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Exploring Energy Resources Essay

3509 words - 14 pages

A fossil fuel is something-such as coal or a gas-that is now the remains of the once living organisms. Those organisms formed in the geological past. (Illinois Coal Association, 2013)
Coal is an important resource that we use in our lives. Coal is something that we use all the time. Coal produces energy when burned, which then powers what we use, want and in some cases, need. (Illinois Coal Association, 2013)
Coal is generally a dark colored rock. When burned—it produces heat. The chemical make-up of coal is Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Sulfur. It also contains very small amounts of other minerals such as Aluminum and Zirconium. Coal is combustible—which means it can catch fire and burn very easily. (Tribal Energy and Environmental Information—CLEARINGHOUSE, 2013)
There are two different ways that coal can be mined. One way to mine for Coal is underground Mining—which sometimes is also known as Deep Mining. Most are not aware that over the more recent years, we have made much significant advancements regarding the computerization and mechanization of operations. The technological advancements have made a dramatic effect on the efficiency of deep mining. When the beds of coal, or ‘coal seams’ are 200 feet or farther down under the surface, is when deep mining is considered “required”. Most of the mines in the United States are 1,000 feet or less. There are a few that go as deep as 2,000 feet. Miners are transported into these mines from the surface. By elevators. The cars that these miners are on are cars that are on railroad tracks, traveling down into the earth on a sloped entrance. (Illinois Coal Association, 2013)
Deep mining can be very troublesome at times. It is of high importance to keep the deep mines highly ventilated. They must also be well drained. Using the method of underground mining, it gets about 50% of the coal. Using Longwall mining, it recovers anywhere from 80%-90% of the coal. Longwall mining is the process of coal being removed by a rotating cutting drum, off of a face of coal. It is put into a conveyor system, so that way they can get it out of the mines. (Illinois Coal Association, 2013)
Another way to mine is called Surface mining. Surface mining is the process of mining close to the surface. The topsoil and rock are removed from the surface: put to one side: which then exposes the seams of coal. They remove the coal, load it into trucks and take it to preparation plant. Which is also known as a “site”. (Illinois Coal Association, 2013)
The preparations plants are generally on the site of a mine. Usually, one preparation plant serves as a plant for many mines. The coal then goes through a number of things, to be prepared for a particular customer. They crush the coal. After that the coal is sized and washed. The process of coal washing is when they separate coals by their different sizes, densities, and also shapes. They do this by letting the coal settle into a fluid. (Illinois Coal Association, 2013)...

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