a variety of smaller boiler designs and some U.S. households continue to burn coal for space heating (EIA, 1994a). The primary use of coal not combusted directly is the production of metallurgical coke, which is both the fuel and the source of the reducing agent (carbon monoxide) in smelting various ores. The most important application of metallurgical coke is for reduction of iron ores in blast furnaces. EIA projections (reference case) of domestic coal consumption for these applications through 2010 are shown in Table 3-9. Data on coal use for electricity generation are included for comparison.

The only anticipated growth in demand (except for electricity generation) is industrial steam, due largely to growth in coal use for cogeneration in the chemical and food processing industries. The utilization of coke in the iron and steel industry is steadily diminishing for several reasons. First, improvements in blast furnace technology have significantly reduced the amount of coke required to produce a ton of iron. Second, there has been a major shift away from the use of blast furnaces toward the use of electric furnaces that use scrap steel. This change has reduced the demand for freshly produced pig iron or steel, reducing the need for coke. Third, the domestic iron and steel industry has suffered from competition with imported steel products, further reducing the domestic use of coke. No major upturn in the demand for metallurgical coke is foreseen for the periods of interest to this study.

The conversion of coal to metallurgical coke yields by-product hydrocarbon mixtures commonly known as coal tar. The value of coal tar as a source of chemicals or synthesis material for other products began to be recognized in the 1870s. For about 75 years, until the end of World War II, virtually the entire organic chemical industry was based on the utilization of coal tar. However, in the past half-century the organic chemical industry has derived substances principally from petroleum and natural gas, although coal tar is still a useful source of certain specialty chemicals, such as aromatic hydrocarbons with multiple fused aromatic rings, and coal tar pitch has some niche applications that cannot be satisfied by petroleum-derived pitch. When imported petroleum increases in cost, coal could once again become a source of chemical products, though any large

TABLE 3-9 Projections for Domestic Coal Consumption by End Use, 1990-2010 (million short tons)a

End Use

1990

1992

2000

2005

2010

Residential and commercial

7

6

6

6

5

Industrial

76

74

87

94

101

Coke plants

39

32

28

24

21

Electricity generation

774

780

837

862

950

a Data for 1990 and 1992 are actual rather than projected values.

Source: EIA (1994a).



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