Researchers at Purdue University’s Calumet campus in Hammond, Indiana created a new less-expensive process for producing coke, a derivative of coal used in the making of steel, and received a U.S. patent for their discovery. Patent number 8,287,696 was awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in October to Purdue-Calumet physics professor Robert Kramer and four other inventors.
The Purdue-Calumet process uses enhanced blending techniques that meet coke quality requirements and also generate gas from the pyrolysis stage in the process with other potential economic benefits. “By using lower cost Indiana/Illinois Basin coal, net coal coke costs can be reduced,” says Kramer, who is also director of the university’s Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center. Kramer calculates, “producing coke with a blend that includes 20 to 40 percent of Indiana/Illinois coal would reduce overall production costs significantly.”