Abundant coal resources that were previously neglected due to a crude oil boom need revitalisation and integration into the national electricity mix to address the energy demands of the Nigerian population. Selected coal samples from the Benue Trough sedimentary basin in Nigeria were examined by various techniques, including proximate and ultimate analyses, organic petrography, Fourier transform infrared ray spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis. Based on vitrinite reflectance, the Lafia-Obi (OLB), Garin Maiganga (GMG), Imiegba (IMG), and Okaba (OKB) coals are classified as subbituminous, while the Lamja1 (LMJ1), Lamja2 (LMJ2) and Chikila (CHK) coals are high volatile B bituminous. The Enugu (ENG) coal is on the boundary between subbituminous and high volatile C bituminous. Organic petrographic results indicate vitrinite and fusinite contents steadily increase from the Lower Benue Trough coals to the Upper Benue Trough coals, while semifusinite and total mineral contents follow a reverse pattern. Thermal decomposition occurred in three stages, i.e., drying, devolatilization, and coke formation above 700 °C; and the coal reactivity follows the following order, ENG > IMG > IGH > CHK > LMJ > OKB > GMG > LFB. The higher temperatures (above 900 °C) are required to decompose the coals for efficient energy recovery. The LMJ1, LMJ2, OLB, CHK, GMG, and OKB coals can be exploited for electricity power generation. However, the Imeagha and Enugu coals are best suitable for both cement and power generation.

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Published in International Journal of Coal Science & Technology, v. 7, no. 1, p. 26-42.

© The Author(s) 2020

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This study was supported through Research Grant from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Nigeria.