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Energy Resource: Coal And Solar Energy

2271 words - 10 pages

Can you imagine not being able to plug your cell phone in to charge, or use the microwave, or turn on any lights? These would all not be possible without electricity. Electricity can be produced in many ways. Two ways are through coal and solar energy. The way these two energy sources are produced and the effects they have on the environment are very different but they are both used to produce electricity.
Coal is one the fossil fuels in this world. There are four main types of coal. Anthracite, bituminous, sub bituminous, and lignite. Anthracite has 86-97% carbon. It accounts for 0.5% of the coal mined here in the United States. All the mines that have Anthracite in it are located in North-eastern Pennsylvania. (New Century Coal, 2013)
Bituminous coal has 45-86% carbon. Bituminous coal was formed from high heat and pressure. Bituminous coal is 100 to 300 million years old. Bituminous coal accounts for half of the coal in the US. West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania are the largest makers of bituminous coal. (New Century Coal, 2013)
Sub bituminous coal has a lower heating value than bituminous coal. It contains 35-45% of carbon. 46% of sub bituminous coal is in the US. Sub bituminous coal is at least 100 million years old. Wyoming is the main place sub bituminous coal is found. (New Century Coal, 2013)
Lignite is the last main type of coal. Lignite has the lowest energy content. Lignite coal is young and contains 25-35% of carbon. Lignite is very crumbly and has high moisture. There are 19 mines for lignite in the US. They produce 7% of US coal. Most lignite is mined in Texas and North Dakota. Lignite is burned at power plants. (New Century Coal, 2013)
Coal is one of the most used fossil fuels in the world. Coal comes from the energy plants absorb from the sun. It also mainly consists of plant matter. Coal is very non renewable because it takes millions of years to form. Coal is mainly purchased to generate electricity. (World Coal Association, 2013) (New Century Coal, 2013)
Coal is mined from many different mines such as surface mines and underground or deep mines. In surface mines it is open cut or opencast mining. In underground mining it is room or pillar mining or long wall mining. The tools used during surface mining are draglines which remove over burden, power shovels, large trucks for transport and excavators. (World Coal Association, 2013)
The cost of coal is one of the cheapest forms of energy. Coal is expected by many to remain the most affordable. According to IEA statistics coal is 7% cheaper than gas and 19% cheaper than nuclear. The cost of coal varies on the type of transaction. In 2009 the price of coal was $33.24 per ton. The delivery price to power plants was $44.47 per ton. The transportation cost of coal is $11.23 per ton. (World Coal Association, 2013)
Coal is formed from the remains of plant vegetation. The way that coal gets its energy is from carbon. It formed millions of years ago, and the process of coal...

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