Dust-control polymers help make coal greener

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In South Africa, LignoTech has developed a biobased dust-suppression product, Dustex P, which contains natural organic polymers that bind to coal particles. The release of particulate matter in the mining, stockpiling, transportation, and processing of coal has historically been controlled with large volumes of water. Dustex P provides an alternative in water-scarce sub-Saharan Africa.

Tests show that at wind speeds of up to 50 km/h, Dustex P reduces the loss of coal particles smaller than 4 mm in diameter by up to 96%. The organic polymers decompose upon coal firing and are readily biodegradable.

Dustex P also prevents gravel loss on non-tarred roads. “This in turn, improves road safety, makes travelling more comfortable, and decreases vehicle operating costs and cost of road maintenance,” says LignoTech.

LignoTech South Africa is a 50:50 joint venture between Sappi Southern Africa and Borregaard AS of Norway.