Variations in Concentrations and Compositions of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHS) in Coals Related to the Coal Rank and Origin

S. Laumann, University of Vienna
V. Micić, University of Münster
Michael Kruge, Montclair State University
C. Achten, RWTH Aachen University
Reinhard F. Sachsenhofer, University of Leoben
Jan Schwarzbauer, RWTH Aachen University
Thilo Hofmann, University of Vienna


The release of unburnt coal particles and associated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may cause adverse impacts on the environment. This study assessed variations in the concentration and composition of PAHs in a set of fifty coal samples from eleven coal basins worldwide. The maximum PAH concentrations at high volatile bituminous rank were recorded in samples from a single basin. Considering the entire sample set, the highest PAH concentrations were in fact found outside of this rank range, suggesting that the maceral composition and thus the coal's origin also influenced PAH concentrations. The examination of the PAH compositions revealed that alkylated 2-3 ring PAHs remain dominant compounds irrespective of coal rank or origin. Multivariate analysis based on PAH and maceral content, bulk and maturity parameters allowed the recognition of seven groups with different rank and origin within the coal sample set.