Coal Energy

Coal is the most abundant conventional source of energy which could last for at least 200 years. Coal is an important mineral in India. It occurs as a sedimentary rock in association with carbonaceous shale, sandstone, and fine clay. Coal was formed by the decomposition of large land plants and trees buried under the Earth about 300 million years ago. Sediments began to get deposited over the pile of trees and plants. The resultant heat and pressure resulted in physical and chemical changes leading to the formation of coal. Coal Energy is the most important conventional source of energy in India.

Advantages of Coal

Coal Energy contributes to over 65% of the total energy production in the country. Coal India Limited and Singrani Coal Company are the two main coal producers in India. Coal is used by thermal power stations, steel plants, railways, fertilizer factories, cement factories, etc. Although coal production in India takes place at a large scale, the produced coal is of such quality that it generates very little heat and leaves a lot of ash.

Depending upon the amount of carbon and moisture content coal can be divided into four main types. These are


Types of Coal


Anthracite

  • Highest and hardest quality coal.
  • Burn slowly without smoke
  • High heating value and leaves very little smoke

Peat

  • The first stage of the transformation of wood into coal.
  • It is inferior to the other three varieties of coal.

Lignite

  • Known as Brown coal.
  • It is a lump of lower-grade coal.
  • It has about 40% of carbon and has less combustible matter.

Bituminous

  • Highest and hardest quality coal.
  • Burn slowly without smoke
  • High heating value and leaves very little smoke

Advantages of Using Coal Energy


  • It is an important source of power for running machines, trains, ships, and dynamos.
  • Coal is used in the manufacturing of iron and steel.
  • It is a source of direct heat for domestic purposes, burning bricks, tiles, and iron and brass factories.
  • When coal is burnt in a closed chamber, a variety of chemicals such as ammonia and benzol are obtained as by-products.

Disadvantages of Using Coal Energy


  • The calorific value of coal found in India is low.
  • Coal reserves in India are scattered and limited.
  • The cost of production and transportation of coal is very high.
  • The burning of coal results in large-scale pollution.

There are two main coalfields in India. Gondwana coalfields and tertiary coalfields. Gondwana coalfields account for 98% of the total reserves of coal in India. The coalfield is largely confined to the river valleys like Damodar, Mahanadi, and Godavari. The Gondwana coalfields are found in the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.

Coal found in the tertiary coal field has high moisture content. They are found in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland. The Neyveli lignite field in Tamil Nadu is the largest lignite deposit in South India.


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