The second hardest material after diamond could enhance coal’s energy efficiency. Researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology are testing sapphire as a sensor for use in the process of making synthetic gas from coal. The reason why sapphire was selected for the sensor is due to the fact that it is one of the only known materials that can withstand extreme temperatures.
The synthetic gas made from coal burn better and emits lesser emissions than coal alone. It is found that coal is nearly 37 percent efficient, while the gasification process can increase the efficiency to more than 45 percent. The temperatures during gasification process, a process in which coal is heated until it becomes a gas can easily cross 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. By using Sapphire as a sensor, one can ensure that the gasifiers heat the coal to the exact temperature necessary to turn it into gas, guaranteeing an efficiently running process.
Via: Discovery News