Coke from the railway tracks

Here is a question:

I walk a long a set of tracks often enough to spot the coal and coke on the ground and wonder how this fuel would react in a gasifire.
The coal I can see being very dirty and prone to clinkers.

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Anthracite coal (hard coal) can be used in a charcoal gasifier if used in limited amounts. Coke is also OK in limited amounts too, but you could probably use more of it. Bituminous coal is a NO GO. Too much silica and it will gum up your nozzle big time.
Gary in PA

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Every walk I pick up a bit more these days.

The coke is worthy of more attention.
I have not been able to burn any pieces of it.
I assume its because I need to keep it hot to burn.

My wife has taken note of this collection and said she is apposed to more " junk" brought home.
So my coal and coke experiments will have to be small.

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I’ve burned about 4 tons of PA anthracite coal in my bucket-a-day, hot water heater, and I found it to be rather nasty when it comes to rotting metal out and the fine ash dust sucks.


I have some experience with coal.

I ended up with tons of it (literally). It was free, so I thought “what the heck.”

I have not yet had the nerve to try it in the gasifier.

I an not even sure what kind I have.

Some of it looks like anthracite. Other bits look bituminous.

It is just stacked outside in big piles.

When I light it (which is challenging), it produces a lot of nasty smoke (gray then yellow) and smells bad for a while.

Then it starts burning pretty clean, and very hot.

I have used it to melt aluminum, etc.

But every time I use it, it seems like it is hotter / more corrosive than charcoal by quite a bit, and very hard on steel.

I have given some consideration to “coking” some of it in my charcoal retort, and trying it in the charcoal gasifier.

But I thought I would save that for a later experiment, after I have all the kinks worked out of the charcoal system first.


I never worked on the coke batteries, but I work down wind of them and let me tell you there is a lot of nasty things in there lol.

But once coked I know its a fairly clean fuel.

I wonder if I have real coke here or a blast furnace by products?
Its not slag too light and its not coal.

Great video:
And Mr Leeder is willing to chat about this video he made in the 60’s

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