility 130, non-solid fuel products released from the solid fuel during treatment, non-component measurements (e.g. moisture levels), or the like.

[UU438J In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may receive the solid fuel treatment parameters from the parameter generation facility 128. In monitoring the solid fuel treatment, the monitoring facility 134 may apply tolerance zones to the provided parameters. In an embodiment, the tolerance zones may be based on the capability of a component, capability of a sensor, the minimum and maximum parameters required for a certain solid fuel treatment, prior solid fuel treatment, or the like.

[00439] In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may determine the tolerance zones that may be applied to the solid fuel treatment parameters.

[00440] In an embodiment, the controller 144 may receive the solid fuel parameters without the tolerance zones. The controller may provide operational instructions based on the solid fuel parameters without the tolerance zones.

[00441] In an embodiment, a treatment process monitoring and feedback loop may be established between the monitor facility 134, controller 144, and sensors 142 for the continuous monitoring and updating of treatment parameters of the continuous solid fuel treatment, batch solid fuel treatment, or the like.

[00442] In an embodiment, the feedback loop may begin with the parameter generation facility 128 providing the operational parameters to the monitoring facility 134 and the controller 144. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may apply parameter tolerances to the operational parameters; the parameter tolerances may be used to compare the sensor 142 readings to acceptable treatment results. In an embodiment, the operational parameters may include parameters for controlling solid fuel treatment facility 132 components, non-component treatment measurements (e.g. moisture removal rates), and the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may use sensor 142 information for non-component measurements to modify parameters for component parameters.

[00443] In an embodiment, the controller 144 may start the solid fuel treatment by transmitting the operational parameters to components of the belt facility 130 such as the microwave system 148, transportation system, preheat 138, parameter control 140, removal system 150, and the like. In an embodiment, the controller 144 may transmit the operational parameters to the solid fuel treatment components without tolerances. Having received the operational parameters, the solid fuel treatment components may begin treating the solid fuel using a continuous process, batch process, or the like.

[00444] In an embodiment, once the treatment of the solid fuel begins, the sensors 142 may begin to measure outputs from the operation of the various the solid fuel treatment components. In an embodiment, the treatment outputs may include measurements such as

microwave power, microwave frequency, belt speed, temperatures, air tlow, inert gas levels, and the like. In an embodiment, the treatment outputs may include measurement of non-component outputs such as moisture removal, ash removal, sulfur removal, solid fuel surface temperature, air temperatures, and the like. As previously discussed, the sensors 142 may be placed in various locations along the belt facility 130 to measure the various solid fuel treatment outputs.

[00445] In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may provide sensor measurements of solid fuel treatment outputs to the monitoring facility 134. The monitoring facility 134 may receive the sensor 142 measurements in real time during the treatment of the solid fuel. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may compare the sensor 142 measurements to the tolerance zone of the operational parameters.

[00446] In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may contain various algorithms to modify the operational parameters based on the received sensor 142 measurements. The algorithms may determine the magnitude of a modification to an operational parameter if the sensor 142 measurement is outside of a tolerance zone. For example a sensor 142 measurement may be either within, above, or below the tolerance zone.

[00447] In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may base the operational parameter modifications on real time sensor 142 measurements, sampled sensor 142 measurements, average sensor 142 measurements, statistical sensor 142 measurements, or the like.

[00448] In an embodiment, operational parameter modifications may be made based on non-component sensor 142 measurements such as moisture removal, ash removal, sulfur removal, solid fuel surface temperatures, solid fuel weight, and the like. In an embodiment, the modification facility 134 algorithms may associate certain non-component sensor 142 measurements with solid fuel treatment facility 132 component parameters to adjust the non- component sensor 142 readings. For example, a non-component measurement of the moisture levels in the belt facility environment may require the microwave system 148 to increase or decrease parameters such as microwave system power, microwave frequency, microwave duty cycle, number of microwave systems active, or the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 algorithms may combine component sensor 142 readings with associated sensor 142 readings to determine if a modification to the component parameter is required. For example, the sensor 142 readings for the microwave system 148 power levels may be combined with the moisture levels in the area of the microwave system 148. The result may be a microwave system 148 parameter modification that accounts for the current power level setting of the microwave system 148 and the amount of moisture in the environment. In this example, the microwave

system 148 power setting may have had a high measurement compared to the desired parameter settings but the moisture reading may be low compared to the desired moisture levels. In this case, the power setting parameter may be increased to remove more moisture from the solid fuel even though the power settings of the microwave system are already above the desired settings.

[00449] In an embodiment, a non-component sensor 142 measurement may be associated to more than one solid fuel treatment facility 132 component. In an embodiment, there may be a plurality of non-component sensor 142 measurements related to a component. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 138 algorithms may determine how best to modify component operational parameter(s) to compensate for a non-component sensor 142 measurement that is outside of a parameter tolerance zone. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may have predetermined sensor 142 adjustments, may have a knowledge base of parameter adjustments, may use a neural net to adjust parameters based on previous adjustments, adjustments may be made by human intervention, or the like. In an embodiment, safety settings for the component operational parameters may be input into the system that cannot be overridden, or that require administrator intervention in order to override.

[00450] In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may maintain a history of operational parameter adjustments made during the treatment of a solid fuel. The monitoring facility 134 may refer to the parameter adjustment history in determining the magnitude of the next parameter adjustment. For example, the microwave system 148 power may have been previously adjusted to increase the amount moisture released from the solid fuel. When determining the magnitude of microwave system 148 power adjustment based on a new sensor 142 reading, the monitoring facility 132 may refer to the previous parameter adjustment to determining the magnitude of the next parameter adjustment. For example, the parameter adjustment history may show that the last microwave system 148 adjustment of 5 percent increased the moisture release by 2 percent. This information may be used to determine the microwave system 148 power adjustment to obtain a desired change in the moisture released for the solid fuel. In embodiments, a calibration curve may be derived from a sequence of measurements in the parameter adjustment history, so that an adjustment of a parameter may be made more accurately in response to a certain sensor 142 reading to obtain a desired result.

[00451] In an embodiment, once the monitoring facility 134 has made adjustments to the solid fuel operational parameters, the adjusted parameters may be transmitted to the controller 144 for transmission to the various solid treatment facility 132 components. In an embodiment, the adjusted parameters may be transmitted in real time, at certain time period intervals, continuously, or the like.

[UU452J In an embodiment, once the controller 144 receives the adjusted parameters, the controller may transmit the adjusted parameters to the various components in real time, at certain time period intervals, continuously, or the like.

[00453] In this manner, the monitoring facility 134, controller 144, and sensor 142 feedback loop may continuously apply operational parameters to the solid fuel treatment facility 132 components, measure the component and non-component information with sensors 142, transmit the measurements to the monitoring facility 134, adjust the operational parameters, transmit the adjusted operational parameters to the controller, and the like.

[00454] In an embodiment, the continuous feedback loop may be applied to operational parameters for a continuous process, batch process, or the like for the treatment of solid fuels.

[00455] In an embodiment, the solid fuel belt facility 130 components may be controlled by operational parameters generated by the parameter generation facility 128 and modified by the monitoring facility 134. As previously discussed, the operational parameters may be monitored and adjusted by the monitoring facility 134 and the controller 144 may transmit the operational parameters to the solid fuel belt facility 130 components.

[00456] In embodiments, the solid fuel belt facility 130 may include components such as a transport belt, microwave systems, sensors, collection systems, a preheat facility, a cool down facility, and the like. In an embodiment, the solid fuel belt facility 130 may be a continuous treatment facility, batch facility, or the like.

[00457] In an embodiment, the treatment of solid fuel to yield a final treated solid fuel meeting a set of desired characteristics may be controlled by the belt facility 130 components using operational parameters selected to produce the desired solid fuel characteristics. It would be understood in the art that the desired characteristics of the final treated solid fuel may be produced by adjusting the control of more than one belt facility 130 component. For example, the moisture released from the solid fuel during the treating process may be controlled by adjusting microwave system 148 power, microwave system 148 frequency, microwave system 148 duty cycle, preheat temperatures, belt speeds, atmosphere composition (e.g. dry air or inert gas), or the like individually or in combinations. The belt facility 130 component parameters may be influenced by other requirements such as processed solid fuel per a time period, the starting raw fuel characteristics, the final treated fuel characteristics, or the like.

[UU458J In an embodiment, the controller 144 may store the operational parameters for the belt facility 130 components and may transmit the parameters to the belt facility 130 components. In an embodiment, the controller 144 may convert the operational parameters into machine commands that are understood and executed by the belt facility 130 components.

[00459] In an embodiment, sensors 142 may be used to measure operations of the belt facility 130 components and to obtain information pertaining to the solid fuel treatment. In embodiments, the sensors 142 may measure information directly from belt facility 130 components such as the microwave system 148 or from environmental conditions that may result from the treatment of the solid fuel such as moisture released from the solid fuel. In embodiments, the environmental conditions may include moisture levels, ash levels, sulfur levels, air temperatures, solid fuel surface temperatures, inert gas levels, cooling rates, or the like. In an embodiment, there may be a plurality of sensors 142 to measure the same environmental condition within the belt facility 130, either to provide redundancy or to make measurements at different locations to follow the progression of treatment. For example, there may a plurality of sensors 142 for measuring the moisture released from the solid fuels, with moisture sensors 142 located at a microwave system 148, following a microwave system 148 station, and the like. Additionally, there may be water sensors to measure the volume of liquid water that collects at a water collection station in the belt facility 130. In an embodiment, there may be a plurality of sensors for each type of measurement made within the belt facility 130.

