Coal is a fossil fuel
Coal was formed millions of years ago, before the dinosaurs. Back then, much of the earth was covered by huge swamps. They were filled with giant ferns and plants. As the plants died, they sank to the bottom of the swamps.
Over the yeas, thick layers of plants were covered by dirt and water. They were packed down by the weight. After a long time, the heat and pressure changed the plants into coal. Coal is called fossil fuel because it was made from plants that were once alive. The energy in coal came out from the sun.
Coal is used in a number of different ways: it may generate electricity, be used in industrial products, be part of the making of steel, or be exported. To generate electric power, coal is burned to create steam. This steam can be used to move turbines and make energy. Using coal for industry can include burning it for the heat or using its by-products. For example, methanol and ethylene, which are ingredients in coal, can be used in plastics, fertilizers, medicines and other products. Concrete and paper factories also burn coal for their production. When coal is baked, it is used to smelt iron ore to eventually make steel for cars and buildings.
For Electric Power
Coal is used to create almost half of all electricity generated in the United States. Power plants burn coal to make steam. The steam turns turbines (machines for generating rotary mechanical power) that generate electricity.
In addition to companies in the electric power sector, industries and businesses with their own power plants use coal to generate electricity.
A variety of industries use coal's heat and by-products. Separated ingredients of coal (such as methanol and ethylene) are used in making plastics, tar, synthetic fibers, fertilizers, and medicines.
Coal is also used to make steel. Coal is baked in hot furnaces to make coke, which is used to smelt iron ore into iron needed for making steel. It is the very high temperatures created from the use of coke that gives steel the strength and flexibility for things like bridges, buildings, and automobiles.
The concrete and paper industries also use large amounts of coal.
How to Find Us
- No.416 Jianye Road, South Jinqiao Area, Pudong, Shanghai, China