The World Bank

Coke Manufacturing Industry - Pollution Prevention Guidelines


Courtesy of The World Bank


Pollution Prevention Guidelines to provide technical advice and guidance to staff and consultants involved in pollution-related projects. The guidelines represent state-of-the-art thinking on how to reduce pollution emissions from the production process. In many cases, the guidelines provide numerical targets for reducing pollution, as well as maximum emissions levels that are normally achievable through a combination of cleaner production and end-of-pipe treatment. The guidelines are designed to protect human health; reduce mass loadings to the environment; draw on commercially proven technologies; be cost-effective; follow current regulatory trends; and promote good industrial practices, which offer greater productivity and increased energy efficiency.

Table of Contents

  • Industry Description and Practices
  • Waste Characteristics
  • Pollution Prevention and Control
  • Target Pollution Loads
  • Treatment Technologies
  • Emissions Guidelines
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Key Issues
  • Sources

Industry Description and Practices

Coke and coke by-products, including coke oven gas, are produced by the pyrolysis (heating in the absence of air) of suitable grades of coal. The process also includes the processing of coke oven gas to remove tar, ammonia (usually recovered as ammonium sulfate), phenol, naphthalene, light oil, and sulfur before the gas is used as fuel for heating the ovens. This document covers the production of metallurgical coke and the associated by-products using intermittent horizontal retorts.

In the coke-making process, bituminous coal is fed (usually after processing operations to control the size and quality of the feed) into a series of ovens, which are sealed and heated at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen, typically in cycles lasting 14 to 36 hours. Volatile compounds that are driven off the coal are collected and processed to recover combustible gases and other by-products. The solid carbon remaining in the oven is coke. It is taken to the quench tower, where it is cooled with a water spray or by circulating an inert gas (nitrogen), a process known as dry quenching. The coke is screened and sent to a blast furnace or to storage.

Coke oven gas is cooled, and by-products are recovered. Flushing liquor, formed from the cooling of coke oven gas, and liquor from primary coolers contain tar and are sent to a tar decanter. An electrostatic precipitator is used to remove more tar from coke oven gas. The tar is then sent to storage. Ammonia liquor is also separated from the tar decanter and sent to wastewater treatment after ammonia recovery. Coke oven gas is further cooled in a final cooler. Naphthalene is removed in the separator on the final cooler. Light oil is then removed from the coke oven gas and is fractionated to recover benzene, toluene, and xylene. Some facilities may include an onsite tar distillation unit. The Claus process is normally used to recover sulfur from coke oven gas. During the coke quenching, handling, and screening operation, coke breeze is produced. It is either reused on site (e.g., in the sinter plant) or sold off site as a by-product.

Waste Characteristics

The coke oven is a major source of fugitive air emissions. The coking process emits particulate matter (PM); volatile organic compounds (VOCs); polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); methane, at approximately 100 grams per metric ton (g/t) of coke; ammonia; carbon monoxide; hydrogen sulfide (50–80 g/t of coke from pushing operations); hydrogen cyanide; and sulfur oxides, SOx (releasing 30% of sulfur in the feed). Significant amount of VOCs may also be released in by-product recovery operations.

For every ton of coke produced, approximately 0.7 to 7.4 kilograms (kg) of PM, 2.9 kg of SOx (ranging from 0.2 to 6.5 kg), 1.4 kg of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 0.1 kg of ammonia, and 3 kg of VOCs (including 2 kg of benzene) may be released into the atmosphere if there is no vapor recovery system. Coal-handling operations may account for about 10% of the particulate load. Coal charging, coke pushing, and quenching are major sources of dust emissions.

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