[00460] In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may record the various component and non-component information and transmit the information to the monitoring facility 134. As previously discussed, the monitoring facility may use the received sensor 142 information to make adjustments to the solid fuel treatment parameters. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may transmit the adjusted solid fuel treatment parameters to the controller to modify the treatment of the solid fuel.

[00461] In an embodiment, the treatment of the solid fuel may be continuously measured to assure that the final treated solid fuel characteristics are attained. In this manner, the solid fuel treatment process may be continuously adjusted in response to any changes in the raw solid fuel characteristics. For example, a raw solid fuel characteristic such as the moisture content may vary over the time in which the raw solid fuel is treated. In this example, the moisture content starts at a one level at the beginning of a treatment run and may vary up or down during the treatment process. In an embodiment, any of the measurable solid fuel characteristics may change within a supply of solid fuel. By using sensors 142 within the belt facility 130 while the solid fuel is being treated, the operational parameters may be adjusted to produce a consistent

set ot characteristics during the entire solid fuel treatment time. In an embodiment, the belt facility 130 operation parameters may be adjusted to obtain a consistent set of characteristics in the final treated solid fuel.

[00462] In embodiments, as the solid fuel is treated, parameters that may be adjusted may include microwave energy, air temperatures, inert gas levels, air flow velocities, belt velocity, and the like. In an embodiment, the belt facility 130 operational parameters may be monitored and adjusted individually, as a group, in associated groups (e.g. belt velocity and microwave power), and the like.

[00463] In an embodiment, the method of monitoring and adjusting operational parameters may be applied to a continuous treatment process, a batch treatment process, or other solid treatment method. In batch processing, the incoming raw solid fuel characteristics may change from batch to batch and may require different operational parameters to produce a consistent treated solid fuel at the end of the treatment process.

[00464] In an embodiment, the solid fuel belt facility 130 sensors 142 may measure products released from the solid fuel as a result of solid fuel treatment, may measure the operational parameters of the solid fuel belt facility 130 components, or the like. Thereafter, the sensors 142 may transmit measurement information to the controller 144, may transmit measurement information to the monitoring facility 134, may transmit measurement information to the pricing/transactional facility, may transmit measurement information to the parameter control 140, or the like. In an embodiment, the solid fuel belt facility 130 may treat solid fuel in a continuous treatment process, batch process, or the like and sensors 142 may record solid fuel treatment information from these processes.

[00465] In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may measure the belt facility 130 component parameters that may include belt speed, microwave system 148 power, microwave system 148 frequency, microwave system 148 duty cycle, air temperature, inert gas flow, air flow, air pressure, inert gas pressure, released product storage tank levels, heating rates, cooling rates, and the like. Additionally, the sensors 148 may also measure non-operational or environmental parameter information that may include released water vapor, released sulfur vapor, collected water volume, collected sulfur volume, collected ash volume, solid fuel weight, solid fuel surface temperature, preheat temperatures, cooling temperatures, and the like. In an embodiment, there may be at least one sensor 142 for each component of the belt facility. For example, the microwave system 148 may have one or more sensors 142 to measure power

consumption, frequency, power output, and the like. In an embodiment, there may be more than one sensor 142 to measure the non-component parameters. For example, there may be one or more moisture level sensors 142 to measure the release of moisture throughout the solid fuel belt facility 130. There may be a moisture sensor 142 at the microwave system 148 station, just after the microwave system 148 station, or the like. There may also be more than one microwave system 148 station that may also have more than one moisture sensor 142.

[00466] In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may be able to measure the consumption of resources by a solid fuel treatment facility 132 such as power consumed, inert gas used, gas used, oil used, or the like. In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may be able to measure the products produced by the solid fuel treatment facility 132 such as water, sulfur, ash, or other product released from the solid fuel during treatment.

[00467] In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may transmit the measurement information to the controller 144, monitoring facility 134, the pricing/transactional facility 178, or the like. In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may transmit selectively, for example not transmit all of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 information to all the information-receiving facilities.

[00468] In an embodiment, the controller 144 may receive sensor 142 information from various belt facility 130 components. The controller may be responsible for maintaining the operational parameter state of the various belt facility 130 components. For example, the controller may be responsible for maintaining the belt speed in a solid fuel continuous treatment process. The sensors 142 may provide belt speed information to the controller 144 that may allow the controller to maintain the parameter-required speed. For example, as the amount of solid fuel is added or removed from the belt facility 130 different power levels may be required to maintain a uniform belt speed and the controller 144 may make the adjustments to the power required to maintain the uniform belt speed.

[00469] In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may receive sensor 142 information that permits control of the operational parameters required to treat raw solid fuel. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may receive component sensor 142 information that may include microwave system 148 frequency, microwave system 148 power, microwave system 148 duty cycle, belt speed, inert gas levels, and the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134, may receive non-component sensor 142 information that may include released moisture, released sulfur, released ash, solid fuel surface temperature, air temperature, and the like.

[00470] As previously discussed, the monitoring facility 134 may combine the received sensor 142 information for both the components and non-components using

algorithms to attain and/ or maintain the required operation parameters to treat the solid fuel to produce the desired final treated solid fuel. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may receive a set of basic operational parameters from the parameter generation facility 128. The monitoring facility 134 may thereupon adjust the basic operational parameters based on the received sensor 142 information. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may transmit the adjusted operational parameters to the controller 144 for the control of the solid fuel belt facility 130.

[00471] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may receive sensor 142 information pertaining, for example, to the cost/profit of the final treated solid fuel. In an embodiment, the cost/profit related information may include or permit the calculation of the cost to produce the final treated solid fuel, consumables such as inert gases, volume of collected non-solid fuel products, volume of final treated solid fuel, or the like.

[00472] In an embodiment, cost related sensor information may include power used, inert gas used, solid fuel input, and the like. In an embodiment, there may be sensors 142 that measure the power consumed by each solid fuel treatment facility 132 component. In an embodiment, the power consumed may include electricity, gas, oil, and the like. In an embodiment, the consumables used may include inert gas volume, water, or the like.

[00473] In an embodiment, profit related sensor information may include the volume of water collected, volume of sulfur collected, volume of ash collected, volume of final treated solid fuel, or the like.

[00474] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may receive sensor 142 information in real time, at time increments, on demand, or the like. In an embodiment, the on demand information may be by the demand of the pricing/transactional facility 178, the sensors 142, or the like.

[00475] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may use algorithms to determine the value of the final treated solid fuel using information that may include, the starting raw solid fuel cost per volume, solid fuel treatment facility 132 cost per volume, solid fuel treatment facility 132 profit materials (e.g. water, sulfur, or ash), solid fuel treatment facility 132 consumables per volume, and the like.

[00476] In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may provide cost/profit information that may include solid fuel intake volume, energy required for preheating, energy required for the belt, inert gas volume, energy required for the microwave system 148, energy required for solid fuel

cool down, the volume oi solid fuel outtake, collected water, collected sultur, collected ash, or the like.

[00477] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may have access to cost per unit of electricity, gas, oil, solid fuel, and the like. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may have access to the market value of the released products such as water, sulfur, ash, solid fuel, and the like.

[00478] In an embodiment, using unit costs, cost information, and product market value the pricing/transactional facility 178 may be able to determine the value of the final finished solid fuel, released products, and the like. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may calculate final treated solid fuel value in real time, as an average, a mean value, at the end of a solid fuel run, incrementally, or the like.

[00479] For example, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may receive initial raw solid fuel cost information from the coal sample data 120. The intake facility 124 sensors may provide the volume rate of the solid fuel entering the solid fuel belt facility 130 for treatment. The solid fuel belt facility 130 sensors may provide information of the energy required to preheat the solid fuel, transport the solid fuel, the rate of inert gas input to the belt facility 130, energy required for the microwave systems 148, energy required for the cooling facility 164, the volume of finished treated solid fuel removed from the solid fuel treatment facility 132, and the like. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may combine these sensor measurements with the unit cost for each cost type to develop a cost model for the solid fuel being treated. In an embodiment, the cost model may include incrementally adding the individual component cost to treat the solid fuel to the initial raw solid fuel cost to calculate the final treated solid fuel cost.

[00480] In an embodiment, the calculated value of the final treated solid fuel may be compared to the market value of the solid fuel to create an efficiency model for the solid fuel treatment facility 132.

[00481] Additionally, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may receive information about the volume of non-solid fuel products collected by the solid fuel treatment facility 132 that may have market value such as water, sulfur, ash, other solid fuel released products, or the like. This information may be used to calculate the unit market values of the various solid fuel release product to provide a profit model for the solid fuel released products.

