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Description: Wyoming thermal coal production has dropped by over 53% since its peak in 2008 and national utility demand has dropped 58%. Efforts are accelerating to develop ‘clean coal’ technologies that convert Wyoming coal into non-fuel and energy products in a sustainable way. A chemical and pyrolytic process has been developed at UW to create activated carbon at low costs.
Coal char is related to the longer studied line of research and development on biochar, a similar product. Biochar is produced from the conversion of plant material to activated carbon using pyrolysis. Both biochar and now coal char have been or potentially can be used in building materials, agricultural soil additives, and other technical uses.
This study will evaluate the use of coal char as an agricultural soil additive. The objectives of the study are to:
The student will become familiar with risk analysis of the agricultural production system, and how the science around the two categories of char affect input use and outputs. They will also become familiar with stochastic life-cycle analysis techniques and farm-level linear programming.