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Information about COAL

Published on December 12, 2007

Author: Nevada


COAL:  COAL By Breonna Tressler and Paula Lanzara What Is Coal?:  What Is Coal? Coal is a combustible, sedimentary, organic rock, formed from vegetation. In other words, coal is a fossil fuel created from the remains of plants that lived and died about 100 to 400 million years ago. Coal is classified as a nonrenewable energy source because it takes millions of years to form Types of Coal:  Types of Coal There are four types of coal Anthracite Bituminous Sub-bituminous Lignite Types Continued:  Types Continued The hardest of the four types of coal is anthracite, and the softest is lignite Anthracite contains anywhere from 85-96% carbon Because anthracite is hardest, it is the most efficient type of coal when burned However, the most used type of coal today is bituminous Physical Properties of Coal:  Physical Properties of Coal Black rock with a dull luster Ranges in hardness depending on type of coal Leaves a black streak The density of coal depends on the type, with anthracite being the most dense and lignite the least Chemical Composition:  Chemical Composition Chemically coal is mostly carbon, and the amount of carbon in a coal deposit determines the type of coal It also contains small amounts of metal compounds and other impurities Slide7:  Map taken from USGS What is Coal Used For?:  What is Coal Used For? Today we use coal mainly for electricity production Last year 88% of all the coal used in the US was for electricity Coal is also used in making iron and steel How does coal affect our daily lives?:  How does coal affect our daily lives? Think about everything you do or use every day that involves electricity Heating Cooking Refrigeration Plumbing Computer And many more things Where else can coal be found?:  Where else can coal be found? Coal is also used in the paper, brick, limestone, and cement industry. All these products use coal as a main ingredient in production Where does coal come from?:  Where does coal come from? European settlers discovered coal in North America during the first half of the 1600’s. Coal can be found in 38 states, Montana has the most coal (about 120 billion mechanical tons) Other states in order: Illinois, Wyoming, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, Texas, and Indiana Where else does coal come from?:  Where else does coal come from? Coal reserves are available in almost every country world wide. (With recoverable reserves in 70 countries) Biggest World Producers of Coal (per year) China-1502.4 mt US-891.9 mt India-340.4 mt Australia-24.1 mt South Africa 239.3 mt Other coal producing countries include Russia, Indonesia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Ukraine Coal as an export:  Coal as an export Some coal that we produce in the US is exported to other countries The five biggest foreign markets for the US are: Japan, Canada, Italy, Brazil, and Belgium 7% of our coal is exported each year How Much Coal Do We Use?:  How Much Coal Do We Use? How Much Coal Do we really Have?:  How Much Coal Do we really Have? Scientists estimate that the united States has about 265 billion tons of coal reserves (reserves are coal deposits that can mined) The US has the most reserves of any nation Do we have to worry about a coal supply embargo?:  Do we have to worry about a coal supply embargo? Fortunately since we are one of the leading producers of coal we do not have to worry about supply embargo The US coal reserves are more than adequate in providing for our needs How is coal mined?:  How is coal mined? There are 2 ways to mine coal: Surface Mining Underground mining Surface Mining:  Surface Mining After exploration is done and valuable amounts of coal have been found, and the coal is close enough to the surface to be profitable if mined with surface methods, the overburden is removed Coal occurs in seams and to remove the mineral it must be blasted and then removed by use of a dragline or loader, or other machine Underground Mining:  Underground Mining There are two types of underground coal mining Long wall mining Room and pillar mining Underground mining:  Underground mining Room and pillar is the more traditional method with long wall mining only being made possible in this century due to new technology In room and pillar, rectangular portions of the coal are blasted, with pillars left in place for support In long wall mining, the roof is temporarily supported by the mining machine which shears the coal with a rotating head, because it can extract more coal, this way is more efficient Room and Pillar Mining:  Room and Pillar Mining Long wall Mining:  Long wall Mining Coal Processing:  Coal Processing Once the coal has been mined, it must be crushed and separated by size, it may also be washed to remove contaminants However, not all coal goes through the same process Some coal is made into coke for steel Some can be turned into a gas in a more complicated process that is part of the clean coal technologies program It might also remain in its original shape to be used for fuel Environmental Concerns:  Environmental Concerns Coal mining can affect the environment in many adverse ways in the many stages of production. After mining is done, the environmental damage continues. Environmental Damage Caused by Surface and Underground Coal Mining:  Environmental Damage Caused by Surface and Underground Coal Mining Contamination of water sources both on the surface and under the ground often resulting in poisoning of animal or plant life Destruction of plant life in surface mining and change in the shape of the land, and increased soil erosion Pollution from ore processing methods and from the burning of coal for fuel More Environmental Concerns:  More Environmental Concerns Surface mining creates large amounts of waste material Underground mining can cause sink holes Dust is a problem with surface mines Abandoned mines are often dangerous Health and Social Concerns:  Health and Social Concerns Mines can be dangerous places for both workers and people who live near them Some hazards include the effects of blasting such as fly rock and shock waves Noise is also a problem for those who work in and live near mines Reclamation:  Reclamation Mines are now required by the government to have a plan for reclamation of the land once mining ends However, with older coal mines, much of the environmental damage was done before any regulations existed Organizations like the EPA monitor mine activity and the problems it causes Questions?:  Questions? Confused? Curious? Sources:  Sources Coal Processing. 11/20/04 Coal. Rockman’s Coal Page. 11/19/04 Nuffield Advanced Chemistry: What is the Chemical Composition of Coal, Oil, and Gas 11/20/04 Fossil Fuels. Coal Processing. 11/25/04 Sources Continued:  Sources Continued VI.   Underground Coal Mining in the Bituminous Coalfields. 11/25/04.

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