Filed Under (Uncategorized) by admin on 11-07-2013

Coal is an important natural resource, and without it our lives would be very different indeed. Used in a variety of industrial and civil applications, coal is one of the most prominent fuel sources in the world today. Let’s take a look at some of the applications for coal, and how our lives would be affected without it.

Energy Production

Coal is used in many power plants around the world. It allows power companies Read the rest of this entry »

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by admin on 28-05-2013

Environmental experts agree that coal mining can have devastating effects on the environment. The land from which this resource is mined can be stripped and worn out, thus rendering it useless for growing crops, building houses, or mining for any other resource. The pollution from the machines and trains used for this industry also threaten the environment. Environmental advocates have pushed for changes in this industry. Coal mining companies have responded and continue to seek new technology for extracting coal from the earth.

They have partnered with geologists and now use technology Read the rest of this entry »

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by admin on 14-04-2013

One of the terms floated about by coal companies is “clean coal.” While this term may sound as if the coal is free from soot or particulates, it’s really more of a public relations tool than an apt description of the product. If you are concerned with where your home energy comes from, explore different TXU Energy Texas in your area and choose a plan that offers green energy or offsets for your coal-generated power.

In reality, clean coal is actually just regular coal burned in a facility with technology in place to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and soot. These clean coal power plants often have scrubbers contained within smoke stacks, helping to pull some quantity of pollutants from the byproduct.

However, despite the name, the coal is not clean. There are no standards for what constitutes clean coal within the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has fought with industry insiders, lobbyists, and politicians in Congress to set standards for particulates and what constitutes clean coal. The EPA has been overruled at every turn.

Other nations have regulations in place, often setting the level between 25 percent less CO2 and 50 percent less. The EPA proposed a rule under the Bush administration to set the threshold at only a 10 percent reduction. It was struck down following a blitz campaign by coal-friendly politicians and lobbyists.

Despite all of this, clean coal plants are a step in the right direction for reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. These technologies are improving, helping to pull more pollution out of the burnt coal, yet the costs continue to remain high. Industry is torn between the demand for cheap electricity and environmental protection. As regulations continue to be avoided, companies are able to maintain low prices for power, but the environment suffers.

Government support for clean coal projects has waned over the past decade. President Bush proposed building a near-zero emission coal power plant producing hydrogen and electricity. The program, dubbed FutureGen, was announced in 2003 with the support of the Department of Energy. By 2008, the project was scrapped siting the soaring costs and technological shortcomings.

The FutureGen project underscored the problem the coal industry has faced. They produce a product that produces soot and CO2 when used, but provides the highest energy per unit of any fossil fuel. The technology to produce clean coal remains years behind where it needs to be, while costs are too high to be implemented without impacting consumers. Even with Department of Energy grants, many electricity suppliers have opted to use tested and true scrubbers in stacks, where costs are understood and minimal.

Clean coal technology must improve before it becomes a reality in America. The investment must come from somewhere, but industry, the government, and consumers don’t want to foot the bill. Until then, clean coal remains in-name only.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by admin on 01-04-2013

Surface mining is a form of mining in which the top soil, or overburden, is removed to get to the coal. There are many forms of surface mining, including strip-mining, open-pit mining and mountaintop removal.

Strip mining is the most common form of surface mining, where the overburden is removed and the coal directly beneath the surface is excavated. Area stripping is used to define strip mining that occurs on relatively flat surfaces of land, with strips usually measuring 100 to 200 feet wide, and contour stripping usually occurs in Read the rest of this entry »

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by admin on 04-01-2013

Underground mining has gotten a bad reputation for being dangerous however this is largely undeserved. Underground mining goes back at least to the Bronze Age and therefore has a long history. The more recent underground mining tragedies were isolated incidents and could have been easily avoided. Modern technology has led to safer mining practice which in turn reduces safety concerns.

Underground mining has come a long way since using a bird to tell if the air is good enough to breath. There Read the rest of this entry »

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by admin on 31-12-2012

The modern world is driven by different sources of energy, including nuclear power and solar technology. However, coal taken from the ground remains as a primary source of electricity in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Advances have been made in the mining of coal, from power shovels to mechanical excavators, but the backbone of the industry is still the coal miner in a hard hat.
Coal was first burned to generate electricity in the 1800s, and today it generates Read the rest of this entry »

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by admin on 30-12-2012

This is what the United States can expect for the future. We are blessed with ample coal supplies for many years into the future. Coal provides a significant amount of the fuel used to generate this country’s electricity. It is used to generate electricity in all 50 states.

The extraction, transportation, and use of coal support high-paying jobs. These jobs earn income for American workers, not foreign workers.

Utilities are building additional coal-fired generating plants. These utilities believe that the abundance of coal will continue to make it a much cheaper energy source than natural gas, petroleum, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by admin on 27-12-2012

For years now, economists have been shaking their heads over America’s unfavorable balance of trade. Even as the country stagnates, it is possible to look overseas to many other countries which are in much better economic circumstances than we are. You have to ask yourself if there is any difference in the way those economies work and the way ours works. One factor stands out above all others.

Those countries such as Germany and China that enjoy positive balances of trade are doing relatively Read the rest of this entry »

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by admin on 25-12-2012

Coal is a fossil fuel that has been used as a source of energy for centuries. Early on coal was burnt to heat the home and other dwellings. It is actually still used for that purpose in many households world-wide.

Later, coal was used to power trains which was a major form of transportation in early America. The introduction of diesel and electric trains pretty much eliminated the use for coal-powered trains. However, many states still have coal trains which are used primarily as a tourist attraction.

Coal is still one of the largest sources of electricity worldwide, Read the rest of this entry »