Coal Energy – Advantages and Disadvantages

Coal was formed during the Carboniferous age around 255-350 million years ago, in hot damp regions of the earth. The plants and animals that occurred during this period, along the banks of rivers and swamps, got buried alive or after their death into the soil and due to heat accompanied by pressures gradually got converted into peat and coal over a millions of years of period. The vegetation which was partially decomposed and deeply buried in sedimentary environments got slowly transformed into solid, brittle, carbonaceous rocks commonly known as coal. The coal is the most abundant fossil fuel with a total recoverable resource of about 6,000 billion tonnes in the world. With present rate of consumption, the coal reserves are likely to last during next 200 years and if the use rate increases by 2% per year, then it will last within next 65 years.

Advantages of Coal Energy

  1. Coal is readymade, tried and tested type of fuel.
  2. It is relatively cheap to mine and to convert into energy.
  3. Coal is obtainable in abundance. Coal is in abundant supply – will last longer than oil or gas.
  4. Capacity to generate huge amounts of electricity in just a single location.
  5. They have high calorific value.
  6. It has vast potential to power the entire world.
  7. Infrastructure to fossil fuel energy is entirely developed.
  8. Easy transportation of liquid or gaseous fossil fuels.
  9. Electricity can be produced by simple combustion process.
  10. They are highly stable in nature as compared to other fuels.
  11. Cheaper source than non-conventional forms of energy.

Disadvantages of Coal

  1. Over exploitation has caused in their considerable depletion.
  2. Emission of sulphur dioxide, which causes acid rain.
  3. Threatens the ecological balance and may be a cause of earthquakes.
  4. Formation of fossil fuels takes millions of years.
  5. When burned gives off atmospheric pollutants, including green house gases, main contributor to the global warming experienced by the earth today.
    known as the precursor of coal. It is the soft organic material that consists of partly
  6. Only a limited supply.
  7. Environmentally, mining of coal results in the destruction of wide areas of land. Mining this fossil fuel is also difficult and may endanger the lives of miners. Coal mining is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

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