[00482] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may calculate cost models, profit models, efficiency models, and other financial models for the operation of the solid fuel treatment facility 132.

[00483] In embodiments, the belt facility 130 microwave system 148 may be one of a plurality of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 treatment components to act on the solid fuel for the removal of undesired products from the solid fuel. The microwave system 148 may be used singularly, in combination with a plurality of microwave systems 148, in combination with other processes for removing undesired products, or the like.

[00484] In an embodiment, the microwaves produced by the microwave systems 148 may be used to heat the undesired solid fuel products to a temperature that may cause the undesired solid fuel products to be released from the solid fuel. In an embodiment the undesired solid fuel may be water moisture, sulfur, ash, or the like. In an embodiment, as the microwave energy is applied to the solid fuel, the undesired products may be heated to temperatures that may cause the undesired products to release from the solid fuel as a gas, liquid, combination of gas and liquid, and or the like. For example, water may release as a gas once the water contained in the solid fuel reaches the temperatures to convert the water to steam. But, depending on the sulfur temperature, sulfur may release as a gas or as a liquid. In an embodiment, as sulfur is heated, the sulfur may be released first as a liquid and then as a gas. In an embodiment, there may be advantages in releasing an undesired product in two release stages to promote the full release of the undesired product from the solid fuel.

[00485] In an embodiment, there may be more than one belt facility 130 microwave system 148 for the removal of undesired solid fuel products. In an embodiment, there may be more than one microwave system 148 within the belt facility 130. The more than one microwave system 148 may apply different controlling parameters such as frequency, power, duty cycle, or the like to the solid fuel. In an embodiment, the different microwave system 148 controlling parameters may target certain undesired products for removal from the solid fuel. Additionally, the microwave systems 148 may target a certain method of removing undesired products such as applying energy to convert the undesired products to a gas, applying energy to convert the undesired products to a liquid, or the like.

[00486] In an embodiment, a microwave system 148 may include more than one microwave device, each of which may be operated independently, as part a group, or the like.

[00487] In an embodiment, a microwave system 148 may operate independently; therefore there may be a set of operational parameters for each of the independent microwave devices. For example, a microwave system 148 may have more than one independent microwave device and each independent microwave device may have controlling parameters such as power, frequency, duty cycle, or the like. In an embodiment, the controller 144 and the monitoring facility 134 may control each of the independent microwave devices.

[00488] In an embodiment, the independent controlled microwave devices may perform different functions for effecting undesired solid fuel product removal. For example, a first microwave device may operate at a certain frequency with a steady power setting while a second microwave device may operate at a different frequency using a duty cycle where the power setting may be varied with time. The combined operation of these two microwave devices may target the removal of a particular undesired product using a particular material phase (e.g. gas or liquid).

[00489] In an embodiment, a microwave system 148 may include a plurality of microwave devices that operate as a group; therefore there may be one set of operational parameters for the entire microwave group independent of the number of microwave devices that may be in the microwave system 148 group. For example, grouping a number of microwave devices and providing all the microwave devices the same frequency and power setting may be a way of providing high microwave power to the solid fuel using a number of smaller microwave devices instead of one large microwave device. Using a number of smaller microwave devices may allow a configuration of microwave devices to provide effective undesired product removal.

[00490] In an embodiment, a microwave system 148 may be changed from operating as an independent set of microwave devices to operating as a microwave device group by the transmission method for the operational parameters. For example, the microwave system 148 may operate as independent microwave devices when independent parameters are transmitted for each microwave device but the microwave

system 148 may operate as a group when one group ot operational parameters are transmitted to the microwave devices. In an embodiment, the microwave system 148 may operate as independent microwave devices, a group of microwave devices, or the like

[00491] In an embodiment, the microwave systems 148 may be placed along the belt facility 130 to provide microwave system 148 treatment combinations that may produce the desired final treated solid fuel. For example, more than one microwave system 148 may be spaced along a belt facility 130 to target the removal of water moisture from the solid fuel. A first microwave system 148 may be directed to remove a certain amount of moisture from the solid fuel; a second microwave system 148 may be place a distance from the first microwave system 148 to remove additional moisture from the solid fuel. Additional microwave systems 148 may be placed along the belt facility 130 to continue the reduction of the moisture as the solid fuel moves along the belt facility 130. In an embodiment, the undesired solid fuel product may be removed in an incremental manner by being treated by a plurality of microwave systems 148 along the belt facility 130. In an embodiment, there may be a distance between the microwave systems 148 to allow for the release of the undesired product; the distance may provide for a time period between the treatment steps. In an embodiment, the microwave systems may be placed close together. It may be understood that this treatment process may be applied to the removal of other undesired solid fuel products either independently or in combination with other undesired solid fuel products.

[00492] In an embodiment, energy from the microwave systems 148 may be applied in separate belt facilities 130, with a first belt facility 130 treating the solid fuel and at least one more belt facility 130 further treating the solid fuel. In an embodiment, each belt facility 130 may treat the solid fuel and then feed its product to additional belt facilities 130 until the final treated coal characteristics are reached.

[00493] In an embodiment, a batch treatment facility may provide for the incremental removal of undesired solid fuel products. In an embodiment, the batch treatment facility may have at least one microwave facility 148 that may be controlled with alternating operational parameters. For example, the microwave system 148 may operate with a first power, frequency, and duty cycle as a first treatment step and a

different power, frequency, and duty cycle may be applied as a second treatment step. In an embodiment, there may be a time period between the steps to allow for the undesired product to be completely released as a result of the treatment step before another treatment step is performed. In an embodiment, there may not be a time period between treatment steps, and continuous treatment may be applied to the batched solid fuel. In an embodiment, the batch treatment facility may process the solid fuel with as many treatment steps as needed to produce the final treated solid fuel.

[00494] In an embodiment, as previously discussed, the microwave systems 148 may be controlled by a feedback loop that may include the sensors 142, the monitoring facility 134, the controller 144, and the like. In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may be placed along the belt facility 130 or placed within the batch facility to measure the effectiveness of the microwave systems 148 in removing undesired solid fuel products. The sensors may be placed at the microwave system 148 or after the microwave system 148, to measure gas released undesired products, to measure liquid released undesired products, or the like.

[00495] In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may transmit solid fuel treatment readings to the monitoring facility 134 from the plurality of sensor locations. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may have a target reading for each sensor 142 of the treatment process. As the sensor 142 readings are received from the sensors 142, the monitoring facility 134 may compare the received sensor 142 reading with the target sensor reading to determine if the solid fuel treatment process is treating the solid fuel as required. In an embodiment, based on the received sensor 142 readings the monitoring facility 134 may transmit adjusted operational parameters to components of the belt facility 130. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may associate each sensor 142 within the belt facility to the operation of a component of the belt facility 130. In an embodiment, each sensor 142 reading may be giving a weight as it may be applied to the control of a component. For example, a first sensor 142 placed at the same location as one of the microwave systems 148 may be given more weight than a second sensor placed at some distance downstream from the microwave systems 148. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may maintain a sensor weight table that specifies the weight that the sensor 142 reading should be given.

[00496] In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may store previous sensor 142 readings that may allow the monitoring facility 134 to track an instantaneous sensor reading, average sensor reading, statistical sensor reading, a sensor reading trend, a sensor reading rate of change, or the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may use any of the sensor tracking methods to determine if a component parameter requires adjustment.

[00497] In an embodiment, different sensor readings 142 may be used to adjust different parameters of the belt facility 130 components. For example, a first sensor 142 may be used to monitor and adjust the microwave system 148 frequency and a second sensor 142 may be used to monitor and adjust the microwave system 148 power. In an embodiment, a plurality of sensors 142 that may be associated with a microwave system 148 may be used to adjust individual microwave devices within the microwave system 148. For example, if there are four microwave devices within one microwave system 148, a plurality of sensors associated to the microwave system 148 may be used to adjust the four microwave devices individually. Additionally, any of the microwave systems 148 along the belt facility 130 may be similarly controlled, either individually or in groups.

[00498] It may be understood that any of the belt facility components may be controlled in the same manner.

[00499] In an embodiment, belt facility 130 components may receive monitoring facility 134 adjusted parameters based on the final treated solid fuel characteristics. In an embodiment, after the solid fuel has been completely treated in the solid fuel treatment facility 132, a testing facility 170 may test samples of the final treated solid fuel for determination of the final solid fuel characteristics. In an embodiment, the testing facility 170 may be part of the solid fuel treatment facility 132, may be a testing facility external to the solid fuel treatment facility 132, or the like.

[00500] In an embodiment, the testing facility 170 may test the solid fuel for percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like. In an embodiment, these final solid fuel characteristics may be stored in the coal output parameters

1 Il where they may be available to the coal desired characteristics 122, ieedback tacility 1 /4, monitoring facility 134, and the like.

[00501] In an embodiment, the final solid fuel characteristics may be determined while the same solid fuel run is being treated in the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, a subset of final solid fuel characteristics may be available while the solid fuel is still being treated. The subset of characteristics may be determined in an onsite testing facility 170 that may allow the feedback to be provided to the monitoring facility 134 in real time.

