Interesting Reasons Why We Still Mine Coal
Studies clearly show that the mining of coal causes air and water pollution. It affects the miners and surrounding community who are exposed to the fumes produced during the mining process.
It’s also very clear that coal mining is a huge contributing factor to global warming. Estimates show that coal burning is responsible for around 46% of all carbon dioxide emissions.
Even with all the evidence, coal mining is surprisingly still going on. Why is that?
Mining Coal Is Quite Cheap
Coal mining is cheaper than natural gas, oil, and nuclear. Companies can easily get into the coal mining business with low capital investment. That’s because the existing energy-generating technologies are already optimized for coal.
Since mining and producing energy from coal is cheap, suppliers can also provide the energy at lower prices to consumers. This means it’s a very affordable option, and that’s why there is still a massive demand for coal energy.
Storing Coal Is Fairly Simple
Coal mining and storage techniques have improved dramatically in the last decade or so. The gurus at Continuous Miner offer advanced resources and show that the process of extracting coal is now more convenient than ever before. These pieces of equipment have also made it easier to mine tricky seams.
As for storage, new technology is currently being utilized to reduce gas emissions. This has significantly lowered the air pollution and global warming concerns linked to coal mining.
Improved storage techniques have also made coal energy more reliable. Excess coal can be stored safely and used in the future in case of unforeseen shortages.
Coal Mining Has Created Many Jobs
The coal industry offers more job opportunities than most of the other energy sources. The entire process, from coal mining to the transportation and burning of the material, requires people. Even the disposing of coal ashes needs labor.
In a glimpse, the coal industry hires miners, truck drivers, loaders, power plant operators, cleaners, etc.
When put side-by-side with capital-intensive industries like nuclear and hydroelectric power generation, you’ll realize that society will directly benefit from coal in several ways and not just the energy generated.
It’s In Big Supply
Coal reserves are in abundant supply across the world. As of 2016, data showed that the global coal reserves stood at around 1,144 billion short tons. If the world continues to burn the material at the current rate, the reserves will last for 3 to 4 centuries!
Therefore, there’s peace of mind that comes with using coal for energy. We simply don’t have to worry about running out of the material anytime soon.
Four hundred years is also enough time to come up with reliable alternative energy solutions before coal reserves run out.
It Can Be Converted To Different Formats
You can convert and use coal in different forms. For instance, organizations converted it to liquid form, which was then used to make diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel.
Coal is also converted into a mixture of different gases, including carbon monoxide, methane, and hydrogen. The gas is used for lighting and heating.
Besides the liquid and gas, coal can also be used in its raw form.
In summary, the many ways of using coal make it a very convenient source of energy. It doesn’t limit you to a specific form, as is the case with other energy sources.
This also makes remote use of coal pretty easy. You can easily obtain and transport the material to a remote location. The same cannot be said with something like hydropower.
It’s More Consistent Than Some Energy Sources
Many countries stick to coal energy due to how reliable it is.
Coal can be mined and used at literally any time of the day and year. It is not subject to weather changes, as is the problem with most renewable energy sources. For instance, energy production using solar panels suffers greatly during the winter season. It may also be poor in countries with limited exposure to sunlight.
Similarly, the use of wind turbines can be impacted during certain seasons.
That’s not the case with coal energy. This material can be mined and burned round the clock. The fact that it is also easy to store means you can stock your reserves for different seasons.
It Can Be Integrated With Other Energy Sources
Coal can be used alongside energy sources like biomass. This helps in ensuring that energy supply is not affected by unexpected coal depletion in a facility.
Moreover, the use of biomass technology in coal plants can reduce carbon emissions.
Hopefully, modern technology will help resolve the issues associated with coal since it’s clear that the world can benefit hugely from one of the biggest energy reserves on the planet.