How is coal accessed?

How is coal excavated?

Coal miners use two primary methods to remove coal

In surface mining, large machines remove the topsoil and layers of rock known as overburden to expose coal seams. Mountaintop removal is a form of surface mining where the tops of mountains are dynamited and removed to access coal seams.

How do we access coal to use for energy?

Coal-fired power plants burn coal to make steam and the steam turns turbines (machines for generating rotary mechanical power) to generate electricity. Many industries and businesses have their own power plants, and some use coal to generate electricity for their own use and mostly in combined heat and power plants.

How is coal discovered?

North American coal deposits were first discovered by French explorers and fur traders along the shores of Grand Lake in central New Brunswick, Canada in the 1600s. Coal seams were exposed where rivers flowed into the lake and was dug by hand off the surface and from tunnels dug into the seam.

What are the pros and cons of coal?

The Pros of Coal Energy

  • The availability of coal makes it very affordable. …
  • The energy infrastructure supports coal. …
  • The cost of coal is quite cheap. …
  • There is no lag time with coal energy. …
  • Clean coal technologies help to limit the emissions that are released. …
  • It can be converted into different forms of fuel.
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What are 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.

Is coal still being formed?

Coal is very old. The formation of coal spans the geologic ages and is still being formed today, just very slowly. Below, a coal slab shows the footprints of a dinosaur (the footprints where made during the peat stage but were preserved during the coalification process).

Is coal a good way to generate electricity?

Burning coal is the most cost-effective and energy efficient way of generating electricity.

How is coal stored for later use?

Topsoil is removed and stored for later use in the land reclamation process. Specially designed machines —draglines, or large shovels—clear away the overburden (material overlaying coal that must be removed before mining can commence) to expose the coal bed.

Why is coal a good source of energy?

Cheapest source of energy. It is by far cheaper than nuclear, natural gas, oil. … Coal also provides a stable source of energy (no Arab oil embargoes, no sudden scarcity like you experience with natural gas) and there is a very plentiful supply both in the U.S. and in other foreign countries.