Uses of Coal
Coal is used primarily as an energy source, either for heat or electricity. 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. Bituminous coal is also used to produce coke for making steel and other industrial process heating. Coal gasification and coal liquefaction (coal-to-liquids) are also possible uses of coal for producing synthetic fuel.
Access to modern energy services not only contributes to economic growth and household incomes but also to the improved quality of life that comes with better education and health services. All sources of energy will be needed to meet future energy demand, including coal.
Different types of coal have different uses. Steam coal - also known as thermal coal - is mainly used in power generation. Coking coal - also known as metallurgical coal - is mainly used in steel production.
Other important users of coal include alumina refineries, paper manufacturers, and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Several chemical products can be produced from the by-products of coal. Refined coal tar is used in the manufacture of chemicals, such as creosote oil, naphthalene, phenol, and benzene. Ammonia gas recovered from coke ovens is used to manufacture ammonia salts, nitric acid and agricultural fertilisers. Thousands of different products have coal or coal by-products as components: soap, aspirins, solvents, dyes, plastics and fibres, such as rayon and nylon. Coal is also an essential ingredient in the production of specialist products:
* Activated carbon - used in filters for water and air purification and in kidney dialysis machines.
* Carbon fibre - an extremely strong but light weight reinforcement material used in construction, mountain bikes and tennis rackets.
* Silicon metal - used to produce silicones and silanes, which are in turn used to make lubricants, water repellents, resins, cosmetics, hair shampoos and toothpastes.
The five largest coal users - China, USA, India, Russia and Japan - account for 77% of total global coal use. The biggest market for coal is Asia, which currently accounts for over 65% of global coal consumption; although China is responsible for a significant proportion of this. Many countries do not have natural energy resources sufficient to cover their energy needs, and therefore need to import energy to help meet their requirements. Japan, Chinese Taipei and Korea, for example, import significant quantities of steam coal for electricity generation and coking coal for steel production.
How to Find Us
- No.416 Jianye Road, South Jinqiao Area, Pudong, Shanghai, China