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Carbonite is a patented interim step between coal and coke. Eric Wolfe of Carbonite Corporation of Virginia plans to start producing it on a commercial scale outside Norton, Virginia, funded largely by local coal industry investors with a $1.5 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission. The $20 million dollar plant is scheduled to begin construction in 2011 and will produce both carbonite and coke.[1]

The carbonite plant is classified as a coal conversion plant, rather than a coke plant. The process of making carbonite, according to Wolfe, involves heating the coal in a mixture with certain biomass materials to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit with no oxygen, burning off some of the gases and removing the mercury. The resulting fuel can then be burned in power plants or used for various industrial applications, such as absorbing oils, mercury and other heavy metals in wastewater, or for steel-making. Wolfe said a ton of coal can be converted 70 percent into carbonite, and generate one barrel of coal oil liquids.[1]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Debra McCown, "$20 million carbonite plant being developed near Norton, Va." Tri-Cities, March 22, 2011.

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