[00502] In an embodiment, the coal output parameters 172 may transmit the testing information to the monitoring facility 134, the monitoring facility 134 may pull the testing information from the coal output parameters 172, or the like.

[00503] In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may use the received solid fuel testing information as an added input to be considered in the adjustment of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 operational parameters. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may have access to the testing information stored in the coal output parameters 172 through the coal desired characteristics 122 and therefore may use historical test information in the generation of the initial operational parameters. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may transmit the historical test information to the monitoring facility 134. In an embodiment, the transmitted historical test information may be an information summary, statistical information, sample information, trend information, test information versus previous operational parameters, or the like.

[00504] In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may compare the historical testing information from the parameter generation facility 128 with the new test information from the coal output parameters 172 to determine how the new test information may relate to the historical information. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may store the new test information as the tests are completed. In an embodiment, the new test information may be stored in the monitoring facility 134 for the time period that a particular run of raw solid fuel is treated by the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, the stored test information may be historical information for the current raw solid fuel treatment run. In an embodiment, the stored information may provide trending information, statistical information, sample information, or the like of the current solid fuel treatment run. In an embodiment, the stored information may be stored with the operational parameters as the test information is received. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility may analyze the relationship of the operational parameters at the time the test information was received for parameter trends verses the final test information.

[UU5U5J In an embodiment, as new test information is received by the monitoring facility 134, the information may be compared to the historical test information, compared with the stored test information, or the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may use the test information comparison as a factor in adjusting the operational parameters of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, the test information may be used as a direct factor for parameter adjustment, indirect factor adjustment for parameter adjustment (e.g. multiplier), combination of direct and indirect factors, or the like.

[00506] In an embodiment, the test information may influence the adjustment of the operational parameter by indicating to the monitoring facility 134 if the operational parameters being used to treat the solid fuel are producing the desired final treated solid fuel. For example, the belt facility 130 sensors 142 may indicate that the proper amount of moisture is being removed from the solid fuel during processing, but the test information may provide characteristic data to indicate a different percentage of moisture is being retained in the solid fuel than would have been calculated using the data from the belt facility 130 sensors 142. In an embodiment, the test information may be used to adjust the operational parameters and may revise the treatment of the solid fuel to effect a change in the final test information characteristics.

[00507] In an embodiment, the test information may be used by the monitoring facility 134 to make adjustments to the parameter weight table, to adjust factors in the algorithms used to adjust the operational parameters, to determine if additional belt facility components need to be utilized in treating the solid fuel (e.g. more microwave systems 148 active), to determine if additional runs of the solid fuel through a treatment process may be required (e.g. multiple treatment passes), or the like.

[00508] In an embodiment, the non-fuel products removed from the solid fuel during treatment may be collected by the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, sensors 142 may measure the release of a product from the solid fuel as a gas, a liquid, or the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 and the controller 144 may interface with the sensors 142 to control the released product removal. In an embodiment, the sensors 142, monitoring facility 134, controller 144, or the like may transmit released product information to the pricing/transactional facility 178. In an embodiment, the sensor 142 information received at the monitoring facility 134 and the controller 144 may permit the calculation of instantaneous removal rates, average removal rates, total released product, type of released product, or the like.

[UU5U9J In an embodiment, as non-fuel products are released from the solid fuel during treatment, they may be collected by a removal system 150 that may be capable of removing released gases, released liquids, released gases that may condense into a liquid, or the like. In an embodiment, there may be more than one removal system 150 in the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, the released gases may be collected into vents, pipes or containers for transporting the gases to a containment facility 162, a treatment facility 160, a disposal facility 158, or the like. In an embodiment, the released liquids and gases that condense into liquids may be collected into liquid caches, pipes or containers for transporting the liquids to a containment facility 162, a treatment facility 160, a disposal facility 158, or the like.

[00510] In an embodiment, there may be sensors 142 that measure the amount of released non-fuel products and transmit the measurements to the monitoring facility 134, controller 144, and the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may determine the amount of released product, the rate of product release, the amount of released product collecting in the caches, the released gas removal rates, and the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may determine whether the removal rates for non-fuel products need to be increased, decreased, or otherwise altered, in keeping with the release rates of the solid fuel products. For example, the monitoring facility 134 may receive sensor 142 information that more released liquid product is being formed than is being removed from the solid fuel treatment facility 132 by the liquid collection cache. In response to this information, the monitoring facility 134 may direct the controller 144 to increase the rate of liquid removal. In an embodiment, this may involve increasing the pump speed to alter the removal rate, starting another pump to alter the removal rate, or the like. In a similar manner, a gas sensor 142 may transmit to the monitoring facility 134 that the properties of the gas release atmosphere (pressure, temperature, gas concentration and the like) indicate that the released gas is not being removed at the proper rate. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may direct the controller 144 to alter the gas removal rates by adjusting a fan speed, starting another fan, stopping a fan, changing pressures in gas containment chambers, or the like. In an embodiment, the removal systems 150 of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be controlled individually or as part of a group.

[00511] In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may be placed at various locations along the belt facility 130 to measure the results of the various solid fuel treatments. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may make adjustments to the operation of the release system 150 based on the sensor 142 readings that indicate, for example, the rate or the amount of released products. The monitoring facility 134 may calculate non-fuel product release rates based on the sensor 142 readings and may adjust the removal system 150 removal rates based on the product

release rates, product levels, product atmosphere readings, or the like. In an embodiment, there may be sensors 142 that measure release products such as water, sulfur, ash, and the like for a treatment location of the solid fuel treatment 132. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may be able to adjust the treatment location removal system 150 to maintain the proper removal rates for the non-fuel products.

[00512] In an embodiment, as previously discussed, the collected released non-fuel products may be processed by the containment facility 162, the treatment facility 160, the disposal facility 158, and the like. In an embodiment, there may be sensors 142 that may provide information to the monitoring facility 134 on the state of these facilities. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134, controller 144, removal system 150, or the like may control the rates at which the collected released non-fuel products are collected, separated, disposed, or otherwise handled. In an embodiment, collection of the removed released non-fuel products proceeds until a threshold amount is collected, at which time the operator of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may be signaled that the released product needs to be removed from the collection facilities. In an embodiment, a release product, such as water, may be released from the solid fuel treatment facility 132 without being otherwise collected or aggregated.

[00513] In an embodiment, the sensors 142, monitoring facility 134, controller 144, or the like may transmit released product information to the pricing/transactional facility 178. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may have market-related information, such as market value or disposal cost, available for each of the removed non-fuel products. In an embodiment, decisions regarding the disposition of the removed released non-fuel products may be based on their market value, their disposal cost, or the like. Market-related information may include information related to the regulatory aspects of a particular product, for example, environmental taxes or surcharges applicable to the generation or disposition of a particular substance. In an embodiment, based on the information transmitted by the sensors 142, monitoring facility 134, controller 144, or the like, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may be able to calculate the value of a released non-fuel product, the cost of a released product, or the like. For example, collected liquid sulfur may have a market value for uses in industry, while collected ash may have no market value and may cost money to dispose of in a landfill.

[00514] It is understood that market-related information may apply to a number of different markets. For example, collected ash may have market values ranging from negative (due to disposal costs) to a set of positive values depending on demand for it in different industrial applications. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178

may calculate released non-luel product values per unit time, average value per unit ot solid fuel, instantaneous values based on the rate of removal, or the like. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may calculate the value of the treated solid fuel to include the value or cost of the released non-fuel product that was collected from the solid fuel run. For example, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may receive released product information for a particular run of treated solid fuel. The pricing/transactional facility 178 may calculate the overall cost, and therefore the value, of the solid fuel treatment by the calculating the cost to treat the solid fuel and the costs/value of the total released non-fuel product.

[00515] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may contain algorithms to calculate the cost of producing final treated solid fuel, the value of the final treated solid fuel, cost for the disposal of released product materials, value of released product materials, or the like. In an embodiment, the algorithm may include receiving raw solid fuel value from the coal sample data 120, final treated solid fuel cost from the coal output parameters 172, in process treatment costs from the solid fuel treatment facility 132, and the like.

[00516] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may aggregate cost information, value information, or the like for a full solid fuel treatment run or for any portion of a solid fuel treatment run. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may aggregate cost and value information periodically, at the end of a run, on demand for a portion of a run, or the like.

[00517] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may aggregate the value information of the raw solid fuel from the coal sample data 120. In an embodiment, the value of the raw solid fuel may be in value per unit, total value of the entire received raw solid fuel, or the like. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may calculate the value of the raw solid fuel used during treatment by determining the total amount of solid fuel treated during a run or portion of a run and using the value per unit of the raw solid fuel to calculate the total value of the raw solid fuel. In an embodiment, the value of the used raw solid fuel may be an input to the solid fuel value algorithm.

[UU518J In an embodiment, as previously described, the operational parameters may be provided as feedback to the pricing/transactional facility 178 over the run of the solid fuel treatment. In an embodiment, the operational parameters may include costs involved in treating the solid fuel such as electricity used, gas used, oil used, inert gas used, and the like. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may aggregate all the operational costs from the solid fuel treatment run. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may store cost per unit information for all the operation parameters. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may calculate the operational parameter cost for the solid fuel treatment run using the cost per each individual unit and the amount of operational units used. In an embodiment, the operational solid fuel treatment costs may be an input to the solid fuel value algorithm.

