Coal is a fossil fuel, which means it's a nonrenewable resource. It contains elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. It's i think considered to be a mineral. People use this heat to warm buildings and to make or process various products. Coal burning plants supply about 40% of the world's electric power. Coal is also used of making steel and cement. The countries around the world uses 8.6 billion tons of coal a year. China uses half of the world's coal supply. The U.S uses 1/8 of coal.
How was coal formed?
Scientists believe that large amounts of plant life and other organic matter grew in the swampy areas and lagoons that cover most of the earth. So like, the living matter grew in the dirty areas.As the plants and other life forms die, they go down to the bottom of the swamps, slowly decompose, and formed peat, a soggy, spongelike material. The peat was like buried under the Earth's surface for a very long period of time. The peat became coal after millions of years. The more heat, the harder the coal is.
4 major categories of coal
There are 4 major categories of coal: Lignite, Subbituminous, Bituminous,and Anthracite. Lignite is a coal that can break apart very easily. Out of all 4 types, Lignite has very low carbon and heat. Lignite is mainly used for electricity generating plants. Subbituminous has less moisture than lignite. It's used for producing electricity. Reserves of it are found in Western states and Alaska. Bituminous has high heat value. It is used to generate electricity and coke, a coal residue used in the steel industry.Bittuminous coal is the most plentiful coal in the U.S. Anthracite is very hard. It burns very slowly and makes a good heating fuel for homes. The U.S has about 7 billion tons of anthracite, which most of it are found in Pennsylvania.
Advantages and disadvantages of coal
Advantages: Coal is inexpensive when compared to other fossil fuels or alternative energy sources. Electricity produced from coal is reliable. Coal based power isn't dependent on weather. We used coal for barbecues,and starting fires while in the cold. It's one of the most abundant sources of energy, more so than oil and natural gas. Coal is on every continent, including Antarctica. There are large amounts of coal so it doesn't cost much. Disadvantages: The burning of coal has led to acid rain in some regions. Burning dirty coal can lead to pollution problems. Coal isn't a renewable resource. When you mine for coal, it can cause injuries and people can die just to find coal. When you burn fossil fuels, it releases carbon dioxide. Coal dust can be explosive.
About 40% of the coal mined in the world, and about 70% of the coal mined in the U.S, comes from surface mines. Surface mining involves removing the overburden, the soil and rock that lie a coal deposit. After this material has been removed, the coal can easily be dug up and hauled away. Surface mining is usually limited to deposits 100 to 200 feet of the surface. The more overburden that must be removed, the more difficult and costly surface mining becomes.
Anyone who breathes large amounts of coal dust over a period of years may develop Black Lung. The disease interferes with breathing and may eventually cause death. Thousands of coal miners have been victims of this disease. In addition, high concentrations of coal dust are explosive. A mixture of coal dust and methane is especially dangerous.
Coal Energy Facts." American Coal Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2015. Multimedia." Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2015.