Elemental Analysis

Major elements make up more than 1 percent of a coal; minor elements make up 1 to 0.1 percent, and trace elements make up less than 0.1 percent.

In the coal industry, understanding the chemical associations of the elements can aid in determining (1) if the elements can be or need to be removed prior to utilization, (2) where the elements will end up (emissions, solid residues) during and following coal utilization, (3) the best mechanisms for mitigating any potential environmental issues an element, and (4) improved efficiencies of coal fired boilers influenced by specific concentrations of elements.

Standard Labs uses several methods for determining the major, minor, trace and rare earth elements. To provide our customers with the most accurate methods and Lowest Quantifiable Limits for Trace Elements, SL has continued to acquire the following state-of-the-art instrumentation to make us the leader in the industry in determination of Trace Elements:

Methane Detection

Coal mine methane (CMM) is a type of gas present in active, working mine sites. For safety reasons, this gas is vented from the mines and extracted from the air. Methane is a primary constituent of natural gas, and an important, relatively clean-burning energy source. Efforts to prevent or utilize methane emissions can provide significant energy, economic, and environmental benefits.

Using Gas Chromatography methods Standard Labs can identify the level of methane at your site.


For Ultra Trace Detection of Mercury, SL can provide all aspects of the fluorescence-based measurement for U.S. EPA Methods 1631 and 245.7. Our system combines the analytical capabilities of an advanced cold vapor atomic fluorescence analyzer with the ability to selectively pre-concentrate Hg using amalgamation to enhance detection limits with an unparalleled working range: 0.5 ppt to 100 ppt.

Rare Earth Elements

Although relatively unheard of, rare-earth minerals are very important in our modern technological world, because they’re used in a variety of products used every day, including televisions and cellphones.

Coal ash contains reasonable amounts of rare earths, particularly scandium and neodymium. In some types of coal ash, the concentrations of rare earths are as much as 100 times higher than when they’re found naturally in the Earth’s crust.

Using ICP-MS methods SL can identify rare earth elements at a part-per-billion detection level. Contact SL today to explore how we can assist you in finding rare earth metals.