Maria Mastalerz
Geological Research at the IGS

Characterization of Indiana's coal resource: Availability of the reserves, physical and chemical properties of the coal, and present and potential uses

Status Start Date End Date Locations
completed Oct 1, 2003 Jul 31, 2004 All Counties
Director: Maria Mastalerz
Other Researchers:
Issue: Sustainable mining and optimal utilization of Indiana coal in an environmentally sound manner is critical for the continued health and growth of the state's economy. To accomplish this, properties of Indiana's coal must be well understood and this information conveyed to traditional and new potential customers. Preliminary research has demonstrated that coals in the Indiana part of the Illinois Basin possess some unique characteristics that set them apart from coals found in the surrounding states. For example, substantial resources of low-sulfur coals, relatively low contents of selected trace elements, and good coking properties of some coals are examples of state-specific attractive characteristics of Indiana coals.
Objective: Many key questions remain regarding the character of Indiana coals including: where are the reserves of low-sulfur coal; how much coal is available for mining; what factors control the ash and moisture content; what geological characteristics influence the occurrence of methane in some of the coals; which coals generate favorable byproducts; and where are the coal beds that are best suited for carbon sequestration? Additionally, there may be unrecognized properties of Indiana coals that could be exploited by emerging industries such as biotechnology, electronics, ceramics, or chemistry. The objective of this project is to produce a comprehensive report for the Center for Coal Technology Research documenting the physical and chemical characteristics of Indiana coal, with a special emphasis on the properties that are unique to Indiana and that our state can capitalize upon.
Approach: Collect all the data on coal geometries, structures, and coal quality from all the existing sources.
Products: A comprehensive report summarizing coal availability and coal quality, with summary tables and maps produced using geographic information system (GIS) software was published. See M. Mastalerz, A. Drobniak, J. Rupp, and N. Shaffer, 2004, Characterization of Indiana's Coal Resource: Availability of the Reserves, Physical and Chemical Properties of the Coal, and Present and Potential Uses, Indiana Geological Survey Open-File Study 04-02, available as a report and on CD-ROM.
Benefits: Furthering our understanding of the complex role that coal plays in the state's economic and environmental health can help lead toward a progressive and prosperous future for the state.

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