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Presentation on theme: "FOSSIL FUELS III Coal."— Presentation transcript:


2 Formed from ancient plants. Coal beds were prehistoric swamps.
Can be considered to be “stored” solar energy. Photosynthesis: CO2 + H20 + solar energy  carbohydrates + O2 We can also run the process backwards and burn carbs to get energy, water and carbondioxide.

3 Normally when a plant dies it decomposes.
If there is not enough Oxygen, it can’t completely decompose, thus we get a slow accumulation of energy. In a swamp, the bacteria that decompose the plants also use up the Oxygen. Coal found today formed between 1 and 440 million years ago.

4 Major Coal Forming Periods
Carboniferous and Permian 360 to 250 MYA High quality bituminous and anthracite Upper Cretaceous to Miocene 100 to 5 MYA Low quality subbituminous and lignite coals Quaternary 2.6 MYA to present peat

5 Steps to becoming coal:
Peat Lignite (brown coal) Subbituminous Bituminous Anthracite The major difference is the percentage of the coal that is carbon. Higher carbon concentration means better quality coal. (in general)


7 Coal progresses through the stages with increasing pressure and temperature.
Type % Carbon Energy Content (MJ/kg) Lignite 30 11.6 – 16.3 Subbituminous 40 18.6 – 23.3 Bituminous Anthracite 90 32.5 Oil 85 46

8 Coal Classification

9 Which type of coal provides the most energy/kg?
Lignite Bituminous Anthracite

10 The largest amount of US coal is Bituminous.
Approximately 1% is Anthracite. (Found in Pennsylvania.) Many coal veins have a high sulfur content. Significant contributor to acid rain. S+O2SO2 SO2 combines with water in atmosphere to form sulfuric acid. Limits the use of those coals Coal has uranium & thorium: radioactive Concentrated when coal is burned

11 Other contributions. Mercury Arsenic Selenium

12 Union Pacific Big Boy

13 Coal Mining Coal veins can be 1in to 400 ft thick.
Must be at least 2 ft thick to make mining profitable. According to CNN, underground mining is the most dangerous occupation in America. Bureau of Labor Statistics underground mining is the second most dangerous occupation in America (by rate).

14 Coal Mining Tunneling – 40% Surface mining – 60%
Removing overburden to get to coal Strip mining Mountaintop removal

15 Types of Coal Mining

16 Tunnel Mining

17 Strip Mining

18 Mountain Top Removal

19 Which type of coal mining is predominant?
Tunnel mining Surface mining Placer mining

20 Should Mountain Top Removable be allowed in the U.S.?
Yes No

21 US Coal Reserves by Type

22 Coal Reserves Sulfur Content

23 Coal Reserves Sulfur Content

24 World Coal Reserves



27 Coal Production


29 Which is the current high producer of coal?
Russia China USA Germany

30 Chinese SY Mikado 2-8-2

31 A thick shroud of haze lingers over China, turning the sky an opaque grey. Beijing, China's capital, is situated under the densest portion of the smog layer. The aerosol pollution can be seen blowing eastward across the Bo Hai Bay and Yellow Sea reaching as far as North and South Korea and the islands of Japan. (NASA)

32 Donora 1948

33 Coal Consumption

34 Mix of Fuels in US

35 US Coal Production



38 Estimated that we have enough reserves for 200-300 years at current production rates.
Use may be expanded Replace aging oil/natural gas/nuclear electric plants More demand for electrical energy Alternative uses such as coal gasification.

39 Should the use of coal in America be expanded?
Yes No

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