COAL IS HOT external image zoolander.jpg

How is coal Obtained?
  • Deep underground- people obtain the resource through means of Long Wall Mining, a mechanism which uses a conveyor belt to bring the coal from under the ground to the land surface
  • Through Mountaintop Removal, miners use explosives to extract coal from shallow areas of rock and earth
  • The environmental affects of mountaintop removal:
  1. 7% o the Appalachian forest have been deforested
  2. Over 1200 miles of streams in the region have been either polluted or buried by coal residue
  3. habitats have been destroyed leaving species homeless
  4. Destroys foundations of neighboring areas
  5. Overall destruction of nature (mountains)
  • external image loc4.gif
  • external image mountaintop-removal-jj-001.jpg
Where is coal Obtained?
  • More or less evenly distributed throughout major ares of the world
  • Mountainous Regions
  • Deep Underground Regions
  • Regions with seismic activity
  • the biggest reservoirs are in the United States, Russia, India, and China
  • external image 111812new_fossil_fuel_reserves.jpg

How efficient is coal?
  • Coal is not very efficient- an average coal plant boasts an efficiency rate of 28% ,%2Proxy-Connection: keep-alive Cache-Control: max-age=0 herefore wasting 72% of the coal materials as hProxy-Connection: keep-alive Cache-Control: max-age=0 t energy
  • Some plants do however run at 45% efficiency levels
  • Many plants are currently improving their efficiency, however over half of coal energy is ultimately being wasted at every coal plant globally

What is the availability if coal?
  • At the current rate, the human population has enough coal to last us for the next 131 years, a relatively short amount of time
  • Scientists are working on developing alternative energies to coal such as solar energy, which has begun to gain popularity

What is the cost of coal?
  • One megawatt of coal energy costs approximately 20-30$
  • Coal costs 3.9-4.4 Cents/kW-h
  • This cost includes the cost of transport, production, and extraction
  • To put these values in perspective- if inhabitants of the United States use
  • The deeper coal is in a mountain or underground area, the more expensive the extraction

How is coal converted into energy?
  • Coal is collected and converted into a fine powder
  • This powder is then put into a large furnace
  • The energy created from the coal burning heats water and creates steam
  • The steam turns a turbine which creates mechanical energy which is electrical energy

What are the environmental impacts of coal?
  • Other than destroying thousands of acres of land in order to mine coal, burning coal produces millions of tons of Toxic Coal Ash that is harmful for human respiration
  • Toxic Coal Ash also pollutes the air, creating acid rain that is incredibly destructive
  • Coal ash also settles on crop land polluting the soil and destroying crops
  • In terms of air pollution- Burning coal is a leading cause of smog, acid rain, global warming, and air toxics that cause and increase health problems such as heart disease, chronic head aches, asthma, and other respiratory illness
  • Coal factories use an extremely large amount of water for things such as cooling and heating- this water waste is ultimately non-renewable, and water is a finite resource

Government Intervention?
  • The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act or SMCRA is an important peace of legislation passed in 1977
  • The Act is supposed to regulate the environmental impacts of coal mining, particularly strip mining, and its harmful emissions

Overall Pros :
  • Readily available
  • Cheap
  • Versatile- can be transformed into liquid or gas form
  • Coal is becoming cleaner, coal scrubbers use sulfur to filter out some toxins

Overall Cons:
  • Not sustainable
  • Limited
  • Produces CO2 and toxins
  • Mining methods destructive to the environment
  • Environmental Impacts: Acid rain, dest