In yesterday's newsletter, you mentioned the home use of coal. You probably
know that geologically, much of southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, parts of Mississippi, and I'm sure eastern Texas--
are Gulf Coastal Plain. The region was once shallow sea in ages past. There are large amounts of lignite coal in the Gulf
Coastal Plain. You likely also know that lignite coal is a low grade, lower output of BTU's than other grades. But there's
ALLOT of it. There are a couple electrical generating plants in Louisiana that use lignite coal. (My son lives in Louisiana
and has his B.S. from Louisiana TECH and his M.S. from LSU.) I'm getting motivated to seriously investigate the use of lignite
coal for home heating. There is a problem that it is not commercially mined in Ark. (where I live) that I have been able to
find. Lignite coal "starts" not far from where I live in Ark. I understand that lignite is mined on a small scale in Mississippi
I found out a few things from the Arkansas Geological Commission. Texas surely
has a similar agency.
I understand that once lignite is out of the ground, it becomes unstable and degrades when exposed
to air. I don't think unstable means especially dangerous. If one were going to start using it, this aspect would have to
be investigated further.
In theory, you could buy land with lignite under it and dig it up yourself.
I understand it tends to be not particularly deep. I also understand there are many contingencies to such a pursuit, e.g.,
I suspect that you would have to use an iron/steel stove designed for the
burning of coal, despite lignite's low grade. I have some information on coal stoves. Lowe's, for one, carries coal stoves.
I'm sure you would have to order one, and it would be sent from a warehouse. Sears used to carry one.
You may know that North Dakota also has large quantities of lignite coal,
and it is understandably used for heating there more than in the mid-South! I have sources in North Dakota I have not yet
contacted regarding the particulars of its use. They have experience in its use there.
If you want any information on lignite, I will write you with what I have.