Metallurgical coke is made from low ash, low sulfur bituminous coal, with special coking properties, which is inserted into ovens and heated to 1000F to fuse fixed carbon and inherent ash and drive off most of the volatile matter. The final product is a nearly pure carbon source with sizes ranging from basketballs (foundry coke) to a fine powder.
Metallurgical coal is a special type of coal used to make metallurgical coke. There are two types of metallurgical coal used to make coke: hard coking coal and semisoft coking coal. According to Grande Cache Coal, these types of coal are ideal for coke because they melt, swell and re-solidify when placed into a superheated furnace. These types of coal also have low levels of impurities. A third type of metallurgical coal, PCI, is sometimes used in steel or iron making to replace more-expensive coke, indicates Grande Cache Coal.
There has been rising demand for metallurgical coke from the iron, steel and power generation industries. Metallurgical coke is formed by destructive distillation of a special blend of bituminous coal in the absence of air or oxygen. In order to produce metallurgical coke, the coal is heated into ovens at specific temperature to produce low sulphur, low phosphorus coke. Metallurgical coke is used for applications which requires high quality, tough and highly resistant form of carbon.
One of the major challenge faced by the global metallurgical coke market is the use of substitutes such as oils, plastics amongst others as replacement for reducing agent and fuel for the iron and steel production plants. Additionally, there has also been increase in use of materials such as recycled tires or waste tire as an additive with coal for the manufacture of metallurgical coke.
The global metallurgical coke market is anticipated to be dominated by Asia Pacific region with China leading the market both in terms of production and consumption. India is also anticipated to witness sound growth in demand for metallurgical coke owing to the rapid growth in the iron and steel industry in the country.