Benefits and Drawbacks of Coal

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The remains of decomposed plants heated between 100 and 400 million years ago are coal. Since it takes millions of years to create, it is a non-renewable resource, and humans will eventually exhaust its limited supply. Surface mining or underground mining is used to get coal from underground. Lignite, anthracite, bituminous, and sub-bituminous coals are the four main categories of coal. Additionally, significant reserves are located in nations including the United States, Russia, Australia, China, and India. That leads us nicely to the benefits and drawbacks of using coal.

It is largely used as a cheap source of fuel to produce electricity. However, coal combustion produces hazardous pollutants. Because of this, we are reevaluating its place in the contemporary world while aiming for sustainability. Again, we shall examine the advantages and disadvantages of coal in great detail in this examination.

Benefits of coal

Because coal is so versatile, it has been utilised for ages. These are some of its other advantages.

It is abundantly available.

There are approximately 1.06 trillion tonnes of coal reserves worldwide. That is how plentiful the supply of coal is. Additionally, it provides 36% of the world’s electricity. Therefore, if consumption keeps growing at its current rate, there will be enough for the next 400 years. When the restricted supply of coal runs out, this amount of time will be sufficient for the creation of a replacement.

Dependable is coal.

Due to its independence from outside influences, coal is a reliable energy source. Environmental changes have an impact on alternative energy sources like solar and wind. Therefore, industries that need a steady supply of power choose coal as their energy source. Its dependability and predictability enable us to burn it for energy production around-the-clock with ease.

It works well

Coal may be used to produce power in a relatively straightforward and effective manner. It is also a reliable energy source. Additionally, it is utilised in both home and industrial settings. It is used in the production of goods by businesses like aluminium, pharmaceuticals, and cement. Additionally, it is a crucial component of specialised products like activated carbon. Additionally, coal burns for a longer period of time than other fuels since it is a dense fuel that provides more heat per tonne.

It’s simple to store coal.

The technique for storing coal is quite sophisticated because we have been using it for a long time. Additionally, coal may be stored simply for residential use. It doesn’t take up much room and requires minimal upkeep. For long-term use, it can be conveniently kept close to a fireplace or storage facilities. This is especially helpful in regions with erratic coal supplies. When coal is in abundance, they can store reserves and use them when there is a shortage.

Low capital investments are needed.

Coal is used in numerous fuel and power production systems today. By reducing the costs involved with resource creation, this significantly minimises the need for large purchases. Furthermore, coal is a desirable option due to the minimal initial capital expenditure needed. As a result, coal-based power is likewise reasonably priced.

The drawbacks of coal
For several reasons related to its drawbacks, coal has received a bad rap in recent years. These are them:

It is a limited resource.

Even while we now have a lot of coal reserves, if we continue consuming it at this rate, they will run out in a few centuries. Coal is a resource that must be renewed when it runs out due to its limited supply. Several businesses around the world rely on coal for their power needs. When there is a scarcity, these sectors will struggle. Furthermore, while some locations lack access to vast coal seams, others do. The implementation of backup systems for absorbing alternative types of energy should be the priority for the regions with limited coal reserves.

Using coal harms the environment.

Carbon dioxide emissions are a significant cause of the global warming problems we are currently experiencing. Coal generates twice as much carbon dioxide per unit of power as natural gas does. Climate change and pollution are two additional effects of coal emissions. In addition, burning coal releases sulfuric acid and nitrogen oxides, both of which contribute to acid rain. Infrastructure in the impacted area is subsequently damaged as a result.

The natural environment is also harmed by coal mining. The coal reserves are situated in undeveloped areas with a variety of animal species. Even when the terrain is repaired once coal is extracted, the habitat of plants and animals has been permanently harmed. In other words, it shatters the peace of the area that is touched.

It uproots human habitation

Human settlements are evicted when coal reserves are discovered there. The mining process destroys their current homes. Additionally, due to toxic pollutants, the area close to coal extraction is uninhabitable. Even after restoration attempts, the area is still significantly more harmed when the mining is finished. This renders the impacted area uninhabitable for people.

The use of coal is unhealthy.

Humans are also badly impacted by coal, in addition to the environment. Both direct and indirect health effects are a result. Although the coal miners are outfitted with safety gear, it is insufficient. When handling coal, they experience direct effects from it. They run the danger of developing lung cancer, congestive heart failure, respiratory conditions, and harm to the brain system. The same potentially fatal results are caused by dust particles that are spread by the wind to surrounding places.

It generates a lot of garbage.

Every year, significant trash is produced by burning coal. Additionally, it contains radioactive substances that, as a result of combustion, concentrate in fly ash, bottom ash, and boiler slag. Most of the coal ash left over after coal is burned in power plants is recycled, but significant amounts are still dumped into landfills and ash ponds. From there, the garbage and harmful chemicals seep into water sources and cause early death. In conclusion, coal is dangerous from extraction through burning.

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