[00519] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may aggregate the market value of the solid fuel released products, the cost of disposal of the solid fuel released products, and the like. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may store cost per unit information, market value per unit information, or the like for all the solid fuel released products. In an embodiment, the aggregated released products cost and market value may be input to the solid fuel value algorithm.

[00520] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may store operating profit information. In an embodiment, the operating profit information may be related to the type of solid fuel being treated, the marketability of the treated solid fuel, the amount of treatment the solid fuel required, or the like. In an embodiment, the operational profit may be a percentage of the solid fuel treatment cost, a fixed profit per unit of solid fuel treated, a fixed profit for the unit of solid fuel delivered to a customer, or the like. In an embodiment, the operational profit may be input to the solid fuel value algorithm.

[00521] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may combine the value of the used raw solid fuel, operational costs, cost/market value of the released solid fuel product, operational cost, and the like to determine the final market value of the treated solid fuel. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may store the final market value, report the final market value to the solid fuel treatment facility, report the final market value to a customer, and the like. In an embodiment, the stored solid fuel

market value may be available lor further analysis and calculation, including historical aggregation, querying, data trending, or the like.

[00522] In an embodiment, raw solid fuel may be treated for a particular end- use facility. In embodiments, the end-use facility may one of many end-use customers, a dedicated customer, an end-use facility directly associated with the solid fuel treatment facility 132, or the like. In embodiments, the end-use facility may be coal combustion facility 200, coal conversion facility 210, coal byproduct facility 212, or the like.

[00523] In an embodiment, the coal combustion facility 200 may include a power generation facility 204, metallurgical facility 208, or the like. The power generation facility 204 may include a fixed bed coal combustion facility 220, a pulverized coal combustion facility 222, a fluidized bed combustion facility 224, combination combustion facility using a renewable energy source 228, or the like.

[00524] In an embodiment, the coal conversion facility may include a gasification facility 230, an integrated gasification combined cycle facility 232, a syngas production facility 234, a coke formation facility 238, a purified carbon formation facility 238, a hydrocarbon formation facility 240, or the like.

[00525] In an embodiment, the coal byproduct facility 212 may include a coal combustion byproduct facility 242, coal distillation byproduct facility 244, or the like.

[00526] In an embodiment, the end-use facility may communicate a request for treated solid fuel by placing the solid fuel treat requirements in the coal output parameters 172. The requirements may provide the desired characteristics of the end-use facility solid fuel. In an embodiment, the solid fuel desired characteristics may include percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like.

[00527] In an embodiment, the end-user facility may specify a particular raw solid fuel to treat, allow the solid fuel treatment facility 132 to select the best raw solid fuel to treat, or some combination thereof.

[00528] In an embodiment, once the solid fuel treatment requirements have been input as coal output parameters 172, the solid fuel treatment facility may determine

whether the solid tuel is to be treated by a continuous treatment process, batch process, or other processing method. In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may determine the processing method based on factors including the volume of end-user solid fuel requested, the end user facility solid fuel characteristics required, the raw solid fuel available, capabilities of the different processing methods, or the like. For example, a batch process may be useful for smaller amounts of requested treated solid fuel, while a continuous treatment process may advantageously yield larger amounts. For treated solid fuel with a narrow band of treatment specifications, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may choose a batch process to maintain better control over the output on a characteristic- by-characteristic basis. A person skilled in the art may understand other reasons for choosing either a batch or continuous treatment process to treat the end-user requested solid fuel.

[00529] In an embodiment, the end-user facility may request a particular solid fuel to use, or may request a raw solid fuel with certain characteristics, or may request a range of raw solid fuels as input, or the like. In an embodiment, the end-user facility may have information about the particular lots of raw solid fuel available for treatment in the solid fuel treatment facility 132, and the end-user facility may select one of the raw solid fuels from the available lots. In embodiments, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may provide a listing of available raw solid fuels to the end-user facility, or the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may provide the end-user facility with a list of treated solid fuels that may be produced. Other methods of allowing the end-user to determine the raw solid fuel input will be apparent to skilled artisans. In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may make the final decision regarding raw solid fuel input. In an embodiment, the determination of the raw solid fuel selection may be based on the solid fuel treatment facility 132 capability, the historical treatment of a particular raw solid fuel, properties of the raw solid fuel, or the like.

[00530] In an embodiment, once the solid fuel treatment facility 132 has received the end-user facility requirements, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may select the best match raw solid fuel to produce the requested final treated solid fuel. In an embodiment, the coal sample data 120 may be searched by the parameter generation facility 128 to determine the best match raw solid fuel. In an embodiment, the best match

solid fuel may be selected according to criteria such as the characteristics ot the end-user requested final treated solid fuel, the capability of the continuous treatment facility, the capability of the batch facility, the tolerances of the end-user facility solid fuel requirements, or the like.

[00531] In an embodiment, once a raw solid fuel is selected, the parameter generation facility 128 may determine the parameters that may be used to treat it to attain the characteristics requested by the end-user. As previously described, the parameter generation facility 128 may obtain the final treated solid fuel characteristics from the coal desired characteristics 122, where the coal desired characteristics 122 may be defined by an end-user. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may use algorithms to calculate the operational parameters for the treatment of the raw solid fuel. In an embodiment, the algorithms may consider variables such as the capability of the solid fuel treatment facility 132, the differences between the selected raw solid fuel and the end-user facility required solid fuel, historical results in treating similar raw solid fuel, or the like. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may then set the operational parameters of the belt facility 130 components (e.g. microwave systems 148), the number times the raw solid fuel may be treated, heating rates, cooling rates, atmospheric conditions that may be used during treatment of the solid fuel, removal of released products from the raw solid fuel, and the like. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may transmit the operational parameters to the monitoring facility 134 and controller 144 to control the treatment of the raw solid fuel.

[00532] The parameter generation facility 128 may select the raw solid fuel to use to produce the end-use facility requested solid fuel using various methods that would be apparent to the skilled artisan. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may retrieve the end-use facility solid fuel characteristics from the coal desired characteristics 122. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may use key characteristics from the end-use facility solid fuel characteristics to select the raw solid fuel. In an embodiment, key characteristics of the desired end product may be provided by the end-use facility, or determined by the parameter generation facility 128, or determined by the solid fuel treatment facility 132 capabilities, or the like.

IUU533] 1 he key characteristics may be used to determine the treatment process for the raw solid fuel. In an embodiment, the key characteristics may be ranked in order of importance for the end-use facility solid fuel characteristics. Alternatively, the ranking may be provided by the end-use facility, the parameter generation facility 128, or any other appropriate facility. In an embodiment, the ranking may be ordered according to the final use of the solid fuel. For example, an end-use facility may indicate that a certain moisture level in the final treated solid fuel is required, while other characteristics are less important. Because moisture level would have the highest ranking of desired treated fuel characteristics, settings needed to maintain the desired moisture level would take precedence over other settings.

[00534] In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may use the key characteristics to select the raw solid fuel from the available raw solid fuels. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may use the key characteristics to determine operational parameters for treating the raw solid fuel to produce the end-use facility solid fuel. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may set the operational parameters based only on the key characteristics, or the parameter generation facility 128 may use the key characteristics along with other characteristics for determining operational parameters.

[00535] In an embodiment, the determined operational parameters may be transmitted to the monitoring facility 134, controller 144, or the like. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134, using the belt facility 130 sensors 142, may monitor and adjust the operational parameters during the solid fuel treatment process. In an embodiment, as the solid fuel is treated, the sensors 142 may measure the operational parameters for the key characteristics and transmit the sensor 142 readings to the monitoring facility 134. If the monitoring facility determines that the operational parameters require adjusting to obtain the solid fuel key characteristics, the monitoring facility 134 may transmit the adjusted operational parameters to the controller 144. In an embodiment, the controller 144 may provide control over the belt facility 130 components to treat the solid fuel to the operational parameters.

[00536] In an embodiment, using the treatment feedback loop of the monitoring facility 134, controller 144, and sensors 142, the solid fuel treatment facility

132 processes the raw solid luel into the end-use facility requested solid fuel. In an embodiment, the solid fuel may be processed using a continuous treatment process, a batch process, combination of continuous treatment and batch process, or the like.

[00537] In an embodiment, at the end of the treatment process, the final treated solid fuel may be tested at a testing facility 170 to determine the characteristics of the final treated solid fuel. In an embodiment, the characteristics of the tested solid fuel may be compared to the original end-use facility solid fuel characteristics. In an embodiment, the compared characteristics may be the key characteristics, all the solid fuel characteristics, or combinations or subsets thereof. In an embodiment, the testing facility 170 may determine if the final treated solid fuel is within the required characteristics of the end-use facility required solid fuel. In an embodiment, as the solid fuel is treated, the tested characteristics may be transmitted to the monitoring facility 134. In an embodiment, the monitoring facility 134 may adjust the operational parameters based on the characteristics provided by the testing facility 170.

