Coal is cheap, making it especially useful for developing nations, but it also releases carbon dioxide and particulate matter. Coal reserves are high in many nations. Coal plants are also relatively simple and are easy to build.Know More
Coal has long been valued for its high-energy content, and ancient civilizations would use it as a source of heat. When early steam engines were in use, they were generally powered by burning coal. Coal plants are fairly simple to build; a coal-burning fire heats water, and the steam created turns large turbines. While natural gas is almost as cheap as coal, China and other energy-hungry nations prefer coal plants.
However, coal also releases a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide when it burns, and many developed nations are phasing it out as a result. However, China and other nations lack the capital needed to use more expensive sources of energy. As its economy continues to grow at 10 percent per year, China needs more and more energy, and coal is the most viable option.
There are ways to make coal a cleaner source of energy, and the particulate matter it generates can be caught. However, capturing and storing carbon dioxide is difficult and expensive, and experts are skeptical of whether storing it underground is a feasible solution.Learn more about Geology
According to Bright Hub Engineering, some pros of using coal are its reliability, affordability, abundance, safety and accessibility. Cons include the creation of greenhouse gases, destruction from mining and emission of harmful substances into the environment.Full Answer >
Humans use coal in many ways, including as a fuel and as a source of carbon. As a solid fuel, coal burns to provide heat from stoves, furnaces and boilers as well as energy to supply electrical generating plants. Metal refiners use coke, a solid residue from low-sulfur bituminous coal, in purifying metals in blast furnaces.Full Answer >
As of 2015, it is not necessary to use coal to generate electricity, given the alternatives available; however, the United States is dependent upon coal as a fuel source. Coal generates 44 percent of the nation's electricity, and, according to NPR, is both inexpensive and efficient.Full Answer >
Wind power produces economic, energy and environmental benefits: it serves as a domestic fuel source, operates without burning coal and fossil fuels and provides a steady source of electricity. Wind energy comes primarily from turbines, which operate on land and offshore. Siting is another benefit of wind energy, involving turbines set up on private and public lands in order to provide electricity to residences, commercial offices and communities.Full Answer >