10/6 – PA’s Tiny Anthracite Coal Industry Finds Niche – Pizza Ovens!
Wednesday, October 6th 2015
Good read on the once might Anthracite industry!
“Everything except the eggplant at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Cranberry is cooked by coal. The restaurant ceiling is lightly charred with coal dust. Sometimes even the tables have a thin layer of Pennsylvania anthracite on them.
In the morning, when the oven that has been burning since February 2011 is packed with its daily 300 pounds of shiny, hard coal, you can smell it in the parking lot.
Every day, Marcelino Ibarra reinvigorates the oven with eight more bags of the coal mined in eastern Pennsylvania and nowhere else in the U.S.
Anthracite burns hot — between 800 degrees and 900 degrees Fahrenheit. It can cook a pizza in five minutes and must never be allowed to extinguish because of the cost and time of reigniting. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, the two days when the pizza restaurant is closed, Mr. Ibarra still comes in to feed the oven.
A dozen bags of Blaschak Coal are wedged next to the oven, representing a tiny but expanding market segment for the company from Mahanoy City in Schuylkill County.
Pizza won’t save anthracite coal. “You can’t hang your hat on that,” said Greg Driscoll, Blaschak’s president.
But it’s a growing slice of the company’s business and any growth in coal demand these days is a big deal.
Having weathered a century-long decline in demand, the tiny anthracite industry has diversified into a recently stable and, even more recently, growing segment of the coal business.
Of all the coal types, anthracite has the most carbon and the least sulfur and ash, so it burns hotter and cleaner and continues to be a residential heating option. It is also used in steel making. Those two markets make up the majority of Blaschak’s business.”
Read more at PowerSource
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