[00538] In an embodiment, if it is determined that the final treated solid fuel does not meet the requirements of the end-use facility, the final treated solid fuel may be subjected to further treatment in the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, as the solid fuel is treated, the final treated solid fuel may be stored in a temporary storage area until it is determined that it meets the requirements of the end-use facility. When it is determined that the final solid fuel meets the end-use facility requirements, the final solid fuel may be transported to the end-use facility.

[00539] In an embodiment, the tested characteristics of the final treated solid fuel may be stored with the coal output parameters 172. In an embodiment, the stored final treated solid fuel test characteristics may be used for historical purposes, for future selection by the end-use facility as a desired solid fuel, for final verification of the completed treatment of the raw solid fuel into the end-use facility required solid fuel, or for other uses, as would be envisioned by skilled artisans.

[00540] In an embodiment, a transaction may be carried out for treating raw solid fuel for a particular end-use facility. In an embodiment, the transaction may be the calculation of cost for treating raw solid fuel for an end-use facility. In an embodiment, the cost for treating the raw solid fuel may include costs relating to electricity, gas, oil,

inert gas, disposition ot released solid tuel products, transportation ot the raw solid tuel, transportation of the final treated solid fuel to the end-use facility, and the like. In an embodiment, the transaction may include the revenue realized from the treatment of solid fuel, including proceeds from sales of released solid fuel products or final treated solid fuel.

[00541] In an embodiment, each end-use facility request for treated solid fuel may be treated as a transaction. In an embodiment, once the end-use facility communicates the characteristics for the desired final treated solid fuel the pricing/transactional facility 178 may begin aggregating the financial metrics of treating the raw solid fuel to attain the desired characteristics. For example, the pricing/transactional facility may start a cost file, ledger, database, spreadsheet or the like to aggregate the financial metrics (e.g., costs, revenues, profits and losses) associated with the treating of the raw solid fuel.

[00542] In an embodiment, once the parameter generation facility 128 has selected a raw solid fuel, the raw solid fuel identification may be communicated to the pricing/transactional facility 178. Using the raw solid fuel identification, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may retrieve the raw solid fuel cost information from the coal sample data 120. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may store the raw solid fuel cost information to the cost file for a particular treatment run. The cost information may include cost per unit (e.g. cost/ton), total cost of the raw solid fuel, the total number of units available, and the like. Based on the amount of processed solid fuel requested by the end-use facility, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may be able to calculate the cost and cost ratio of the raw solid fuel required to produce the solid fuel as requested by the end-use facility.

[00543] As previously described, the parameter generation facility 128 may generate operational parameters to treat the raw solid fuel and may transmit the operational parameters to the monitoring facility 134, controller 144, or the like. The monitoring facility 134, controller 144, or the like may control the treatment of the raw solid fuel by providing operational information to components such as heaters, belts, microwave systems 148, vents, pumps, removal systems 150, and the like. During the treatment of the raw solid fuel, energy cost may be incurred to operate the various components that may consume electricity, gas, oil, or the like. In an embodiment, the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may have sensors 142 that may measure the operation of the various components. In an embodiment, the sensors 142 may also measure the energy that each of the components consumes during the treatment of the raw solid fuel.

[UU544J In an embodiment, the sensors may transmit the energy use of each component to the pricing/transactional facility 178 during the treatment of the raw solid fuel. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may store the cost per unit for the various energy types and may be able to convert the energy usage of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 in to cost values. For example, the sensors may transmit data about the number of kilowatts used by the microwave systems 148 to the pricing/transactional facility 178, which has access to information about the cost per kilowatt. Using these usage data and this pricing information, the pricing transactional facility 178 may calculate the cost of operating the microwave systems 148 to treat a given lot of raw solid fuel. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may aggregate the cost of treating the raw solid fuel during the treatment run and may store these aggregated costs in the cost file for the end-use facility solid fuel treatment. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may aggregate the costs related to a number of treatment runs for further calculations and analysis.

[00545] In an embodiment, additional cost and profits/losses may be associated with non-fuel products that are collected during the processing of the raw solid fuel. In an embodiment, during the treatment of the raw solid fuel, non-fuel products may be obtained, such as water, sulfur, ash, and the like. Some of these collected non-fuel products may have market value, so that they may be sold (e.g. sulfur). There may not be a market for certain other non-fuel products, so that they require disposal at a cost.

[00546] In an embodiment, sensors 142 may measure the amount of released non-fuel products collected in the containment facility 162, treatment facility 160, disposal facility 158, and the like. These sensors 142 may then transit data regarding the amount of such products to the pricing/transactional facility 178. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may store information about the market value, disposal cost, and the like of the various non-fuel products and may calculate the costs and profits/losses associated with each profit or cost of each of the released products. For example, the monitoring facility 134, controller 144, sensors 142, or the like may indicate to the pricing/transactional facility 178 that a certain amount of sulfur (a non-fuel product) has been collected and is available to be sold. The pricing/transactional facility 178 may arrange for the sale of the collected sulfur and its subsequent transfer to a sulfur using enterprise. Subsequently, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may calculate the coal treatment facility's 132 cost of producing the sulfur, or may calculate the revenues from the sulfur sale as a function of production cost, or may perform other financial calculations that would be apparent to skilled artisans.

[UU547J Calculations regarding costs, profits/losses, anticipated revenues and the like may also be performed at any point during the coal treatment as non-fuel products are collected, using, for example, actual data or projections about the market prices for the particular non-fuel products being tracked, so that a projected set of production costs, revenues, profits/losses and the like may be obtained. Actual figures obtained after the sale and/or transfer of the non-fuel product may be compared with projections, or projections may be compared with historical actual figures. Other uses for and combinations of real-time, projected and historical financial information will be readily apparent to skilled artisans. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may store financial information regarding the non-fuel products (including production costs, revenues, and the like) in a cost file for the end-use facility solid fuel treatment.

[00548] In an embodiment, based on the end-use facility location, the amount of final treated solid fuel, the transportation method to transport the solid fuel, and the like, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may calculate the transportation cost to transport the processed fuel to the end-use facility. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may use data about transportation costs to calculate the total cost for the end-use facility solid fuel. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may store the transportation costs in the cost file for the end-use facility solid fuel treatment.

[00549] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may determine the operational profit/loss for the treatment of the raw solid fuel into the requested end-use facility solid fuel. A number of algorithms are available to determine this operational profit/loss, as would be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art. For example, the operational profit/loss may be determined as a percentage of the total cost to treat the raw solid fuel, or as a set profit/loss per unit of treated solid fuel. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may store the operational profit in the cost file for the end-use facility solid fuel treatment.

[00550] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may receive an indication from the monitoring facility 134, controller 144, sensors 142, or the like that the treatment of the raw solid fuel for the end-use facility is complete. In an embodiment, at the indication that the raw solid fuel treatment is complete, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may aggregate all the solid fuel treatment cost and profits/losses for the final end-use facility solid fuel value. In an embodiment, the aggregation of the cost and profits may use standard accounting practices. In an embodiment, the final end-use solid fuel value may be transmitted to the end-use facility.

Alternatively, as described above, the pπcmg/transactional facility may provide projections about costs, profits/losses, anticipated revenues and the like throughout the course of treatment, allowing the end-use facility to make economic decisions during the processing itself.

[00551] In an embodiment, solid fuel information may be stored in at least one storage facility as a database. In an embodiment the at least one storage facility may be a hard drive, a CD drive, a DVD drive, a flash drive, a zip drive, a tape drive, or the like. In an embodiment, the at least one storage facility may be a single storage facility, a plurality of local storage facilities, a plurality of distributed storage facilities, a combination of local and distributed storage facilities, or the like. In an embodiment, the databases may be a database, a relational database, SQL database, a table, a file, a flat file, an ASCII file, a document, an XML file, or the like.

[00552] In an embodiment, the solid fuel information may be information relating to raw received solid fuel, end-use facility desired solid fuel characteristics, solid fuel treatment facility 130 operational parameters, final treated solid fuel testing information, or the like. The solid fuel information may be stored in facilities such as a coal sample data 120, a coal desired characteristics 122, a coal output parameters 172, a parameter generation facility 128, a monitoring facility 134, a controller 148, or the like.

[00553] In an embodiment, the coal sample data 120 may store the raw solid fuel characteristics as a database for access by facilities such as the parameter generation facility 128, the coal desired characteristics 122, pricing/transactional facility 178, or the like. In an embodiment, the coal characteristics may include percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like. These solid fuel characteristics may be provided by a mine 102, a storage facility 112, a testing facility 170, or the like. In an embodiment, the characteristics in the database may describe the starting condition of the solid fuel prior to treatment into an end-use facility solid fuel.

[00554] In an embodiment, the coal sample data 120 database may be searchable to allow the retrieval of raw solid fuel information. In an embodiment, the raw solid fuel information may be retrieved by the parameter generation facility 128 to select the raw solid fuel to use for the treatment transformation into the end-use facility solid fuel. In an embodiment, the stored raw solid fuel information database may contain a single record for each raw solid fuel or a

plurality oi records tor each raw solid tuel. In an embodiment, there may be a plurality ot records as a result of raw solid fuel periodic samples, statistical samples, random samples, or the like. In an embodiment, when the coal sample data 120 is searched, more than one matching record may be returned for each raw solid fuel.

