Q:

What are the uses of coal?

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Quick Answer

According to the World Coal Association, the primary uses of coal are in electricity generation, the creation of liquid fuel, the production of steel and cement manufacturing. There are two primary types of coal, thermal coal and metallurgical coal. Thermal coal goes into fuel and electricity applications, while metallurgical coal is better suited to manufacturing and chemical applications.

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Full Answer

As of 2014, 42 percent of the world's electricity comes from coal, making the electric industry the largest consumer of coal worldwide. Coal-fired furnaces heat water into steam, which turns electric turbines to create electrical current. In some cases, processors can also convert thermal coal into a liquid fuel as an alternative to natural gas or other petroleum products. Metallurgical coal is most widely used by the steel industry, with 70 percent of the world's steel output dependent on coal. In addition, coal finds its way into many different products, such as the carbon fiber that strengthens everything from auto bodies to building materials. Another use of coal is in the creation of activated carbon, an important component of air and water filtration systems. Refined coal tar and other coal by-products are also found in a wide variety of chemical and pharmaceutical products.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When was coal discovered?

    A:

    The first recorded discovery of coal in the United States is believed to be on the Illinois River in 1679 by French explorers. Historians, though, believe that the Chinese discovered coal more than 3,000 years ago.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between coal and coke?

    A:

    The basic difference between coal and coke is that coal is the natural source and coke is the derivative product produced by destructive distillation. Both are used as fuel, but coke contains a higher carbon content and few impurities. Coke is also used during iron ore smelting as a reducing agent.

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    What are some facts about coal?

    A:

    Among the numerous notable facts about coal is that the United States has the most coal reserves of any other country, as of 2015. Furthermore, coal is still actively mined in 25 states and is used to provide electricity to 48 states.

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  • Q:

    What is the hardness of coal?

    A:

    The most common type of coal is anthracite, which has a hardness of 2.2 when compared to the Moh's scale of mineral hardness, according to the Ted Pella website. However, since coal is not a mineral, it is not officially measured in this way.

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