Dissolution and dispersion of coal in ionic liquids

Paul Painter, Nuerxida Pulati, Ruveyda Cetiner, Maria Sobkowiak, Gareth D. Mitchell, Jonathan P. Mathews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


In "good" solvents such as pyridine, coal particles swell and fracture to some degree as soluble material is extracted, but they remain as more-or-less coherent particles. It is shown here that certain ionic liquids (ILs) are capable of solubilizing, disintegrating, and dispersing certain coals as very fine particles to a remarkable extent. The solubility of two coals, a Powder River Basin coal and an Illinois No. 6 coal, also increased significantly in IL/N-methyl pyrrolidinone (NMP) and IL/pyridine mixtures, relative to the solubility of the coals inNMPand pyridine.Athird coal, Upper Freeport, gave yields that were lower than those obtained in pyridine alone. This coal may be anomalous in its behavior. It is suggested that many if not most coals are densely cross-linked networks where a portion of soluble material remains trapped, even upon swelling in good solvents, which fracture and only partially fragment coals at ambient temperatures. Certain ILs fragment and disperse some coals to a much greater extent, however, apparently releasing much of this trapped material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1848-1853
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 18 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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