[00555] In an embodiment, the coal desired characteristics 122 may store the end- user solid fuel characteristics, treated solid fuel characteristics based on available raw solid fuel, historical treated solid fuel characteristics, or the like as a database for access by the parameter generation facility 128, the coal sample data 120, coal output parameters 172, or the like. In an embodiment, the coal characteristics may include percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like. These solid fuel characteristics may be provided by facilities such as the parameter generation facility 122, coal output parameters 172, end-use facility, or the like. In an embodiment, the characteristics in the database may describe the final condition of the treated solid fuel after treatment of a raw solid fuel.

[00556] In an embodiment, the coal desired characteristics 122 database may be searchable to allow the retrieval of the final treated solid fuel information. In an embodiment, the final treated solid fuel information may be retrieved by the parameter generation facility 128 to select the end-use facility solid fuel characteristics for generation of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 operation parameters. In an embodiment, the stored final treated solid fuel information database may contain a single record for each solid fuel or a plurality of records for each solid fuel. In an embodiment, there may be a plurality of records as a result of periodic samples, statistical samples, random samples, or the like. In an embodiment, when the coal desired characteristics 122 is searched, more than one matching record may be returned for each raw solid fuel.

[00557] In an embodiment, using the coal sample data 120 and the coal desired characteristics 122, the parameter generation facility 128 may generate solid fuel treatment facility 132 operational parameters. The operational parameters may be a data set for the control of the various components of the solid fuel treatment facility 132 for the treatment of raw solid fuel into end-use facility solid fuel. The operational parameters may be stored in a database in any relevant facility, including the parameter generation facility 128, monitoring facility 134, or controller 144. In addition to the operational parameters, the parameter generation facility 128 may generate a set of tolerances for each functionality that may be stored in the same database as

the operational parameters or that may be stored in a separate database. In an embodiment, the combined data sets of the operational parameters and the tolerances may provide substantially all of the requirements for control of the solid fuel treatment.

[00558] In an embodiment, the treatment process may be directed by the operational parameters, with sensor 142 measurements being used to determine whether a particular solid fuel treatment facility 132 component is functioning within the preset tolerances. Based on the sensor 142 measurement, the operation of a particular component may be adjusted so that it falls within the tolerance limits. In addition, operational parameters may be adjusted so that the function of particular components falls within preset limits. For example, the operational parameter for the microwave system 148 may be adjusted from the original operational parameter if a sensor 142 measurement is beyond either the low or high limit of the tolerance for the microwave system 148. In an embodiment, the operational parameter database may be modified to match the adjustment to the operational parameter transmitted to the component.

[00559] In an embodiment, after the final treatment of the solid fuel is completed, the monitoring facility 134 may transmit the final modified operational parameter database to the parameter generation facility 128, where the modified operational parameters may be stored. In an embodiment, the stored modified operational parameters may be associated with the stored characteristics of the raw solid fuel that was treated using the modified operational parameters. According to this embodiment, when a similar future raw solid fuel is to be treated, the parameter generation facility 128 may search the stored modified operational database to retrieve a data set to use as the initial operational parameters. In embodiments, a single operational parameter record may be retrieved, a range of modified operational parameters may be retrieved, or a set of modified operational parameters may be retrieved, so that the initial operational parameters for processing a new raw solid fuel may use an average of the modified operational parameters, a single operational parameter record, a statistical aggregation of the modified operational files, or the like.

[00560] As described above, after the solid fuel has been treated in the solid fuel treatment facility 132, the treated solid fuel may be tested at a testing facility 170 to determine the final treated solid fuel treatment characteristics. In an embodiment, the final treated characteristics may include percent moisture, percent ash, percentage of volatiles, fixed-carbon percentage, BTU/lb, BTU/lb M-A Free, forms of sulfur, Hardgrove grindability index (HGI), total mercury, ash fusion temperatures, ash mineral analysis, electromagnetic absorption/reflection, dielectric properties, and the like. In an embodiment, the final solid fuel characteristics may be stored in the coal output parameters 172. In an embodiment, the

characteristic data may be used to provide feedback to the monitoring tacility 134 tor control ot the solid fuel treatment process, may be associated to the coal desired characteristics 122, may provide data to the pricing/transactional facility 178, or the like.

[00561] In an embodiment, during a solid fuel treatment run, at least one set of final treated solid fuel treatment characteristics data may be stored in the coal output parameters 172. As previously described, the final treated solid fuel treatment characteristics may be transmitted to the monitoring facility 134 as an added data set for the monitoring facility 134 to consider when adjusting the operational parameters of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, the final treated solid fuel treatment characteristics may be associated with the coal desired characteristics 122 for determining operational parameters for a particular raw solid fuel.

[00562] For example, the parameter generation facility 128 may be requested to determine the operational parameters for processing a particular raw solid fuel. The parameter generation facility 128 may search the coal desired characteristics 122 for a final treated solid fuel that resulted from previous treatment of the selected raw solid fuel. The parameter generation facility 128 may also retrieve the final tested characteristics from a solid fuel run that may have produced the final treated solid fuel. The parameter generation facility 128 may consider all of this information when determining the raw solid fuel operational parameters.

[00563] In embodiments, the parameter generation facility 128 may aggregate a set of solid fuel characteristics for a plurality of solid fuel samples, aggregate a set of specifications for solid fuel substrates used by a set of end-user facilities, aggregate a set of operational parameters used to transform a raw solid fuel into a solid fuel used by an end-use facility, or the like. In an embodiment, the aggregation of the databases may result in the generation of a plurality of predetermined solid fuel treatment facility 132 operational parameters. The predetermined plurality of operational parameters may be used for later selection by the solid fuel treatment facility 132 for the treatment of raw solid fuel for the end-use facility. In an embodiment, the databases may be a database, a relational database, SQL database, a table, a file, a flat file, an ASCII file, a document, an XML file, or the like. As described above and depicted in Figs. 1 and 2, the end-use facility may be coal combustion facility 200, coal conversion facility 210, coal byproduct facility 212, or the like.

[00564] In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 120 may aggregate a set of raw solid fuel characteristics for a plurality of solid fuel samples from the coal sample data 120. In an embodiment, the coal sample data 120 may contain information for raw solid fuel that may be available to the solid fuel treatment facility 132, may contain information for the historical raw solid fuel that has been used by the solid fuel treatment facility 132, or the like.

lhere may be more than one data record tor each raw solid tuel m the coal sample data 121) resulting from the same raw solid fuel having a plurality of sample test results. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may aggregate the set of raw solid fuel characteristics based on the available raw solid fuel, recently treated raw solid fuel, a set of raw solid fuels selected by the solid fuel treatment facility 132, or the like.

[00565] In an embodiment, the aggregated database of raw solid fuel characteristics may contain a plurality of duplicate records that contain information from the same raw solid fuel; the plurality of duplicate records may be a result of a plurality of samples taken from the same raw solid fuel. In an embodiment, the aggregation of the database of raw solid fuel characteristics may have several steps. A first step may involve the total aggregation of the sample solid fuel data into an aggregated raw solid fuel database. In a second step, the parameter generation facility 128 may use an algorithm to sort the records, handle the duplicate records, store the finalized raw solid fuel database to a storage device, and the like. In embodiments, the duplicate records may be deleted from the raw solid fuel database, the duplicate records may be averaged, the duplicate records may be statistically selected, or the like. In an embodiment, the finalized raw solid fuel database may contain all the records raw solid fuels that may be transformed into end-use facility solid fuel.

[00566] In a similar manner, the end-use facility solid fuel information may be aggregated into a final treated solid fuel database. In an embodiment, the end-use facility solid fuel information may be stored in the coal desired characteristics 122 database. In an embodiment, the coal desired characteristics 122 database may contain characteristic information on final treated solid fuel requested by end-use facilities, historical characteristic information of previous final treated solid fuels, and the like. In an embodiment, the aggregated final treated solid fuel database may contain a plurality of records that contain information pertaining to the same final treated solid fuel; the plurality of duplicate records may be a result of a plurality of samples taken from the same final treated solid fuel taken during the treatment of the solid fuel.

[00567] In an embodiment, the aggregation of the final treated solid fuel database may have several steps. A first step may involve the total aggregation of the sample solid fuel data into a final treated solid fuel database. In a second step, the parameter generation facility 128 may use an algorithm to sort the records, handle the duplicate records, store the finalized final treated solid fuel database to a storage device, and the like. In an embodiment, the duplicate records may be deleted from the final treated solid fuel database, the duplicate records may be averaged, the duplicate records may be statistically selected, or the like. In an embodiment, the

rmalized imal treated solid tuel database may contain all the records ot rmal treated solid fuels that may have been treated by the solid fuel treatment facility 132.

[00568] In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may use the aggregated raw solid fuel database and the aggregated final treated database to obtain a set of operational parameters used to transform raw solid fuel into a final treated solid fuel used by an end-use facility.

