South Africa produces an estimated 30 million tons of coal fines per annum, and with increasing and consumption, economic and environmental concerns, ways of utilizing these fines have to be investigated continuously.

The focus of the Coal Research (SARChI) group, situated in the Faculty of Engineering at the North-West University has been designed in accordance with a “Cradle-to-Grave” value-addition project portfolio framework, focusing on fine coal processing, coal utilization optimization, and waste utilization. Numerous novel studies are included throughout the programme with the quest to explore new horizons for coal utilisation.

Over the past decade, the coal research entity has grown from just a few researchers with less than 5 students to a group consisting of about 10 full time personnel and more than 30 postgraduate students, with a tenfold increase in the budget. The group’s portfolio is strongly focused on technology with a good balance of fundamental and applied research. It also strongly endeavours to add value to existing industrial processes, but also provides scope to develop highly innovative new technologies with the use of catalytic processes which could also have application globally.

Briquetting is a method for utilizing fine coal and one of our current research projects. The aim of the study is to produce a briquette that is suitable for fixed-bed gasification.

The Coal research group strive to contribute to the economy and welfare of al people in South Africa in the field of providing energy, fuel and chemicals from coal by developing innovative alternative or improved processes using available coal reserves with cognizance of maintain a clean environment.

Contact details:

For more information on the research projects and outputs contact Prof. John Bunt: