Coal: A Complex Natural Resource. Coal is abundant in the U.S., is relatively inexpensive, and is an excellent source of energy and byproduct raw materials. Because of these factors, domestic coal is the primary source of fuel for electric power plants in the U.S., and will continue to be well into the 21st century.
Is coal a natural source?
Coal as an energy source
Coal is an abundant natural resource that can be used as a source of energy, as a chemical source from which numerous synthetic compounds (e.g., dyes, oils, waxes, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides) can be derived, and in the production of coke for metallurgical processes.
What products are made from coal?
Ammonia gas recovered from coke ovens is used to manufacture ammonia salts, nitric acid and agricultural fertilisers. Thousands of different products have coal or coal by-products as components: soap, aspirins, solvents, dyes, plastics and fibres, such as rayon and nylon.
What is natural coal?
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata called coal seams. … Coal is formed when dead plant matter decays into peat and is converted into coal by the heat and pressure of deep burial over millions of years.
How coal is produced?
Coal is formed when dead plant matter submerged in swamp environments is subjected to the geological forces of heat and pressure over hundreds of millions of years. Over time, the plant matter transforms from moist, low-carbon peat, to coal, an energy- and carbon-dense black or brownish-black sedimentary rock.
What are the 4 types of coal?
Coal is classified into four main types, or ranks: anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite.
Is Coal still being formed?
The process of coal formation is still taking place today, says Bailey. “The precursor to coal is called peat, and that is just uncompressed plant matter.” Peat accumulates in wet swampy environments known as mires, and that process is taking place today in areas such as Indonesia and even the Antiplano in the Andes.
Why is coal so bad?
Air pollution from coal-fired power plants is linked with asthma, cancer, heart and lung ailments, neurological problems, acid rain, global warming, and other severe environmental and public health impacts.
Is soap made from coal?
The original product was developed by William Valentine Wright in 1860 from “liquor carbonis detergens”, the liquid by-product of the distillation of coal to make coke; the liquid was made into an antiseptic soap for the treatment of skin diseases.
Can steel be made without coal?
Now, nearly all new steel globally is produced using iron oxide and coking coal. Coking coal is usually bituminous-rank coal with special qualities that are needed in the blast furnace. While an increasing amount of steel is being recycled, there is currently no technology to make steel at scale without using coal.
What are the stages of coal?
There are four stages in coal formation: peat, lignite, bituminous, and anthracite.
What are the disadvantages of coal?
The major disadvantage of coal is its negative impact on the environment. Coal-burning energy plants are a major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to carbon monoxide and heavy metals like mercury, the use of coal releases sulfur dioxide, a harmful substance linked to acid rain.
How much is coal worth?
In 2019, the national average sales price of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal at coal mines was $30.93 per short ton, and the average delivered coal price to the electric power sector was $38.53 per short ton.
Why is coal bad for the environment?
The burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, increasing levels of CO2 and other gasses, trapping heat, and contributing to global climate change. … Coal-fired power plants release more greenhouse gases per unit of energy produced than any other electricity source (1).
How is black coal formed?
Coal is a sedimentary rock formed when abundant plant material is covered by sediments and the material accumulates faster than it can decay. The weight of the overlying sediments compacts the organic layers, increasing the temperature and pressure, which leads to physical and chemical changes to the plant material.
Where is the coal found?
The largest coal reserves are in the United States, Russia, China, Australia, and India. In the United States, coal is mined in 25 states and three major regions. In the Western Coal Region, Wyoming is the top producer—about 40% of the coal mined in the country is extracted in the state.