[00569] In an embodiment, the operational parameters may be determined by the parameter generation facility 128 selecting a raw solid fuel characteristic record from the aggregated raw solid fuel database and matching it to each of the final treated solid fuel aggregated database records to calculate operational parameters for each of the matched records. In an embodiment, as the operational parameters are determined for the matched records, the operational parameters may be stored in the aggregated operational parameter database. For example, if there are fifty raw solid fuels in the raw solid fuel aggregated database and one hundred final treated solid fuels in the final solid fuel aggregated database, each of the fifty raw solid fuels may be matched to each of the one hundred final solid fuels for determination of the operational parameters that would be required to transform the raw solid fuel into the desired solid fuel. This may result in five thousand aggregated operational parameter records.

[00570] In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may determine that a certain raw solid fuel cannot be transformed into a final treated solid fuel and therefore may not determine operational parameters for that particular match of solid fuels.

[00571] In another embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may select a raw solid fuel characteristic record from the aggregated raw solid fuel database and determine the final treated solid fuel that may be transformed by the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may determine the operational parameters for each raw solid fuel characteristic records in the aggregated raw solid fuel database. In an embodiment, the operational parameters may be determined by the operational capabilities of the solid fuel treatment facility 132. In an embodiment, the operational parameters for each of the raw solid fuel characteristic records may be stored in the aggregated operational parameter database.

[00572] In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may determine operational parameters by matching the raw solid fuel characteristics with final treated characteristics, by using solid fuel treatment facility 132 capability to determine operational characteristics from the raw solid fuel characteristics, or the like. In an embodiment the operational parameter determination methods may be used individually or in combination.

[UU573J In an embodiment, the aggregated operational parameters may be stored to be selected at a later time for the treatment of a raw solid fuel into an end-use facility solid fuel. In an embodiment, the aggregated operational parameters database may also store the raw solid fuel and final treated solid fuel information that was used to create the operational parameters. Therefore the aggregated operational parameter database may include the operational parameters, raw solid fuel characteristics, final treated solid fuel characteristics, or the like. The raw solid fuel characteristics and final treated solid fuel characteristics may include an identification of the solid fuel.

[00574] In an embodiment, if an end-use facility requests a certain final solid fuel from a solid fuel treatment facility 132, the parameter generation facility 128 may match the requested final solid fuel characteristics to one of the final treated solid fuels whose characteristics have been stored in the appropriate database. In an embodiment, the matching of the end-use facility requested solid fuel to the aggregated final treated solid fuels may be by best match, by key characteristic, by ranking of the most important solid fuel characteristics, or the like.

[00575] In an embodiment, after finding a match for the end-use facility requested solid fuel, the parameter generation facility 128 may select all the possible raw solid fuels that may be used to create the end-use facility solid fuel, may select all the possible operational parameters that may be used to create the end-use solid fuel, or the like. In an embodiment, using all of the possible raw solid fuels that may be used to create the end-use facility solid fuel, the parameter generation facility 128 may search the coal sample data 120 to determine which, if any, of the possible raw solid fuels are available. In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may select a raw solid fuel from the coal sample data 120 that is within a certain tolerance of the needed raw solid fuel. If at least one of the raw solid fuels is available to the solid fuel treatment facility 132, the parameter generation facility 128 may select the stored operational parameters that match the selected raw solid fuel and the end-use facility solid fuel. The selected operational parameters may be transmitted to the monitoring facility 134 and the controller 144 for treatment of the selected raw solid fuel into the end-use facility solid fuel.

[00576] In an embodiment, a method of modeling costs associated with processing solid fuel for a specific end-use facility may be performed by providing a

database containing a set ot solid tuel characteristics tor a plurality ot solid tuel samples, a set of specifications for solid fuel substrates used by a set of end-user facilities, a set of operational parameters used to transform a solid fuel sample into a solid fuel substrate used by an end-user, a set of costs associated with implementation of the set of operational parameters, and the like. In an embodiment, the cost modeling may be used to provide a variety of cost reports, such as invoice estimates to an end-use facility for solid fuel treatment, internal cost estimates to compare to actual treatment costs, cost/value predictions, solid fuel treatment facility 132 efficiency, or the like. In an embodiment, the databases may be a database, a relational database, SQL database, a table, a file, a flat file, an ASCII file, a document, an XML file, or the like.

[00577] In embodiments, the end-use facility may be coal combustion facility 200, coal conversion facility 210, coal byproduct facility 212, or the like.

[00578] A solid fuel treatment facility 132 may utilize a method of modeling the value of the treatment solid fuel for a specific end-use facility. In an embodiment, an end-use facility may request that a solid fuel treatment facility treat raw solid fuel into a final solid fuel with particular characteristics. The end-use facility may not indicate the starting raw solid fuel to use; the solid fuel treatment facility 132 may select the appropriate raw solid fuel based on the end-use facility solid fuel characteristics.

[00579] In an embodiment, the end-use facility characteristics may be transmitted and stored in the coal desired characteristics 122. The pricing/transactional facility may receive notification that the characteristics have been transmitted to the coal desired characteristics 122.

[00580] In an embodiment, once there is notification that the solid fuel characteristics have been received, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may request that the parameter generation facility 128 identify the raw solid fuel to transform into the end- use facility solid fuel. As previously described, the parameter generation facility 128 may determine the proper raw solid fuel by knowing the required characteristics and the solid fuel treatment facility 132 capability, by retrieving solid fuel treatment history to determine a starting raw solid fuel, by querying a database of possible raw solid fuels and operational parameters from a predetermined database, or the like.

[UU581J In an embodiment, once the parameter generation facility 128 has selected an available raw solid fuel suitable for transformation into the end-use facility solid fuel, the parameter generation facility 128 may query the coal sample data 120 for the available raw solid fuel characteristics.

[00582] In an embodiment, the parameter generation facility 128 may transmit the identification and characteristic information for the raw solid fuel, the identification and characteristic information for the end-user facility solid fuel, the operational parameters for transforming the raw solid fuel into the end-use facility solid fuel, and the like to the pricing/transactional facility 178. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may have a database associating operational cost with the operational parameters for a particular set of solid fuels. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may be able to model the operation of the solid fuel treatment facility 132, providing for the virtual treatment of the raw solid fuel into the end-use solid fuel using the operational parameters from the parameter generation facility 128. Using the operational parameters, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may be able to determine the volume of solid fuel treated per time period, the amount of energy used, the amount of inert gases used, the amount of released solid fuel product, and the like. For example, the model may be able to determine the solid fuel tons per hour produced by using a given operational parameter for the belt speed or the size of the batch facility. In another example, the model may be able to calculate the amount of electricity the microwave systems 148 require based on the operation parameter settings.

[00583] In an embodiment, using the operational parameters, the pricing/transactional facility 178 model may determine a value for the completed transformation of the raw solid fuel into the end-use facility solid fuel, an instantaneous value at any time during the solid fuel transformation, an incremental value added by any of the various solid fuel treatment facility 132 components, or the like.

[00584] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may model the solid fuel treatment facility 132 on a user interface on a computer device. In an embodiment, the user interface may present tools to allow a user to run the model, stop the model, pause the model, resume the model, reverse the model, run the model in slower time, run the model in faster time, focus in on a particular component, or the like.

In an embodiment, the tocus on a particular component may provide additional information to the user, for example a drill down of information for the particular component. In an embodiment, the information derived from the modeling may be presented in graphic form or in any other output format that would be requested by a user.

[00585] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may be able to report the information from the model for the value of the completed transformation of the raw solid fuel into the end-use facility solid fuel, for an instantaneous value at any time during the solid fuel transformation, for the incremental value added by any of the various solid fuel treatment facility 132 components, or the like. In an embodiment, the report may be a printed report, a viewed report, a document report, a database, a spreadsheet, a file, or the like. The reports may show a summary, detail by time, detail by component, or the like.

[00586] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may have at least one database that contains the cost assumptions associated with the model of the solid fuel treatment. For example, the database may have the electrical rates for the microwave systems 148, the cost per cubic foot of the inert gases, the human resource cost for monitoring the solid fuel treatment facility 132, the cost/value of the released solid fuel product recovered by the removal system 150, cost/value of the raw solid fuel used, and the like. These costs may represent the assumptions used in the modeling. In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178 may apply the cost assumptions to the model for the determination of the cost/value of the treated end-use facility solid fuel.

[00587] In an embodiment, the pricing/transactional facility 178, using the solid fuel treatment facility 132 model, may provide the end-use facility an estimate of the pricing value of the requested treated solid fuel. The estimate may be based on the model using the operational parameters, costs and pricing value for the operational parameters, and the like. In an embodiment, the estimated pricing value may be for the specific end-use facility requested solid fuel using a particular raw solid fuel.

[00588] While the invention has been disclosed in connection with the preferred embodiments shown and described in detail, various modifications and improvements thereon will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art.

Accordingly, the spirit and scope ot the present invention is not to be limited by the foregoing examples, but is to be understood in the broadest sense allowable by law.

[00589] All documents referenced herein are hereby incorporated by reference.