Coal is one of the fossil fuels that has been used to generate energy for generations. Because coal takes millions of years to create, it is regarded as a nonrenewable resource. Coal mine-mouth power plants are massive machinery that extracts coal from the ground.
The US boasts the world’s greatest coal deposits and is the world’s largest producer and user of this fossil fuel. Despite its abundance, coal is not an ideal source of energy. When it is burned, it emits hazardous pollutants such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Asthma and bronchitis are caused by these pollutants, which contribute to climate change.
There are numerous serious challenges in today’s society. One of the most contentious or critical issues is whether or not coal should be used as a primary energy source. While different people have different perspectives on the subject, it is critical to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of coal before making a decision.
In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the primary benefits and drawbacks of coal as a source of energy. You can make a precise yet informed decision about what is best for you and your community if you understand both sides of the issue.
Coal is one of the whole world’s most abundant energy sources, and it offers a variety of benefits over other energy sources. Coal is generally cheap, convenient to transport and store, and may be utilized to make a wide range of products. Furthermore, coal is a very adaptable energy source that may be employed in a variety of applications. Here are a few disadvantages of coal.
1. Coal Is Inexpensive
There is an estimated global reserve of coal of more than 1 trillion tonnes, in addition to the stockpiles of coal that have previously been mined. Other fossil fuels, at current consumption levels and without fresh deposit finds, will not last a century, but coal gives us the assurance that our current society and lifestyle will be around for a long time.
2. Compared To Oil, There Is A Lot Of Potential
Coal energy has a huge potential when compared to other fossil fuels like oil and gas. In fact, the world’s coal reserves are believed to be approximately a trillion tonnes. As a result, given present consumption rates, it might endure up to two hundred years.
3. Coal Is Supported By The Energy Infrastructure
Coal combustion has been a source of energy for more than two centuries. Homes and companies were putting coal into fireplaces to warm their buildings even before the industrial sector developed ways to harness the potential of coal electricity. Engineers would stoke boilers with coal to generate steam energy for transportation. The infrastructure was designed with the assumption that coal would be used to power it.
4. Coal Is Relatively Inexpensive
A tonne of coal can cost nearly the same as a family of four eating lunch somewhere. Because this fuel source is so affordable, the power it generates and consumes is likewise inexpensive. Coal costs only a few cents per kilowatt-hour in many locations, making it a cost-effective energy source for almost everyone. It is available at all times.
5. With Coal Energy, There Is No Lag Time
Renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, do not emit the same emissions as coal, but they also cannot be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A community must rely on stored energy through batteries if the wind stops blowing or the sunsets. Coal energy can be used whenever there is a need for electricity, with the option to burn more during peak demand periods.
6. Reduce The Amount Of Pollution Released
As of 2017, coal energy accounted for over half of all electricity generated in the United States. Many of the pollutants emitted during the combustion phase of this resource can be collected thanks to clean coal technologies. This reduces the risk of environmental and atmospheric damage while preserving current infrastructure.
7. The Weather Has No Effects On Production
For optimal power generation, sustainable energy, solar, hydroelectric, and wind turbines all require a specific combination of climate conditions. Coal has no such limitations. Mining continues in practically all circumstances, with the exception of when the site becomes unusable or unsafe. This guarantees that high levels of output are maintained throughout the year.
8. It Can Be Transformed Into A Variety Of Fuels
Coal can be turned into either a gas or a liquid. Coal energy burns cleaner when this procedure is done than it would if the natural resource were burnt in its natural state. This is because the particle counts are lowered as a result of the conversion process without compromising the high load factor generated.
Coal is abundant and cheap to mine in the United States. The disadvantages of coal, on the other hand, far outnumber the advantages. This blog article will look at some of the various environmental consequences of coal combustion.
While it is true that coal generates jobs for Americans and produces power at a low cost, there are some disadvantages to coal that must be considered. Are the disadvantages of coal worth the benefits? It is up to each individual to make their own decision.
1. Coal Mining Devastates Natural Environments
Various mining procedures are employed to extract coal from the ground, destroying the natural ecosystem in the area. The removal of trees and the probable polluting of groundwater tables are both parts of the catastrophe. There’s also the high risk of a fire breaking out in a coal mine. For more than 120 years, a coal seam fire in New Castle, Colorado, has been blazing.
2. High Price Tag
When it comes to harmful carbon capture and storage, the technology used to convert existing coal-fired power plants to clean coal could significantly raise energy costs for individual users. According to LiveScience, some carbon capture and storage technologies might raise energy prices by up to 75%.
3. Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The production of greenhouse gases is one of the major concerns associated with coal energy. In reality, it releases carbon dioxide that was trapped millions of years ago from dead plants and animals. The process releases carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.
4. Limited Supply
Although there are significant reserves and stockpiles of coal in the globe today for energy production, it is still a fossil fuel. This indicates that it is a limited resource. Before this resource runs gone, our society will need to explore alternatives to energy production. If it took 200 years to build our infrastructure on coal, it might take a similar amount of time to convert to new energy sources.
Although coal is a tried and true technology, it is not without risk. If ingested, concentrated carbon dioxide routed out of a facility and into a storage technology might be lethal.
When carbon is dissolved, it becomes very acidic, potentially introducing pollutants to the planet’s groundwater. Because coal has such destructive potential, relying on it for electricity could cause society to go backward rather than forwards.
6. The Health of Coal Miners
Even wearing protective equipment can’t always keep miners safe from getting sick. The most well-known of these is coal miners’ pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease, which arises when coal dust deposits on a miner’s lungs after extended exposure.
Lung cancer, Respiratory disease, Congestive heart failure, and Nervous system impairment are some of the other problems that miners face (due to high mercury levels). Dust particles are carried by the wind to towns surrounding mines, harming non-mine workers with similar life-threatening or restricting results.
7. Releases Poisons Into The Environment
Arsenic, sulfur dioxide, selenium, and mercury are all byproducts of coal mining. Miners who inhale coal dust can develop an illness known as Black Lung Disease, which makes breathing difficult and lowers one’s overall quality of life.
Several million tonnes of unwanted garbage are produced annually as a result of coal energy, and that waste must be disposed of. Coal combustion releases toxic waste products such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphuric acids, and fly ash into the environment.
Simply burning coal emits trace minerals and metals into the atmosphere, including mercury, arsenic, chromium, and aluminum, which fall onto land and water and cause pollution.
8. It Emits Radiation
When the coal is burned in a coal-fired power station, it creates more external radiation than a nuclear power plant would. In comparison to other kinds of energy, the emissions have been associated with higher rates of asthma and lung cancer in the surrounding population.
9. It Doesn’t Help Us Progress.
Despite the fact that clean coal is a positive development in the field of coal energy, we are essentially employing the same technology that our forebears developed throughout the industrial revolution.