Event Title

Humic Acid Extraction from Powder River Basin Coal

Department

Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. David Bell

Description

Extraction of humic acids from Powder River Basin (PRB) coal to develop agricultural supplements as an alternative use for coal was our goal with this Senior Design Project. The result concluded that extraction from coal can be performed. The extraction method takes solid, surface coal and crushes it. Then potassium hydroxide and sulfuric acid are added in separate reaction vessels to precipitate out the humic acid from the other salts. The coal will be taken out and sold as a byproduct, as well the other salts. The generation of the acid is done onsite and much of our steam and water is recycled within our process. The economic benefit of this project comes from the region of location. Wyoming has dry arid soil and a surplus of surface coal. This provides an alternative use for the coal that can’t be used, as well as improving the fertility of soil. Our 15-year project life yields a net present value at a discount factor of 10% to be $228 million and an IRR of 29.9%. The biggest risk factor for this project happens to be the market. Coal, acids, bases, and fertilizers all depend on the global economy and market. Other risk factors include environmental permitting and safety mitiation. In conclusion, the plant design has proven to be economical, beneficial, and profitable and humic acid extraction is a promising fertilizer for the future that could benefit the coal, as well as the agricultural, industry.

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Humic Acid Extraction from Powder River Basin Coal

Extraction of humic acids from Powder River Basin (PRB) coal to develop agricultural supplements as an alternative use for coal was our goal with this Senior Design Project. The result concluded that extraction from coal can be performed. The extraction method takes solid, surface coal and crushes it. Then potassium hydroxide and sulfuric acid are added in separate reaction vessels to precipitate out the humic acid from the other salts. The coal will be taken out and sold as a byproduct, as well the other salts. The generation of the acid is done onsite and much of our steam and water is recycled within our process. The economic benefit of this project comes from the region of location. Wyoming has dry arid soil and a surplus of surface coal. This provides an alternative use for the coal that can’t be used, as well as improving the fertility of soil. Our 15-year project life yields a net present value at a discount factor of 10% to be $228 million and an IRR of 29.9%. The biggest risk factor for this project happens to be the market. Coal, acids, bases, and fertilizers all depend on the global economy and market. Other risk factors include environmental permitting and safety mitiation. In conclusion, the plant design has proven to be economical, beneficial, and profitable and humic acid extraction is a promising fertilizer for the future that could benefit the coal, as well as the agricultural, industry.